I wanted to share this kundalini meditation with you to help settle nerves, restore emotional balance and release a little stress. It's super easy to do and the fact that its beginner friendly makes it a definite keeper for your stress less tool kit!
This meditation focuses on posture, breath and chanting. In kundalini, it's really important to focus on the details of the practice. Each one is specifically designed to have the most impact it can, so try to practice this exactly as it's suggested.
Start in a sitting position, in lotus or simply with legs crossed. You can also do this in a chair (nice to keep in mind if you're stressed at the office or on a long flight!)
Sit up tall with your spine straight and your chin slightly tucked. Rest your hands, palms up, on your knees. Close your eyes and focus your attention to your third eye center (the space between your eyebrows)
Now you can start the practice:
"SA" while touching your thumbs and index fingers together
"TA" while touching your thumbs and middle fingers together
"NA" while touching your thumbs and ring fingers together
"MA" while touching your thumbs and pinky fingers together
Everytime you chant one of those words, you press your thumb and corresponding finger together on each hand at the same time.
Once you get the hang of touching your fingers and thumbs together with the syllables, you can begin to visualize the sounds moving from the crown of your head through your third eye space.
Repeat this chant/practice for 2 minutes. Then whisper the chant and continue touching your fingers along with your whisper for another 2 minutes. Then repeat the chant silently while touching your fingers for 3 minutes. Then bring it back to the whisper chant for 2 minutes and finish with the full chant for a final 2 minutes. Complete the chanting at 11 minutes.
Once completed, take an inhale and raise your arms overhead. Shake them out! This is important for moving and releasing your energy. Exhale and relax for a bit.
If you're going though an especially challenging and stressful time, practice this 11 minute version everyday. You can work up to 31 minutes if needed.
a few things to note
This is considered one of the most important meditations in kundalini yoga and if you only do one, this should be it. so take your time and focus on the practice.
always visualize the energy moving from the crown of your head and out through your third eye center with each syllable. this is important! you don't want that energy to become stuck.
practice for a minimum of 11 minutes.
what do the syllables actually mean?
SA: the beginning, the infinity, the totality of everything that ever was and will be
TA: life, existence and creativity that manifests from infinity
NA: change and transformation of consciousness
MA: rebirth and regeneration
Ready to try it?
Get comfortable. Close your eyes. And chant along with this music to help you get started!
holistically hot: Acupuncture
A couple of weeks ago I went in for my very first acupuncture treatment!
Since I didn't know what to expect, I went in with an open mind... and a ton of questions! My acupuncturist, Tom, was more than generous with sharing his knowledge and I geeked out over everything acupuncture can offer. I wanted to share my experiences with you and give you some background on this holistically hot healing practice.
When I first entered the mindfulness spa I immediately became relaxed and a bit nervous. I was filled with anticipation. The setting inside though was super peaceful and full of books, brochures and other materials that offered a lot of info on acupunture and theraputic message. When Tom came out to sit with me he explained the process of acupuncture and began to list a myriad of things people can treat with this practice. He was super tuned into my energy and right away picked up on some of my nerves. He offered to run an analysis, called an Acugraph, that would chart out my balances and imbalances and see if I had any energetic blocks. He explained that the findings would help him plot out the actual acupuncture spots on my body when it came time for my session. It was a painless process in which he used a little electronic sensor on different meridian points on my hands and feet.
here are two of my charts:
Ok, let's just check this out for a second. Tom was able to read from my energy, before he even looked at this chart, that I seemed predisposed to anxiety, stress and worry. Then I saw it for myself right in black and white. My PC, pericardium meridian, was high. You can see that the PC influences your blood, heart, mental and emotional states. An imbalance here can cause depression, anxiety, irritability and restlessness. I had way too much energy here!
Here are some more charts of my readings:
In addition to excess enery in my PC meridian, I was also high in the small intestine meridian and that influences mental clarity with making decisions.
I had split energy in my spleen and liver meridians. Imbalances here create obsessive feelings, over-thinking, worrying and frustration depression and anger, respectively.
Lastly, I was high in my kidney meridian and low in stomach meridian.
