When Did Yoga Become Pretentious?

Work alone is your privilege, never the fruits thereof. Never let the fruits of action be your motive; and never cease to work. Work in the name of the Lord, abandoning selfish desires. Be not affected by success or failure. This equipoise is called Yoga. – The Bhagvad Gita

The practice of yoga in America has become a pretentious feat. It is a luxury for the wealthy and a rung on the ladder of social privilege.

Yoga classes are relatively expensive – anywhere from $10 to $25 per class on average. Monthly packages usually cost more than a gym membership, starting at around $100 per month.

And let’s not forget the gear.

Those really cool-looking brand name pants can run $100. I’ve seen mats, towels, and props start at $50.

How did this happen? When did yoga become a money-making machine? And when did it become a social barrier dividing the haves and have-nots?

Perhaps yoga has always created barriers among people (pretty much everything can). Regardless if this is so, I propose that we denounce any exclusiveness and regain focus on the essence of yoga.

In this article, we address some of the societal issues resulting from a large-scale misconception and misuse of yoga in America.

(For simplicity’s sake and to avoid any unintentional pretentiousness, the word “yoga” is lowercase throughout this article. Please, let’s not get our leggings in a bunch over this. )

Yoga for the poor

Put yourself in this situation:

You’re hungry.

You’re so hungry – like haven’t-eaten-in-days-because-you’re-homeless hungry. You have no home, no food, no shoes.

Do you ever think about taking up a spiritual practice in order to get more in touch with your inner being?

Probably not. You’re probably passed out on a park bench, begging on a street corner, or scavenging for food.

How about this situation:

You’re a parent of four children living in a shambled house infested with black mold.

You work two minimum wage jobs and got tricked into a variable rate mortgage a few years back. Your spouse is an addict and steals your hard-earned cash to buy drugs. You’ll likely lose the house next year and your children will have to go to the other school where kids smoke meth and steal from gas stations.

Just before bed, are you pondering whether a home yoga practice can help you drop those pesky 10 pounds before the bank forecloses your home?

Duh. No. You’re freaking out about how you’re going to afford your mortgage or move to a cheaper place without putting your kids at risk.

The point is: It highly unlikely that people lacking their basic needs are taking it upon themselves to practice sun salutations and ujjaya breath to reveal their transcendental Selves.

Yoga for the wealthy

People who have their basic needs met can afford the time and energy to devote their thinking to things other than their basic needs.

That means there’s time to sit and meditate and contemplate the meaning of life. There’s time to work on the body and improve overall wellness.

And there’s time to develop a solid yoga practice.

There’s also money to pay for studios, instructors, clothing, mats, and props. That money is reliable enough to expand the studios and inspire instructors and designers to get in on all the action.

There is no question that people with money have forged the path for yoga in America. And for that we should be grateful.

If it weren’t for people with money, yoga would never be as popular as it is today.

The spiritual side of yoga is far too radical for a predominantly Christian society to adopt. But, those that discover the extensive benefits of the physical side of yoga readily accept instruction on the asanas (postures).

As the asana trend continues to spread, more people are eager to incorporate yoga in their daily lives.

But of course, since people with money continue to forge the way, yoga continues to be expensive.

Why is yoga expensive?

Yoga classes have to cost what they do in order for the instructors to make ends meet.

Yoga teacher training costs a lot of money. Teaching certification, which isn’t legally required by the way, starts at $1,500. So, instructors dish out a pretty penny to share their knowledge and practice with us.

Plus, studios require rent and have overhead. Instructors that don’t use studios buy mats and other supplies for their students.

It’s tough to make it as a yoga teacher. But most aren’t in it for the money.

Most instructors know that they’re not going to get rich quick with their business. But they believe in it so much that they are willing to stick their necks out to provide guidance for their students. (By the way, please excuse all the stretching puns throughout this article.)

The people making bank off yoga are the ones training teachers and selling products like $100 leggings and $50 towels.

