Always Be Dancing

The Art of Movement for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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This Is Something Special 4 U

Opening breath sequence: 

*Sit comfortably. Make an antenna w/ R hand and block R nostril with thumb. Long Deep Breathing thru L nostril. 2 min. Inhale hold for 10 seconds. Relax.
*Repeat blocking L nostril. 2 min. Inhale; hold 10. Relax.
*Inhale L, exhale R. 2 min…
*Inhale R, exhale L. 2 min …
*Gyan mudra (the “ok” sign in both hands). Begin Breath Of Fire (this is a type of breath that you pump from the center of your navel to expel your breath. It’s the same as long deep breathing; it’s just at a much faster pace. So it’s in, out, in, out… and each time you breathe out, you pull your stomach in. The breath should be powerful and strong and through your nose). Totally center yourself at your brow point. Powerful, rhythmic breathing. 2 min…Inhale, circulating the energy. 
*Meditate on your personal intention for today. What brought you here. Think of something that will help propel you forward through the next week.

This is the set of “U.” It invigorates you by adjusting your internal and external energies. These are called the 4 U’s and they are “for you.”

“The ‘4 U’ kriya sets the nervous system to withstand pressures of society and challenges of times.  Do each posture without moving a muscle and this is said to create nerves strong as steel—’stainless steel forever.’ This kriya also works on eliminating fear and developing greater spinal flexibility. Different people will function at individual levels of development and capability.  Please refer to this post for poses and modifications

  1. Lie down flat on the back. Raise the legs and arms straight up to 90 degrees. Palms face each other. Point the toes. Knees and elbows are straight. Hold steady and think about what good you have done since you have come to the planet Earth. Reconcile activities with your beautiful intelligence. We are moving the life force energy today and without any movement. Keep yourself in the posture no matter what. The energy will adjust itself. Let the energy above you hold your legs and arms up. Float effortlessly.
  2. Still lying on the back, bring the hands straight up over the head on the ground. Then raise the lower body up into a modified Plow Pose, with the legs straight over the head but parallel to the ground. This is a simple flow of energy, a simple way of just being. Be a river.
  3. Come sitting up and stretch the legs out in front; the arms extend toward the toes, palms down and parallel to the ground. The back is straight and steady, like a statue. The pain and disturbance comes in the adjustment of the pranic energy. You feel the pressure of the muscles adjusting themselves. Some call it “chi”, some call it prana. Some call it “qi” energy, and we call it “ji energy. They all mean the soul, the inner Self, the being. Meditate, chant and recite anything mentally or verbally, but keep the posture perfect. Sat Nam, I Am, My Truth, Light-Bright. Say it strong and say it sweet.
  4. Stand up straight and bend over at the waist so the torso is parallel to the ground. Keep the back and neck straight. The arms will hang loosely down towards the ground. Form a “U” with your body. Don’t bend down to the toes. You can chant or meditate to keep yourself going. Be bold; be soft. Be bright; be light. Be earth; be air. 
  5. Deep Relaxation. Relax flat on the back. Listen to a gong, if available.
Meditation for Developing an Attitude of Gratitude:
An attitude of gratitude is the highest form of yoga. Finding abundance of gratitude in yourself will open the floodgates for what you have to be grateful for.

Posture: Sit in a comfortable posture, with a straight spine and neck.
Mudra: Cup your hands together as if you are gathering water from a stream and in this position, place them approximately 6 inches in front of your heart centre. Relax your arms at your side and feel every other part of your body relaxing and releasing.
Eyes and Mental Focus: In this posture, simply sit with your eyes closed and visualize all the blessings of your life falling into your cupped hands.
Breath: Breathe deeply and feel yourself merging with the light of all of those blessings.
Time: Continue for 3, 11 or 31 minutes (or however long it feels comfortable to do so).
*Bountiful Blissful and Beautiful by Kamari and Manvir
*Say Saraswati by White Sun
*Give Me the Sunshine by Leo’s Sunshipp
*Everybody Loves the Sunshine by Takuya Kuroda
*Heal Me by Nirinjan Kaur
*Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake 
*Thank You by Sly & The family Stone
*Wishing On A Star by Rose Royce
*Guru Ram Das Lullaby by Bachan Kaur
Playlist for Groove & Flow 11/23


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Groove & Flow 11/16/2020: Light-Bright!

