Discover for yourself

“No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness. If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.” ~Kahlil Gibran

kahlil gibran quote

(photo March 2017 – AD)

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Mindfulness

Inhale. Exhale.

I got lost on the way to work a couple days ago. Not lost lost, as in I had no idea where I was, but lost as in I was day-dreaming so deeply I lost track of where I was. When I remembered I was driving it took a little while to determine if I had driven past work already and where exactly I was.

This has happened before, so that event was nothing new. But, interestingly enough, I’m currently reading “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, a book which directly relates to this type of experience. He describes several exercises you can do to increase mindfulness – a method of being aware of, and totally in, the moment. All of them involve watching the breath.

tibetan image

He recommends practicing mindfulness all the time. When you are washing dishes you are washing dishes, not thinking about anything else. When you are drinking tea you are drinking tea and nothing else, etc. So I’ve been trying this a little bit, and watching the breath at the same time.

Another mindfulness technique (the one I like best so far) is counting your breaths. Slowly inhale left and exhale right, inhale right and exhale left. That’s one round. Do that again for round 2, etc. until you get to 10 rounds, then count back down. Go really slow, be mindful, and don’t think about anything but the breath. If you lose count start over. Follow the breath with your mind as you inhale and exhale.

I modified it slightly for myself because my breaths are slow and it takes forever, so I count up to 5 and back down for a total of 9 rounds. Maybe that’s missing the point or cheating somehow, but it’s better to practice than not practice so it works for me.

It’s a different form of pranayama than what I’m used to where you count the length of your inhales, retention, and exhales, with emphasis on the exhales.

meditation-basics-breathing

After a minimum of practice I can already see how the mind will benefit from these exercises. I’ll be a better yogi and I won’t get lost on the way to work 😉 . Best of all, and more importantly, they can give you a calming experience, keep you in the now with less stress and worry, and give you some serious mind control ability.

Inhale. Exhale.

Birth of a yogi

A yogi friend of mine died a few days ago. He may have been the most authentic yogi I ever meant, meaning he never tried to adapt any dogma or try to “be like a yogi”, he just was a yogi.

Let me explain.

Six or seven years ago my friend got diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer. Pete was given a month or two to live. His life insurance paid out, and he decided to use that money to cure himself.

The substantial amount of money he received allowed him to travel many times to Germany and other places from Australia to try various kinds of alternative therapies. He did lots of yogic practices as alternative therapies. Mostly they all worked until the last 4 months following complications from a surgery, when the cancer spread to his liver and he lost the battle.

I met Pete in Germany 3 years ago and was impressed by his yogic qualities: unending happiness, spreading joy and love, practicing lots of sadhana, lots of forgiveness, everybody and every religion equal. And all that while battling some pretty serious health issues about which he never complained, he considered it a blessing. He touched a lot of lives these past few years.

Anyway, he’s left earth and has been born to a higher realm.  If he comes back I suspect he will be blessed with many yogic qualities.

pete

“Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” ~Hamlet

Om tryambakam x 1008. You will be missed by many people.

One Minute Meditation

I’ve been to meet the guru and she told me that I can’t expect the results of my yoga practice to come to fruition without meditation and pranayama. Asanas alone are not enough.

Like all things, what you get out of something depends on what you put in. There’s no doubt about it. I still practice asanas every day, and my pranayama is pretty good, but since starting a regular 40 hour job I find it’s difficult to set a regular time to practice meditation, and that I am inconsistent in how long the sessions are.

A wise friend of mine said, “Habits are the life hack of the lazy.” Then very profoundly suggested I try a one minute meditation, because surely if you can’t find a regular time for that… um, maybe there is a bigger problem…

And so I began, and from the one minute mediation I will rebuild my meditation practice breath by breath.

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(photo March 2017 – AD)

Most Beneficial Yoga Postures

Many times as yoga teachers we are asked which are the most beneficial yoga postures – which postures will give you the most benefits? While no yoga postures should be treated as prescriptions (they should all be incorporated into a more complete yoga practice), these 6 postures, plus sun salutations, are considered to give the most benefits. Please remember that you benefit from all yoga postures, at the level at which you are. Enjoy!

This video is guided by Sita, and was recorded at Yoga Vidya ashram in Bad Meinberg, Germany, where she worked as staff for 1.5 years.

 

Common sights around Yoga Vidya

I’ve been here a month now, so last week I took my camera around with me to take photos of some of the more common sites around Yoga Vidya Bad Meinberg. These are things I pass everyday.

This is a slideshow so click on the first picture to get started.