After this reading, I had my session and we focused on these specific energy centers to balance them out and bust through blockages. I left feeling pretty amazing! I'm excited to go for my next treatment. Tom told me it takes a few sessions to open up those blocks and imbalances. I'm down- let's do it!
So if you were ever curious about acupuncture, there's a little background. I don't know if every office offers that graph reading, but most acupuncturists will ask you about your health, background and intentions for the session to determine how to proceed. I loved knowing exactly why he placed a needle where he did, I enjoyed understanding how these points internally connect and influence my mental wellbeing and overall health. I definitely believe our bodies and minds are connected. You know that saying "worry yourself sick?" Well, I believe there's total truth to that. And if our minds can influence how our bodies feel, why can't the reverse be true? I'm eager to see after a few more sessions how my chart looks and how I feel once I'm balanced out on the inside!
Have you ever tried acupuncture? Have you wanted to? Would love to hear your experiences.
sat nam xo, b
what santosha means to me
I've been thinking a lot about santosha lately. santosha is the yogic practice of contentment.
in a world of hustle and bustle, a place where people are perpetually on the search for the next best thing, is the practice of santosha even reachable anymore?
i've been considering this on my mat recently. when i was dealing with hardcore anxiety, i always had those thoughts... when i become less anxious i'll be happy. if i didn't have so much pressure i would be less stressed. if i could just reach this one work milestone or buy that one new thing i'll be completely satisfied. i found little solice in the present and was always focused on the future.
that search for satisfaction and happiness was neverending because once i got what i thought i needed, i was already on the lookout for the next best thing, or worse, i still found myself riddled with anxiety.
i started thinking about how my practice of santosha was shaken last year. i noticed that i had been falling into that same mindset i had when i was dealing with anxiety - if this than that. if i just get past this one horrible thing, everything will be better. if i can make it through this tough time, things will ease up. i came into 2014 with positive energy and was determined to make it a terrific year and truly release the resentments, mistakes and frustrations from the previous year.
than something happened. one little piece of my "perfect" puzzle wriggled out of place. nothing catastrophic, but enough to make me take notice. and i was ok with it. i meditated. i focused on breathing. i let it go and was content with this little hiccup. if this bump in the road happened last year, i think i would've exploded. so what changed?
it was then that i realized my mindset had changed. i created the focus on positivity, growth and persistence for 2014 and everything that happened this year was going to happen for me rather than to me. and i viewed this situation from that perspective. i was content with it. i was ok and i trusted the process. the storms bring the sunshine. uphill climbs lead to high peaks. and i realized i had found my practice of santosha again!
santosha is being ok with what happens. it's being grounded amidst chaos. it's going with the flow. it's being happy with the present moment. and for me, its trusting the process.
everyone practices this differently. some people focus on finding the joy in everything, others work through their feelings of dissatisfaction. i work on trusting the process and accepting the journey.
and that's some serious gratitude ;)
Today I wanted to share a mediation with you that I often use to help me clear the mental clutter and keep me focused on what is truly important to me.
I practice this mostly in the mornings because it helps set the tone of my day and keeps me living in alignment with what I want most in my life, but you can practice it anytime you're in need of a little personal inspiration.
Start sitting up tall in a comfortable position with a straight spine, resting your hands on your thighs
Take a few deep breaths and begin to clear your mind of any worries or anxiety
Once your mind is clear, begin to imagine your ideal self
-this 'ideal self' is the vision you have of your life if every star was aligned, if every relationship in your life fulfilled you, if you were doing a job you love, living your life just the way you'd want if everything was just right!
Don't hold anything back! Envision it all! If you can see it, you can create it
Now once you have that vision, tune into the feelings that ideal self gives you
-if you envision climbing the corporate ladder, but the feeling it gives you is uneasiness, you may need to focus more on what exactly you're seeking from climbing that ladder and see if you can create it in a place of your life that gives a more passionate feeling!
Once all of that comes together, meditate on that image and those feelings. Try not to force any thoughts. Allow the feelings that this meditation gives you to guide you. Little by little your authentic and true ideal self will emerge within your meditation
(while you're meditating on that image)
INHALE: I accept this as my ideal self
EXHALE: I release anything that holds me back from living in this truth
the other reason I practice this in the morning is because i'm more tapped into my subconscious feelings during this time. that's the truly powerful component here- this meditation is guided by your deepest desires. you may feel that something is right for you on the outside, but internally you don't feel happy or fulfilled.