Tonight starts the mantra of Light-Bright. We need to be the brightness that conquers the darkness of the winter months and to allow the good in us to conquer the evil. We all have the proverbial devil and angel on our shoulders it is just how we react to them is what separates us. We need to be the light and shine as bright as possible to lead the way into a more positive time of growth for us, personally, communally and globally.

To keep your vibration bright, light and at a high frequency, make time for self care every day. Yoga, meditation, clean food, positive affirmation, kindness, Qigong…..set aside time each day-in a routine-for a formal practice and then encourage as much mindfulness into your daily life as possible.

Seated Breathing Sequence:

  • Gyan mudra. Breathe in 4 sniffs; breathe out 4 sniffs. Last sniff in, ends the full inhale/Last sniff out, ends the full exhale. (1min.)
  • Clasp hands. Leave a space for a diamond to form. Powerful inhales and exhales. (1 min.)
  • Press hands together very hard. Make a diamond. Press the piece of coal so tightly a diamond forms. Continue powerful breathing. (1 min)
  • Inhale & Squeeze as hard as you can. Hold breath-tighten every part of the body as tight as possible. Breathe out & release.

Today’s set is for spinal flexibility and the release of pent up stagnation so we will become lighter and brighter.

Playlist:
Myopia by Moby
Circling by Four Tet
Sea Of Stars (Remix ft. Amanda Giacomini) by MC Yogi
Keep On Movin’ by Soul II Soul
River by Ibeya
Synchronize ft. Jarvis Cocker by Discodeine
I Want To Be Free by Ohio Players
Rude Movements by Ahsford & Simpson
Can You Feel It (Instrumental) by Mr. Fingers
The Ancient Gong by Guru Terath Kaur Khalsa
Sweat (Sweat the Club) by Jay Williams
Groove & Flow playlist 11/16/2020

Ayurvedic Tips for Autumn

Fall is a time of transition. Trees, shrubs, animals and birds are preparing for the winter. They are all gathering the energy, including nutrition, that they will need to survive the winter. Temperature is dropping and the wind is slowly gathering strength, carrying with it a hint of winter on its breath. Autumn is windy, erratic and cool.

These are all qualities shared by vata dosha (vata-wind/dosha=energy) 

Vata is one of the three energetic forces of the subtle body, the inner happenings of the life inside your body.. This particular dosha corresponds with the elements of air and ether (space). Thanks to the airy and mobile qualities of vata, it plays an integral part in healthy bodily functions such as digestion, the flow of breath, and communication between the mind and the nervous system. Vata types tend to have creative personalities and are often inquisitive in nature.

Excess vata can cause the body, mind, and emotions to feel scattered like the wind. This type of imbalance can happen to anyone, regardless of their Ayurvedic constitution or body type.

Ayurvedic tips to balance Vata this fall:

1. Enjoy warm cooked foods. Foods made with a little olive oil or ghee have a wonderful soothing effect that immediately calms down restless Vata. Root vegetables, hearty grains, soups, and stews are recommended. Cooked grains – like oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, and cream of wheat – and most nuts and seeds are also beneficial.

2. Use warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cumin, but not extremely hot spices like cayenne pepper.

3. Enjoy warm beverages such as chai or golden milk.

4. Eat less cold and raw foods. 

5. Take extra care of your skin with a warm sesame oil self-massage. 

6. Increase stillness in your day to connect with yourself. Vata is aggravated by feelings of fear and insecurity.

7. Get enough sleep; nap when you need.

8. Reduce stress by consciously practicing yoga, meditation, long deep breathing and alternate nostril breathing.

9. The colors we wear can greatly contribute to how we feel. To help us feel light, be sure to wear bright colors, such as a camisole, a scarf or a pair of sox. Choose the color that makes you feel the lightest and brightest you, you can be. Its a sure fire way to add the perfect color splash into your day to keep you light and bright and uplifting.

10. Try to stick to a regular routine: go to bed at the same time, meditate daily, yoga every morning.


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Groove & Flow: Flexibility of the Spine no.1

A flexible spine is the key to youth!

Groove & Flow is only getting groovier!  

We are focusing on flexibility of the spine for the next few weeks.

A flexible spine is the key to youth! Please join me.