Now, the supply of instructors is increasing, so according to the principles of microeconomics, we should see a drop in price in the future. However, this is no good for the instructors. By increasing the supply of instructors, we decrease the price of instruction, which means the instructors will have to start skipping meals to pay rent unless the demand for instructors increases.

And so we find ourselves dancing along supply and demand curves, wanting high quality yoga instruction without paying high prices and wanting to make a living teaching yoga without losing its spiritual purpose.

At the end of the day, money dissolves the essence of yoga and contorts it into a mere commodity. An expensive commodity at that, which creates a huge social barrier whether we want to admit it or not.

Speaking of social barriers, let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?

Yoga isn’t just for skinny white girls

Go to any yoga studio in America and you may find that a majority of the clientele are skinny white girls. I myself am a skinny white girl.

This isn’t a bad thing – skinny white girls are allowed to practice yoga. However, there’s a stereotype associated with this group that is very intimidating to anyone who doesn’t fit the physical profile.

The media and advertisements don’t help either. Most of the images we see are of skinny white girls in super trendy expensive pants and sports bras. I don’t often see non-photoshopped images of average-sized people with varying complexions practicing yoga in off-brand clothing.

The whole media conundrum is evidence of how skewed the American perception of yoga is (in general) and how self-perpetuating it is. Not everyone has a skewed perception, but it’s certainly tempting to just fall-in-line and chalk it up to “this is just the way we do yoga in America.”

Which brings up another social barrier…

There’s no such thing as “western yoga”

All yoga is yoga. And if it’s not yoga, then it’s not yoga. Simple.

At its core, yoga is a mental and spiritual practice with a purpose to reveal the true Self. I’ll spare you the psychospiritual details (for now).

The postures and movements are just a part of the overall yoga philosophy, yet they dominate instructional classes. This is not a bad thing, but it can lead to a misuse of the yoga philosophy, which can have negative effects. It’s like Frodo trying to use the One Ring to do good. It just doesn’t work like that.

Attempting yoga without an appreciation for the history and underlying purpose leads to severe butchering of a beautiful philosophy and turns yoga into a commodity. If we keep this up, aspiring yogis will be bending over backwards to find good instructors and will have to pay an arm and a leg for classes. (That one was really bad…)

It’s evident that the eastern world’s underlying philosophies and way of thinking evolved in somewhat of a contrast to that of the western world. However, when you really dig deep into the history of yoga, you find that the core principles are no different from the principles that my favorite scientist, Albert Einstein, conjured up not too long ago (e.g., everything in the universe is energy).

Considering this, the line between east and west becomes blurred and we realize that we are more alike than different. In fact we are all the exact same.

Yoga for the people

Yoga is for everyone.

High quality yoga instruction should be made available to anyone who seeks it. It takes a certain caliber of discipline and maturity to develop a meaningful yoga practice, but the instruction should be present when the students are ready.

There is an increasing amount of resources that provide affordable means to learn the asanas (postures). The hope is that the philosophy of yoga continues to spread along with the asanas. Whether or not this happens depends on the instructors.

Here at The Be Well Place, we are developing a series that gives you the resources necessary to develop your own yoga practice. The idea is to keep the costs low enough so that lots of people can afford it, while providing a means to support the continued production of the series. There will also be plenty of free resources to get you going.

Please stay tuned as we develop the series. If you haven’t done so already, enter your email below to receive updates specific to the yoga practice series.

 

(photo credit: via cc)

57: Mastering Mindfulness in Your Relationship – with Dan Siegel

How do you harness the power of your mind so that it’s working for you, not against you – especially when things get triggering with your partner? We now know that our minds are flexible, and that through neuroplasticity you can continue to develop and change throughout your whole life. In today’s episode, we are talking with Dr. Dan Siegel, one of the world’s leading experts on mindfulness and neuroplasticity, about how you can apply mindfulness with your partner to develop deeper connection to each other, and to yourself. Come along for the ride, as we take an in-depth look at the relationship between your mind and body – and your partner’s mind and body!

