Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blissful Body Yoga Newsletter, September 2010

Check out our latest newsletter here. And you can subscribe with the little box to your right so you won't miss the next one! Peace- Teal

Help a Teacher with Limeades for Learning Grants

Sonic Limeades for Learning provides much needed grant money to public school teachers, like my sister-in-law Sarah Chimblo, who teaches at-risk students in Jenks, Oklahoma. Please help her projects receive funding by voting ONCE A DAY for one of her projects. That's all it takes, Sonic does the rest!

Also, if you are a fan of Sonic drinks like Cherry Limeades, you can purchase them and then get the code off the cup and enter it on the Web site below. The more codes enter the closer she gets to having her project fully funded! Last year both her grants were fully funded! I'm not ashamed to say we go dumpster diving a Sonic to get more cups sometimes...hey, you do whatcha gotta do to help the teachers!

Here's a little bit about each of the grants and the links to click and fund them! Please spread the word about Sarah's grants and to other teachers that may want to apply for one. Thank you!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! First Grade Authors
Mrs. C
My first grade students have many stories to tell. Help instill in my students a love for writing by providing engaging materials for our writing center.

My students attend a moderate-level poverty suburban school. Almost half of the school is on free or reduced lunch. Some of my students come from different parts of the world and some families have lived here all their lives. All of my students, however, have stories to share about their families and life experiences. To read more and fund  

What's That Word? Let's Become Word Wizards!
Mrs. C
Did you know that students can learn vocabulary and background knowledge by reading and speaking? Help my students become "Word Wizards" through center activities!

My students come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Some students come to my classroom with many "real-world" experiences that helps their vocabulary development. However, some students lack background knowledge and/or vocabulary as they begin to read. Our school is a moderate poverty school, with almost half of our population on free or reduced lunch. 
To read more and fund

Give Peace a Chant

Om Mani Padme Hum

I don't watch the news, haven't for years. It is sensational, fear mongering hysterics. If I need a general idea of what is going on in the world sometimes I will watch a few minutes of BBC News (which is much more to the point) or I will scan online headlines to see if anything major has happened that I need to know about.

It's not that I don't care, on the contrary I care very much, it's just that I've found that getting all upset about anything doesn't really help much, and a great deal of what goes on on this planet can certainly make me upset. So what do I do? What helps me? I GIVE A CHANT OUT FOR PEACE!

Chanting mantra is extremely powerful. When we chant we harness the fundamental elements and powers of the Universe that are within and without. One of my favorite books on mantra is Healing Mantras by Thomas Ashley-Farrand. He recommends several mantras for planetary transformation.

Hung Vajra Peh (Hoong Vahj-Rah Pay)
This is the mantra of Vajrapani, a being who purifies and protects the "Sincere Seeker." Chanting this mantra is said to disperse the negative energies that coagulate like greasy lumps of oil in the ocean of Consciousness surrounding our planet. Every time some violent or terrible event occurs more of these energies, or thought forms, accumulate and clog everything up. When we chant Hung Vajra Peh we help to break those thought forms up and transform them into positive energy.

Om Mani Padme Hum (Om Mah-Nee Pahd-Mey Hoom)
This mantra is often given the somewhat enigmatic translation, "The Jewel is in the Heart Lotus." What this means is that the "jewel" of love and compassion is in our own Anahata chakra (heart lotus chakra) and is infused in the Consciousness of All Things (and we know that there really isn't a difference right? All is One.) This is a very powerful mantra because as we say it we cultivate a spirit of love and compassion first towards ourselves, where are non-violence practice needs to begin, and then toward all of the Universe. Farrand says as we chant Om Mani Padme Hum we are, "constantly pushing the wheel of humanity's spiritual advancement."

So, "drop out" of the TV news-watching-business and "tune in" to your Eternal Heart and the Consciousness of all Beings with chant for peace today!

May you be happy, May you be free from all suffering.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Heal Yourself with Affirmations

"In the infinity of Life where I am,
 all is perfect, whole and complete..."

Louise L. Hay begins many of the meditations/affirmations in her beautiful classic You Can Heal Your Life with this phrase. I use this book and a few others of hers all the time in my yoga classes. If you haven't worked with affirmations in your life I really encourage you to start right now! Take a break from what you are doing, take a deep breath and repeat the simple phrase above 3 times. Say it out loud if you can.

Feel that?

That is the peace and calm that comes from hearing something good about yourself and your life. How powerful is that? It's pretty much everything! We are what we think. What we think becomes habit and in the end our habits define our lives.

Most of us struggle with a lot of negative internal mind chatter. Begin to notice how many times you say something critical to yourself everyday. Would you speak that way to someone else? Would you criticize a child over and over and over again all day in that way? Most likely if you overheard someone speaking to another human being that way you would be appalled.

Once you have gained some awareness around this "voice" ask yourself if it really belongs to you? Or, is it the voice of many harsh critics from your past?

Next, begin to practice the opposite! When you hear that voice say something negative, say something positive me, it will give up:-)

Instead of:

I am so stupid!...I am so smart and learn easily.
I am fat and ugly...I am beautiful inside and out!
This is just my luck!...I attract positive people and experiences.
I am broke, I'll never have any money....I attract wealth in all its forms freely and easily.

Sometimes the critical voices in our heads come from deep feelings of unworthiness. This may be based on past experiences, or guilt over choices we have made. We can heal these heavy, afflicted emotions with affirmations as well.