Groove: Swimming Dragon

Flow: (Based on) Basic Spinal Flexibility Kriya

Groove and Flow is a specially blended style of embodied movement where participants explore and experience the joy of movement and freedom of expression within a supportive, creative environment, regardless of experience and/or abilities. This class is balanced with movement, tranquility and meditation and participants can be on a mat or in a chair. All abilities welcomed for this one of a kind experience. 

Get creative! Build connections! Create community!

Playlist for G&F 10-19-2020

Garth in a tux in the snow.

Garth Stevenson (All songs are from his album Flying. I highly recommend buying this album. It’s truly magnificent, made even more special if you order a hard copy, as you will receive a beautiful hand made CD envelope. Both of his albums are glorious!)


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Bedtime Meditation Ideas

Playlist for 10-12-2020

Groove: 

  • I Am by Nirinjan Kaur
  • Adi Shakti by Ajeet Kaur
  • Adi Shakti by Benjhamin

Flow:

  • Rock On Hanuman (Omstrumental) by MC Yogi
  • Salala by Anglique Kidjo f. Peter Gabriel
  • Sea of Stars MC Yogi f. Amanda Giacomini 
  • Om Namo by Eeday
  • I Shall Believe by Sheryl Crow
  • Har Haray Hari Wahe Guru (Meditation for Creativity) by Kamari & Manvir
  • Be Still by Beautiful Chorus

Many people have difficulty going to sleep even though they are tired. Most of us would agree that the deeper and more peaceful the sleep, the more rested we feel the next morning. There are several things that we can do to promote deeper and more restful sleep:

  1. Slow Down: Before going to bed, begin to slow everything down. Put down your phone. Move slower. Stop ruminating. Make a list of what you need to do the next day and leave the list in another room. This will allow you to clear your mind and allows the energy to start balancing so you will be able to accomplish what you want to get done, but be free of it for the night. If there is something on your mind that you have not been able to resolve, make a special list turn it over to a higher power (an angel, a god, whatever you relate to) for the night-this power will focus their activity on the list through the night and free you of it.
    Feel complete about the day. Acknowledge yourself for what you accomplished and lessons learned. Forgive yourself for anything that lingers. No one’s perfect, so let it go. Make a list of five things you are grateful for. Prepare yourself to devote the next hours to peaceful, un-preoccupied sleep. You not only deserve it; you need to rest.
  2. Eating Habits: Try to eat your last meal at least 2 1/2 hours before you go to bed. When you eat just before going to bed your energy is tied up with digestion and it is hard to sleep deeply. Eat lightly for your evening meal. Definitely try to not eat animal protein, fried or heavy foods. Soups, salads, steamed vegetables or other easily digested dishes are the best for the evening meal. Eating dairy at night will make it more difficult to get up the next day (so skip the ice cream, yogurt or large glass of milk before bed).
  3. Left Nostril Breathing: The two nostrils are associated with two very different energies. Breathing through the right nostril, we are energized and stimulated. Breathing through the left nostril, we relax and calm down. Our breath naturally changes dominant nostrils approximately every 2-1/2 hours. After eating our nostrils will change to the left to accommodate the energy needed to digest our food. That is one reason why we feel like sleeping after eating.

You can tell which nostril is dominant at any time simply by blocking off one, then the other. The dominant one is easy to breathe through and the less dominate one feels like it is blocked.

It is useful before going to bed to sit quietly, block off the right nostril and breath long and deeply through the left nostril. Slowing down the breath to 4 or less breaths per minute also facilitates sleep. You can mentally chant Sat or I; Nam or Am (Sat Nam; I Am) while you breathe to help your mind “erase” My mother once told me that she was taught, when she wanted to make a word illegible, that she should, in cursive, write the word apple over the word that needs to be hidden, rendering it illegible. I think of meditation like this. Using a mantra scribbles out our thoughts and makes them “unthinkable”.

This meditation below has been a life saver for me.

I do this meditation for 11 minutes every night before bed, plus I usually add on at the end, 4 repetitions of the 4-7-8 Breath (see below) just to seal the deal. I sleep through the night now. I do not take any sleep aides.

Breathing and Mantra: Inhale 4 equal parts through the nose, i.e. the inhale is divided into 4 sniffs. Mentally vibrate SA TA NA MA If you do not connect with this chant, you can substitute with something like “I AM So Calm” or “I Will Sleep Deep” with the four parts of the inhale breath.