Self- In today’s culture we have equated Self as an output of the mind, and the mind as some outcome of the brain. We have narrowed our definition of Self and separated it from a broader and more integrated wholeness. Invite in the possibility that your sense of SELF comes from the weaving together of many layers of your being, and is as expansive as it is tangible.

Integration: Integration is the basis for wellbeing. Integration is the unifying principle that various aspects of a system are honored for their differences, and then linked. Integration is at the core of healthy brain functioning, and healthy relationships. In an integrated state, the social engagement system of our brains is turned on and we are available for connection.

MWE: A healthy relationship is not about dropping your own sense of Self, it is about learning to honor the uniqueness and individuality of both partners and integrating the two into a new whole. It is about going from ME to MWE: a new WE created by the joining of your two Selves into a new entity.

Mindsight: Mindsight is our capacity to be aware of our own minds. It is our ability be aware of our habitual patterns and behaviors and move away from being on autopilot. Mindsight is the capacity to 1) have insight into yourself, 2) have empathy for other people, and 3) honor differences and promote integration. Mindsight is something that can be developed and learned, and must be in order for healthy relationships to form. Thanks to neuroplasticity, increasing mindsight can physiologically and neurologically change our brains- helping us shake off old or inherited patterning and allowing us to become more aware, available, and attuned individuals.

PART: This is an acronym that helps get to the core aspects of how you are or are not showing up in your relationships. What PART do you play in your life to bring more health and restoration to yourself and your relationship?

P: Presence- Presence is the ability of being in an open and receptive state that allows you to connect with whatever is arising inside of yourself. Once you can be present for yourself, you can learn to develop a deep acceptance of what may come up. As we learn to be with, and tend to, and remain aware of our own triggers, emotions, thoughts, and patterns, we then learn to caretake ourselves in ways that take pressure off of our partners and allow us to be more present with THEM!

A: Attunement- By learning to direct your focus of attention, as if it is a stream of energy you can point in various ways, you gain the ability to attune to both yourself and others. Asking questions is a wonderful way to refocus attention. Ask yourself: what meaning does this have for me? What is happening right now? What is happening beneath my/your behavior right now? This curiosity and looking for the underbelly of behavior allows you to gain access to the subjective world of attitudes, beliefs, stories, longings, dreams, insights, and other aspects that are often influencing behavior in the moment.

R: Resonance- If, and only if, you are present, open, and attuned, can you resonate with others. Resonating with others is the ability to allow someone else’s internal state to affect your own. It is the openness to being changed because of another. To be touched. To shift inside in response and attunement to another. Feeling felt by others, and willingly feeling with others is the beginning of becoming a MWE.

T: Trust- When presence, attunement, and resonance are achieved the social engagement system of our nervous system is engaged and turned out. Our brains are wired towards reactivity (flight, fight, freeze, disconnect, avoid, defense, etc.) however when we are in safe and true connection with others we become receptive. Our neurobiology is changed when we feel safe- our muscles relax, our heart rate lowers, and we enter into a ventral vagal state that allows for even more P and A and R. Trust is simultaneously a requirement and an outcome of being in connection with others.

Positive emotion comes from connection. Research (and experience)  have shown that positivity resonance is possible whenever there is human connection, even if it is around being together through suffering or difficulty. The act and process of reaching out to another and connecting, no matter their state, changes the neurobiology of both of you and increases the level of integration. The higher the integration the higher the positivity resonance. This is true because as you reach out you provide relief for the sufferer (who felt alone before), and the sense of compassion and empathy is increased in both individuals, therefore forming a sense of MWE.

Converting implicit memories into narratives of growth and coherence: Very often our reactions in a given moment are more based on implicit memories (those that live in our subconscious) than they are to the present issues/content. We react to the now as if the past were the present, and this can cause confusion, hurt, and high tension in relationships and wreak havoc in our interactions. When we are unaware and unable to differentiate between present and past we react to triggers in one of four ways: fight, flight, freeze, or faint. To begin the process of bringing these patterns into awareness, attune to your own internal state and notice when you shift from a place of receptivity to one of reactivity. Notice the difference in your body, and become aware of the micro-shifts that help clue you into knowing you are beginning to go into defense/reactive mode. This process has a physiology to it- be it clenched jaw, tightened chest, shallow breathing, getting sweaty, higher pitched voice- begin to map these for yourself so that you can fine tune your self-awareness.