Here is an excerpt from one of Louise Hay's affirmations that I have been using in my class this week. Take a few deep breaths and repeat it 3 times slowly to yourSelf.

In the infinity of life where I am
all is perfect, whole and complete.

I love myself; therefore, I only attract loving people into my world,
for they are a mirror of what I am.

I love myself; therefore, I totally release the past and all past experiences and I am free.

I love myself; therefore, I live totally in the now,
experiencing each moment as good and knowing that my future
is bright and joyous and secure,
for I am a beloved child of the Universe
and the Universe lovingly takes care of me
now and forever more.

All is well in my world.

Taken from You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise L. Hay

May you be happy, May you be free from all suffering. Om shanti.

Abinivesa, the Intimate Robe of Fear

This is an excerpt from the September 2010 newsletter of the Krishnamacharya Healing & Yoga Foundation (KHYF). This foundation was established to continue the prodigious teachings of yoga master T Krishnamacharya. His son and grandson, TKV Desikachar and Kaustaub Desikachar respectively,  continue his lineage and work today in India and around the world.

In each newsletter Kausthub writes a short reflection on one of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. This month he discusses the concept of Abinivesa, or fear.

I love how he breaks down the word for us and how it enlightens the deep meaning behind the sutra. The phrase, "fear is an intimate robe that we continuously wear" rang particularly true in my heart.

May we be enlightened, may no separation come between us.

Sutra Reflections 
by Kausthub Desikachar

Even though there are many beautiful words in Sanksrit that represent the concept of fear, Yogi Patanjali chose to use the word abhinivesa, when talking about it. When we understand this concept, and more specifically this word, not only does his genius shine through, but it also becomes increasingly evident, that the yoga he is representing is a deep system of understanding the human mind, and presumably the first school of human psychology even.

The word abhinivesa seems to form out of a combination of three different parts, abhi + ni + veśa, ultimately bringing together this beautiful word.

The word "abhi", represents something which is "intimate" in us. Something which is so deep and private inside us, that often we don't even know it. And even if we know it, we would prefer to keep it very private. Isn't fear something so private that we would not often prefer to reveal it to others? Isn't fear something so deep that we are sometimes not even aware of it? Isn't fear so deep in us, that it often comes to shake our very sense of existence? Reflect about it.

The word "ni", probably represents the idea of "nitārām", which means continuous, or a long time. This is used in-conjunction with the word "veśa", which often means "cloak" or "robe" or "costume". So in essence the concept of "nivesa", comes to represent an eternal cloak or continuous costume. Fear is not only the continuous robe we wear to mask ourself, but it also makes us wear many masks on many occasions.

When combined with the first part "abhi", this becomes even more interesting, as it seems to indicate that "fear is an intimate robe that we continuously wear."

Isn't this what fear is, and what it does?

An alternate meaning for the word "nivesa", is also "to penetrate" or "to enter". When we look at it from this perspective, Fear turns out to be something that penetrates our most intimate self. This is also an interesting perspective to reflect on.

For continued reading on Yoga Sutra, please read "The Heart of Yoga", by TKV Desikachar.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thinking of you Tamar

This morning when I checked my email I found out that one of the most amazing women I have ever met had left her body. I did not know her my whole life, just for a short and special time. We did our yoga training at the Kripalu Center together. But, she touched my life with her kindness, insight, intelligence and her smile. She was a truly magnificent human being. She lived in Dancing Rabbit Eco-community and among other things she helped build many of the structures in the community with natural materials. I remember her telling me about this during YTT and asking her a million questions. "You can make houses out of straw and wood just like the old days and they look like that!! WOW!" I was just amazed. You can see some pictures of what I am talking about here.

She was also, of course, a yoga teacher. So bright and skillful and gentle. She could explain things so quietly and clearly. Another one of her many gifts.

After our YTT she went on to learn midwifery so she could attended and assist in the births at her community. Amazing stuff.

She also played the fiddle, loved to dance, had the brightest smile and the most glorious thick and shiny hair you have ever seen. She was one of the most conscious communicators I have ever seen. I told her she should work for the UN, she could probably get us all to find common ground and get along somehow.

In some of the group shares and one-on-one work we did together in YTT she said some of the nicest things to me anyone has ever said. I did what i could to thank her in words and tell her how healing she had been to me; but words fall far, far short.

When she was diagnosed last year with Neurendocrine pancreatic cancer I was just stunned. It seemed impossible that someone so young and healthy could have such a thing. Tamar started a blog at the time to share her Journey, as she called it, with friends and family and in the hope that whatever she discovered along the way might be helpful to someone else. You can read her blog here from the beginning. And,  here is the final post made by her sister yesterday. In her death she was so surrounded and cradled by love. That makes me happy and I am glad that she no longer suffers. But, I am gutted that she is gone from this realm.

After I post this I am going to harvest some herbs from my garden and begin making healing tinctures and salves. I wish you were here to get out there with me Tamar, it's such a beautiful day and I know how you loved to be outdoors, AND I know you know A LOT more about this stuff then I do! I will do my best in your honor anyway...maybe I'll see you out there:-)

This one's for you Tamar. May you be happy, may you be eternally peace-full. See you around sweet girl.

One of my favorite poems ever...

I live my life in growing orbits
By Rainer Maria Rilke

I live my life in growing orbits
which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.

I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for a thousand years,
and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm,
or a great song.