Hold the breath and mentally repeat 4 repetitions of SA TA NA MA (or your chosen chant). This will be 16 counts

SA* TA* NA* MA* SA* TA* NA* MA* SA* TA* NA* MA* SA* TA* NA* MA*

I* Am* So* Calm* I* Am* So* Calm* I* Am* So* Calm* I* Am* So* Calm*

I * Will* Sleep* Deep* I * Will* Sleep* Deep* I * Will* Sleep* Deep* I * Will* Sleep* Deep*

Then exhale in 2 equal strokes, mentally projecting WAHE GURU (Wonderful/Inner Sage; Wonderful/Inner Guide)

Time: Set a timer. Start with a few minutes and work up. I find 5-11 minutes is a good reset for myself. Continue for 11, 15, 22, 31 or even 62 minutes. This meditation will often put you to sleep before you complete the allotted time.

4-7-8 Breath (you can also try this as a stand alone bedtime meditation):

Breathe in with your nose for the count of 4.

Hold breath for the count of 7

Breathe out through rounded lips, making a gentle whooshing, for the count of 8

Repeat this 4-8 times; or set a timer and practice for 5-10 minutes before bed.


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Groove & Flow w/ Eve 10-5-2020

Playlist: 

Groove: All songs/ Roy LobbFlow:
Saudade
Sentimentos
It’s Just The Wind
Tango Improvisado
Tomorrow Today
Everything Remains
The Sky Below
Past Perfect
Either/Or
Fade To Black
Puerto Oscura
En El palacio Del Sultan by Juan Martin
Tiferet by Juan Pascual
Tangos De Mi Novia
by Son De La Frontera
Villanesca By Devin Ulibarri
Sat Narayan Wahe Guru
by Ajeet Kaur  (see below for meditation)
Groove & Flow Playlist 10-5-2020
Breathing exercise for calmness and stillness 
4 Part Cycle:
1. In and out with the nose.
2. In and out with the mouth (with a gentle rounded mouth).
3. In with the nose; Out with the mouth.
4. In with the mouth; Out with the nose.
5. Start at segment #1. Repeat.
Relax into a rhythm. Mentally use the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma to keep all breath segments equal length. Concentrate on the mantra. If you lose track, start at segment #1 again. Relax.

“Sat Narayan” Meditation To Reclaim Your Peaceful Presence.

Go with the flow. Allow the currents of your thoughts ebb and flow with your breath. Feel your love flow. Fill every nook and cranny of your being with your inhale and then on the exhale, relax into your inner peace. You can go back again and again to that place inside you that showers you with love, your inner “love shack”. That place inside you that is safe and peaceful. That space inside from which  your whole life flows sweetly. 

The more you are able to relax into a state of inner calmness and stillness, the more you can project outwardly: peace, love, and happiness. 

Mudra: Hands are resting on knees or lap. Thumbs and index fingers touch.

Posture: Sit with a straight spine.

Breath and Eye Focus: Eyes 1/10th open looking at tip of nose or gently closed, focused on the Third Eye (between the eyebrows). The breath will adjust itself as you vocalize. 

Mantra (included all 4 lines as one repetition):

Sat Narayan, Wahe Guru (Sut Na-Rye-Yan, Waaa-Hey Garooo) Meaning: Support & Wisdom

Hari Narayan Sat Nam (Ha-Ree Na-Rye-Yan, Sut-uh naaamm) Meaning: Creativity & Genuineness 

Sat Narayan Wahe Guru

Hari Narayan Sat Nam

Directions:

  • Vocalize along with this recording by Ajeet Kaur, which is my favorite version of the mantra. Put your heart into it! You will find yourself singing it all through the day. 
  • When the meditation has finished, powerfully and deeply inhale while raising arms above your head, and hold for 10-15 seconds. Powerfully and deeply exhale. Repeat inhale-hold-exhale once more with raised arms. Then lower your arms to your lap/knees and sit quietly. Feel the vibrations of the mantra in you and around you.
  • Meditate 1-11 minutes.

May you be bolstered by the vibration of this meditation and granted its strength always!


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Yoga Books and Online Health and Wellness Classes at the Morse Institute Library

I am so lucky!