Once you come out of the meditation, grab your journal and write about your experience. Get it all out on paper. Write what made you feel empowered! Write about what you felt, saw and desired in that meditation. Then -and here's the fun part!- jot down some things that you can do NOW to create that ideal self!
There was a time awhile back that I did this meditation and felt amazingly peaceful and happy with the thought of freedom. I envisioned heaps of time for self-care, yoga, dinner with friends and time to myself. At the time however, I was jam packing my schedule with classes and clients. I thought on the outside that's what I truly needed. I never took time to create a mental vision of my ideal life and then meditate on the experiene. Once I did, I realized I was feeling drained and aggrevated at the fact that I had little time for myself. I was always scheduled to be somewhere at some time. I immediately took action and freed up my schedule. It was life-changing for me! I felt such a difference! And my classes, clients, friends and family even noticed the difference. I was much more present, less frazzled and totally tuned in. Since then, I've made it a priority to include free time in my schedule. It's a non-negotiable.
So take some time to meditate on this and discover your true ideal self! Then get to work creating it!
cheers to the new year!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I love when the new year hits. It signals us to take stock, reflect and create growth in our lives.
Yesterday in yoga I offered my students the intention of 'letting go.' So many times on new years eve we create endless lists of goals, aspirations and dreams, but sometimes we can forget to let go of past setbacks and stories to make room for all of this new amazingness.
I am committed to letting go of past stories that i've been holding onto and that have been holding me back from creating the things I really want in my life.
While i'm still drafting my 2014 dreams, I thought I'd share just a few I have so far:
-Host more Present Moment Workshops
-Daily morning meditation to set the tone for my day
-Finish all the books I've downloaded onto my iPad - the list grows daily!
-Dedicate one entire uninterrupted hour of each day studying French
-Travel! (this is going to be a big one for 2014)
-Spend even more time on my yoga mat
-Weekly date nights with the husband
I have a very intricate goal setting system because few things thrill me more than having empowering intentions and being passionate about your dreams.
So while you're dreaming, creating, thinking and imagining today... spend a moment to think about something you'd like to release. If past burdens, hurt and anxieties are still taking up space in your mind, body and heart, they are just simply holding you back!
And if you're unsure if there's something you need to let go of- sit tight! Because this week I'm going to share a creation meditation with you that will help you envision exactly what you want in your life and exactly what you need to let go of to reach that.
Have a happy and healthy! Cheers to a new year!
sat nam, b
For a lot of people Sundays can stir up some stressful and anxious feelings about the upcoming week. I know I used to dread them because it meant the start of a new week and the start of things I found very stressful- like commuting, traffic, work deadlines and big projects. As Sunday drew out, I used to become more and more aggitated and soon my entire Sunday was wasted on my constant anxiety about the week ahead.
To nix this problem, and find some enjoyment out of my weekend, I started some Sunday night rituals that helped me keep the peace and relax. So regardless of whatever Monday held, I actually was able to look forward to the close of another weekend because I created things to look forward to and keep me present.
If you find yourself stressin' away your Sunday because you dread the week, here's some things you can do to stay grounded, connected and in the moment on Sundays:
-sunday night yoga class
-warm bath infused with lavender essential oils
-10 minute mini meditation, envision how your week will go MANIFEST IT!
-catch a movie with some friends
-brew some chamomile tea
-if you enjoy making food, bake something delicious to have monday night or prep some healthy meals to grab and go for the week
-spend some time unwinding with a book in bed before you actually go to sleep
-5 minutes EFT
-take some time to set goals for the week- mini-goals to practice stress relieving techniques, meditation or how many yoga classes you'll hit up this week
Here's to the start of a brand new week! How will you make it amazing?
sat nam xo, b
Ego VS Love
My classes this week have been themed around love. I was inspired to create a flow that focuses on our heart chakra after a beautiful conversation I had with someone this weekend.