A few years ago, I taught teen yoga workshops for the library. They were a lot of fun and I really enjoyed sharing them with the community through the library. One of the best things, is that all programs through the library are open and accessible to all and are free of charge for the participants.

Fast forward to now. The teen librarian shared my name with the adult programming coordinator and voilà! through a generous self-help grant, I am now offering my Groove & Flow series through their online event portal (search for yoga in calendar). Here is the link to my online yoga video-library. Along with my classes, the library has been able to bring a fabulous online Qigong program with Dr. Ming Wu and Dr. Wei Li. Here is the link for the online Qigong video-library.

I skimmed though the library’s yoga book selection and created a list of books that I thought would compliment my teaching. Of course, there are so many yoga books available, so my list is just a snap shot of some. This list does not include children’s books (here’s are two good blog posts I wrote “My Top 20 Books About Yoga For Kids” and “21 Mindfulness and Yoga Books and card Decks For Kids”)

  • Accessible yoga: poses and practices for every body by Jivana Heyman  
  • Adaptive yoga moves any body by Mindy Eisenberg  
  • Autumn winter spring summer by Sandra Sabatini, Silvia Mori
  • Chair yoga for seniors: stretches and poses that you can do sitting down at home by Lynn Lehmkuhl
  • Chair yoga: seated exercises for health and wellbeing by Edeltraud Rohnfeld
  • Chair yoga: sit, stretch, and strengthen your way to a happier, healthier you  by Kristin McGee  Gentle yoga : a guide to low-impact exercise by Lorna Bell and Eudora Seyfer
  • K.I.S.S. guide to yoga by Shakta Kaur Khalsa 
  • Lilias! yoga gets better with age by Lilias Folan
  • Relax into yoga for seniors : a six-week program for strength, balance, flexibility, and pain relief  by Kimberly Carson, MPH, E-RYT; Carol Krucoff, E-RYT 
  • Relax into yoga for chronic pain: an eight-week mindful yoga workbook for finding relief and resilience by Jim Carson, PhD, Kimberly Carson, MPH, C-IAYT, Carol Krucoff, C-IAYT  
  • Restore and rebalance : yoga for deep relaxation by Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT  
  • Yoga for body, breath, and mind : a guide for personal reintegration by A.G. Mohan
  • Yoga for healthy aging : a guide to lifelong well-being by Baxter Bell, MD, Nina Zolotow
  • Yoga for women by Shakta Kaur Khalsa 
  • Yoga for women : wellness and vitality at every stage of life by Shakta Khalsa 
  • Yoga for osteoporosis : the complete guide by Loren Fishman, Ellen Saltonstall  
  • Yoga in bed : awaken body, mind & spirit in fifteen minutes by Naomi Sophia Call    
  • Yoga mind & body by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre  


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Meditation To Fit You

Meditation comes in many shapes and sizes. Some people like to sit cross legged and try to think of nothing, some people like to be guided with journeys either to real places or those that are steeped deep in mysticism, the subtle body or connected to mother earth. I have been meditating now consistently for about 6 years (although I cannot really remember when started-my journey with meditation which started in 2010).

After many starts and stops and forgotten moments when I was supposed to meditate but that day would just go by and I would never find the time to fit it in, I started meditating in the morning. Every morning. I found that that was the perfect time for me to meditate. It was before Anthony woke up when he still needed me in the mornings and now I just love that quiet personal moment each morning.

I mostly practice for 11 minutes. Why 11 minutes? Well I discovered Kundalini yoga about 3 years ago and that is part of its lore. See box below. I sometimes do longer sets but the consistency I have set is 11-minutes every day. Also with kundalini, they have a different way of meditating that suits my personality. It is very distracting and often very active to keep me in a meditative state. With kundalini meditation, you sit (although I would say that the physical kriyas are just moving meditations), do something special with your hands either a moving or a still mudra, and then either you chant out-loud, in whisper, in your head, whistle or breathe in particular way for a designated amount of time and each kriya is set up to affect you in a certain way emotionally or energetically. It can be a personal focus or a global one. I find the distraction of all the moving parts a perfect way to fall into a meditative state immediately. It keeps at bay the feelings of mental distraction (called Chitta Vritti-mind chatter or the monkey mind) and also the feelings of failure-like I am not meditating well today, what d o I need to buy at the grocery store, damn I forgot to tell my husband something, I am a failure, I’m worried about the future…. etc. 

Whatever your ilk is, there is meditation style right for you. Start small. Stay consistent. And there is no failure in meditating. No end goal but to do it. But if you do not meditate one day, there is always tomorrow (or that night!) See the chart below, even 3-minutes is a pot of gold! I do numerous 3-minutes throughout the day-just three deep breaths elongated!

Let me know how I can motivate you! AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com

Why Designated Times?
3 minutes:  At 3-minutes all messaging from the meditation can fully circulate through the blood and the nervous system.  The myofascial sheath has a chance to fully communicate with all of its members and the message is heard. 3-minutes charges the electromagnetic field.
11 minutes:  Now we are getting somewhere.  The nerves and the glandular system align with the meditation.
22 minutes:  ahhh…balance.  The three minds, positive, negative, and neutral come into harmony.  You might know them as left, right, and balanced, or higher, lower, and neutral.  Different yogis have different languages.
31 minutes:  This is GOLD.  All the trillions of cells of the body and the DNA they hold start to shimmer with the meditation.  The three Gunas (Sattva and Rajas, see images below)* or the way you perceive the world through your own personal lens come to balance.  The 31 Tattvas or projections of your personality from the mind come to balance.
62 minutes:  Science tells us the brain has plasticity and the ability to change.  At 62 minutes, you change the grey matter of the brain and new grooves form.  You regrow your brain.
2.5 hours:  Master meditator!  This changes how you relate to the universe.  Your new pattern or subconscious are glued.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Alphabreaths

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Adorable, diverse illustrations connected to beautiful simple breathing prompts. From A-Z, easy to follow breathing prompts, each one aimed to elicit a calming response. This book is a great one for young children and it can be used more widely- any teacher could offer up one of these breathing practices at the beginning of each class. Students can encouraged to note the ones they like the best to keep in their tool boxes of practices they know help them to feel good, calm and in-control. Calming breaths can be used to bring focus and attention in a classroom as well as a home or office but are also great to combine with a yoga pose! Great accessible ideas to incorporate into today’s mindful classroom. 

Fun, accessible introduction to the power of the breath!

Here’s a link to a YouTube video showing kids in a classroom participating.

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

#childrensbook #bookreview #breath #breathing #mindfulness #calming


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Meditation: Getting Started

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How does one start to meditate? I started meditating about 5 years ago. I wanted to start before that but just never sat down on my own and meditated. When I started, I had little knowledge of “how-to” meditate. I thought you needed to sit absolutely still, in total silence and think of nothing. Yeah….you can guess how well that went.

But overtime, it seemed to take hook. I was never sure if I was meditating correctly and often felt I was not doing it right or well, but I stuck at it and it stuck to me. First, I found that I needed to meditate in the morning, because if I waited until later in the day, it did not get done. So every morning, after I made breakfast for my son, I would sit on the other sofa and meditate…listening to him munch his bagel and gulp his milk. I felt like a pro! Look at me sitting here, not moving, blocking out the sounds around me….but I still felt like I was not doing it right and it was not “affecting” or “effecting” me correctly.  But I stuck to it. And it stuck to me. It was oddly satisfying and if I did not do it, I felt like I was missing something that I wanted. My brain wanted it. My body wanted it. My soul wanted it.

Enter Kundalini. In Kundalini, everything is organized and makes sense. The exercises have aim and purpose and are felt physically, mentally and energetically. There are physical movements or stillness encased by specific breathing patterns, chants and mudras. This allows for the seeing, the hearing and the sensing of of what’s happening  within minutes of starting a practice. The truth is in the doing. Here form really follow function. Kundlini fits all bodies, all sizes, all adaptations without getting lost in the “what my body should look like” thoughts. 

Also, Kundlini is a gold mine when it comes to varied meditations. Kundalini offers metal, physical and emotional distractions that ope the gateway for meditation that is wholly enjoyable and accessible. 

     Two Meditations to Start Your Journey:

                            Kirtan Kriya/ Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation

Kirtan Kriya, often referred to as SA TA NA MA meditation, is the most important meditation in Kundalini Yoga. If you can do only one meditation, this is it. It will readjust and align you to bring balance into your body, mind and spirit and thus your life. It is your teacher. It is your best friend. 

The bottom line is that this meditation works. All you have to do is do it. You can trust the process and the technology.