We were chatting about anxiety and fear and how they play such a huge role in how people live their lives. I spent a big part of my life living with a fear-based, or EGO driven, mindset. We've all been there. Small battles with the Ego are a daily occurance for most of us. When we flow on our mats and get jealous of someone that falls into splits without breaking a sweat or when fear strikes hold at the thought of going into an arm balance and falling or even when you judge a co-worker for going after a promotion that you were scared to go after for fear of failing...that's our Ego. And that tricky little sucker likes to pop up and control us as much as it can.
During our conversation, I shared my thoughts on the Ego and how I work to combat it when it rears its gnarly little head. At first glance, it might seem that to beat out this Ego, we should shift into the opposite mindset. And that's right! But... the opposite mindset isn't what we first think of. If the Ego causes fear-based living, then the opposite would seem like safety, but it's actually not. Tricky Ego! When we buy into the illusion that the Ego creates (i'm not good enough. I can't do that. I'm dumb. I'm not worthy of love.) we create a feeling of safety for ourselves. Giving into that fear based mindset makes us feel like we are avoiding scary things. We get fooled into thinking that this fear is serving a purpose. And therefore, we feed into it even more. We perpetuate the Ego loop- fear, avoidance, safety. But when we move into the opposite mindset, we shine a light on that Ego and bust through it. This opposite mindset is >LOVE<
When we live from a place of Love, the Ego looses its grip on us. We have faith, trust, acceptance and security. And we don't have to do anything to get it. We just vibrate with that energy. We begin to see challenges as learning opportunities, fear dissolves with our faith and our journey is supported by our trust that we'll reach our destination.
I had to move into that Loving space to stop hating my anxiety. My Ego justified my anxious feelings and I felt comfortable keeping them around. At the peak of my anxiety I hit rock bottom and had a choice. Keep living in fear or shift to love. I think you can guess which one I chose ;)
Find time today to open your heart and radiate love.
And be mindful of when the Ego tries to steer your course. Stay commited to that loving mindset and set the intention for an attitude of gratitude!
Sat Nam xo
our 3 minds
“Conquer your mind to conquer the world.”
According to Yogi Bhajan we all have 3 minds. Sometimes it can feel hard enough to find peace with just one, but three? How do we accomplish that? And how exactly does each mind effect us?
If "I think, therefore I am" shows us anything, it's that we really attach our identities to our minds. Our world is not actually a collection of experiences, it's actually the culmination of the thoughts and perceptions we have about said experiences.
In the Kundalini tradition, each person has 3 minds and each mind works to serve a specific purpose. We have the Negative Mind, the Positive Mind and the Neutral Mind.
The negative mind focuses on protecting us. It assesses danger in a situation. It's the part of us that signals not to cross the street when cars are coming. It also gives us a desire to belong, which is great, except if it's underdeveloped this can lead us to engage in destructive relationships or be overly unfluenced by others. With trying to protect us, the negative mind is what gives us negative and fearful thoughts and worries.
Then we have the positive mind. This mind is responsible for us seeing possibilities in all situations. There's a level of trust and faith that comes with these thoughts. It keeps us playful. If it's underdeveloped though, it can lead us to almost be too trusting with outcomes and blind us to warning signals or red flags.
Then we have the neutral mind. This mind is our most powerful tool. It is intuitive. It looks at the thoughts and interpretations from both the positive and negative minds and makes a decision after carefully weighing both sides. When we're fully engaging in the neutral mind, we find a way to step outside of the mentality that we are our thoughts. We find a place of non-attachment and stability. This grounding comes from understanding that our identities don't fluctuate with our flowing thoughts. Fears don't call the shots from this place.
When it comes to our anxiety, we are living in the negative mind and letting our fears and insecurities dictate our decisions and shape our world. When you find yourself spinning with negative chatter, try to find your neutral mind. Take a moment to step away from these thoughts, knowing they aren't you, and look at them from a place of non-attachment. Be a witness. And once you start operating from the neutral mind, you'll find that worries don't hang around as much. The neutral mind creates a balance for us. Let the neutral mind break down your fears and offer you control over those stressful thoughts!
sat nam, b
I'm a formerly anxious chick that found my zen on the mat. I used yoga, pranayama and yogic philosophies to alleviate my debilitating anxiety and get my life back on track. Now, I spend my time teaching yoga, coaching others and helping people find a more peaceful path in life.