Directions:

Sit with a straight spine. Bring your mental focus to the brow point/3rd eye point.

Chant SA TA NA MA.

While chanting alternately press the thumb with the four fingers. Press hard enough to keep yourself awake and aware of the pressure. Keep repeating in a stable rhythm and keep the hand motion going throughout the whole meditation.

kirtan_2

SA press the thumb and the pointer or Jupiter finger together with pressure.
TA press the thumb and the middle or Saturn finger together.
NA press the thumb and the ring or Sun finger together.
MA press the thumb and the pinky or Mercury finger together.

The Jupiter/Pointer finger brings in knowledge, expands our field of possibilities and releases us from limitations.

The Saturn/Middle finger gives us patience, wisdom and purity.

The Sun/Ring finger gives us vitality and aliveness.

The Mercury/Pinky finger aids clear communication.

Visualize or feel each individual sound come in the crown chakra at the top of the head, down through the middle of the head and out to infinity through the third eye. This is very important and must be done with each sound. It is an essential part of the cleansing process. If this part of the meditation is not done, you may experience a headache.

While doing the meditation, you may experience pictures of the past come up like on a movie screen in your mind. Let them dance in front of your eyes and release them with the mantra. This is part of the cleansing of the subconscious mind. If emotions come up, you can also incorporate them in the chanting, i.e. if you feel anger then chant out the anger. Whatever you experience is OK. Do not try to avoid or control your experiences. Simply be with what is going on and go through it. It is all part of the cleansing process.

** Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is becoming scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short term memory.

                                          Morning Meditation

6 minutes version:

  • 1 min out-loud
  • 1 min whisper
  • 2 min in-head (can add tongue movements) with hand movements
  • 1 min whisper
  • 1 min out-loud.

This meditation can be done for 6-31 minutes. Just keep all the segments equal length (the silent section is repeated twice). It can really be done for as little as 3 minutes (30 sec, 30 sec, 1 min, 30 sec, 30 sec)

31 minute version:

  • 5 min out loud
  • 5 min whisper
  • 10 min in-head (tongue moving) with hand movement
  • 5 min whisper
  • 5 min out-loud
  • [1 min listen inside, hear the mantra, experience it. No hand movements.]

                                        Evening Meditation

                                      Sa Ta Na Ma Variation

3-30 minutes

Rest hands in lap. Fingers interlaced with the pads of the thumbs pressing into each other

Rest eyes gently looking at tip of nose; eyes may close.

Sniff in 4-counts, mentally saying Sa-Ta-Na-Ma.

Hold breath while mentally repeating the mantra 4 times.

Breath out through the nose in two strokes while mentally chanting Wahe/Guru. (Wahe/Wow! + Guru/Inner teacher = Cheers to my inner super hero!)

To end: Breath in for the count of 4. Hold breath for the count of 7. Breathe out through a circle mouth, making a whooshing sound, for the count of 8. Repeat 4-8x.

                                          Practice Timing:

3 minutes: Affects your circulation, blood chemistry and stability of the blood. The increased blood circulations begins, distributing enhanced neuroendocrine secretions throughout the body.

7 minutes: Brain patterns start to shift from the static of beta waves, to calmer alpha waves and ultimately to deep relaxing delta waves. Simultaneously, the magnetic force surrounding the body increases in strength.

11 minutes: The pituitary gland, glandular system and the nerves start to learn and change. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems begin to accommodate the increased energy.

22 minutes: Anxiety producing thoughts in the subconscious begin to clear. Your three minds (negative, positive, and neutral) start to work together so your mental integration changes. 22 is the infinite number of longing and gives mastery of the mental realm.

31 minutes: Affects your whole mind and your aura. Endocrinological balance is achieved, as is balance of the chakra’s of the ethereal body. This balance persists throughout the day, and is reflected by changes in moods and behavior.

                                            Amount of days: 

11 days: 11 is the number of Infinity in the material world and conqueror of the physical realm. So it’s like the first step to break loose from the entanglement of the mind.

40 days: Helps to break negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the Kriya or mantra, if done 40 days straight in a row

90 days: When you practice the Kriya or mantra for 90 days straight it will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious mind. It will change you in a very deep way.

120 days: When you commit to practice the Kriya or mantra for 120 days without skipping a day it will confirm the new habit of consciousness. The positive benefits of the Kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.

1000 days: This will allow you to master the new habit of consciousness that the Kriya or mantra has promised. No matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.


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Yoga and Mindfulness Games for the Holidays (plus 6/1-minute breathing activities to bring calming, peaceful energy)

Spending time with family and friends is a great time to practice mindfulness. Here are three games, plus 6/ 1-minute meditations you can do anywhere, anytime.

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Mindful Jenga

What you’ll need:

  • Jenga game
  • Set of yoga, mindfulness, table talk…cards
  • Family/Friends

How to play?

Set up the game. Shuffle all cards together. Turn pile upside down and place near the game.

  1. Traditional rules of Jenga apply. Do not choose tiles from the top 3 tiers.
  2. Choose a tile. Breathe in. Remove tile carefully. Breathe out.
  3. Place tile on top of the tower.
  4. Flip top card. Everyone completes the designated action. If a yoga pose is chosen, take a breath in and out in the pose. Do both sides, if needed.

    Card Deck Suggestions:

 

Yoga Memory

What you’ll need: TN1841_ThinkFun_-_Yoga_Memory_Game_1_grande

  • Yoga Memory Set (of course you can make you’r own too…which could be a totally other mindful activity. Everyone designs two yoga/mindfulness activity cards….. They can be similar pictures or  even two aspects of the same idea…which could lead to cross matching….oh! So many options)
  • Family/Friends

How to play?

Mix-up tiles/cards. Set up game. Traditional memory has 36 matching pairs for a total of 72 tiles. Reducing the number of tiles used can make the game easier and more fun if needed for special adaptation. .

  1. Traditional Memory rules apply.
  2. When a pair is found, all participants practice the activity.
  3. Breathe in and out in each pose. Do both sides of a 2-sided pose.

 

Found Object Mandala

A mandala is a series of concentric circles, beginning with a central concept, an then radiating out to the outer rim with repeating shapes, colors or designs.

What you’ll need:

  • Nik-Naks, Bric-A Brac, screws, nuts and bolts, pins, jacks, toy cars, ABC blocks, sea glass, beach rocks, or head outside for a walk and collect leaves, acorns, stones….everything and anything that has multiples.
  • A large open space, maybe covered with a table cloth.
  • Friends/Family

How to play:

  1. First, look around the space you are in and find mandalas, for example, a clock face, the ceiling sprinklers, window moldings, etc. Think of  mandalas outside, for example, the sun, a flower, a hubcap, etc.
  2. Work as a team to build the mandala.
  3. For fun, take photos throughout the process. This makes a nice flip book or picture video or even a nice picture for next years holiday card.

 

6/ 1-Minute Meditations:

  1. Whistle Breathing: Whistling is breath and music combined that you create with the lips. It is very powerful because it relaxes inside and out. It creates inner balance.

    A. To do it on the inhalation: pucker your lips, concentrate on the third eye point, and inhale through the mouth making a high-pitched whistle. Exhale through the nose. Focus the third-eye point on the sound of the whistle on the inhalation and on the soft sound of the breath through the nose on the exhalation.

    B. To do it on the exhalation, reverse the procedure: inhale through the nose and exhale through the puckered lips with a whistle. Focus the eyes at the third eye point and focus the third-eye point on the sound of the whistle on the inhalation and on the soft sound of the breath through the nose on the exhalation.

  2. Tongue Action Meditation A:  Stick your tongue: left, right, in, out. You will start to laugh!
  3. Tongue Action meditation B: Roll your tongue on the inside of the mouth around the gum and lips (not the teeth) as if you are wiping peanut butter off from the inside of your mouth. Can switch directions 1/2 way through, if desired.
  4. Kiss the air! Pucker up and kiss the air. Or possibly kiss the left palm and then the right, back and forth.
  5. “Z” Stand: Balance on toes; bend knees slightly as if to start sitting down; arms out, parallel to the ground, palms facing down; Chin gently dropped; Eyes 9/10th’s closed; Breath-of-fire. Short sniff in and short puff out with the nose or circled lips. Focus on the navel point.
  6. 4-Stroke Breathe: Emergency calming activity! Breathe in 4 strokes with the nose; Breathe out all in one stoke, to the count of 4,3,2,1. (the exhale can be through the nose or with the mouth).