Something needs to be done. Nothing positive happens in relationships when we are reactive! That said, it is crucial to learn ways to move out of reactivity and back into receptivity before engaging in fixing/healing/processing. Once you have become skilled in attuning to your internal state of being and noticing when you shift into a reactive state, then it is critical to learn how to take care of yourself. This can be anything and everything from journal writing, to walking around the block, to sitting for a meditation, to calling a friend, to putting on some music and dancing, stretching, drinking a glass of cold water, etc. Whatever your go to self-care and de- escalation strategy is, you MUST first be aware that you need to take a break! This inner work allows you to get back into a state where you are available and open to receiving and being in connection.

Memory retrieval is a  memory modifier. Once you are able to 1) notice that you are being triggered and 2) able to pause and get out of the reactive state, then you can begin to get curious. What past experiences- be it a single incident, or chronic long term patterns, are informing your reactions right now? Ask non-judgemental, open ended questions of yourself. Write. Process with others. Go to counseling. As you find core explicit memories, you then have the opportunity to bring them into awareness and label as ‘past’. The process of bringing memories into consciousness (memory retrieval) is in itself a form of modifying the memory. Identifying the old memories that have been informing your present reactions allows you to make connections, see links, and gain insight into why you respond the way you do. From here you can make meaning of madness, and meaning of memory. Your implicit memories become explicit, and what is automatic becomes autobiographical. You can begin to own your reactions in empowering ways, saying things like ‘There is a theme in me where I get very defensive when I have the feeling of being rejected because my father never thought I was good enough.” Themes that you may begin to identify could be:  abandonment, feeling worthless, neglect, isolation, rejection, being invisible, being smothered, being given too much responsibility, being ignored, being abused, etc.  As you shift the ways you relate to yourself and your past, you will find your relationships shift too!

SIFTing: Our brains are wired with a negativity bias- meaning we automatically scan and focus on negative aspects of an experience (this is due to survival wiring). That said, our brains are elastic and neuroplasticity allows us to change our brain by changing our focus and rewiring our circuitry. We can do this by taking the time to notice and savor positive experiences. SIFT is a practice and process of focusing the Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts associated with a positive experience. Try it! The next time you recognize a moment or experience for which you are grateful for, relieved by, appreciative of, or feeling good about, pause and flow through the SIFT process focusing for just long enough to soak in the various aspects of the experience. Neurons that fire together wire together, and therefore these small but frequent exercises begin to reshape our brains in a way that is organized around positivity, making us more receptive and less reactive.  

The Wheel of Awareness: Imagine a wheel- hub at the center, spokes leading outwards towards the rim. Now imagine that the hub is the seat of your awareness. Your consciousness resides here- centered, central, calm, clear, open. From here you can send a spoke of attention around to the rim, upon which resides all we can be aware of: our five senses, the interior of our bodies, our mental activities, and our sense of interconnectedness. Through practicing the wheel of awareness meditation you can develop the ability to 1) differentiate between awareness of rim elements and awareness of hub elements, 2) recenter yourself in the hub as the source of your consciousness, and 3) redirect your focus of attention/spoke. All of this helps to build your capacity to be in that deep presence so essential to receptivity and attunement.

Remember: The more integrated you can become the more you are able to lean into challenges, and the more open you become to new possibilities!

Resources

Visit Dan Siegel’s website for more resources

Want to know more about the Wheel of Awareness? Check it out here!  

Read Dan Siegel’s book Mindsight

Order your copy of Dan’s newest book Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human which is set to be released October 18th, 2016.

Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide to this episode with Dan Siegel.

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Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

Under the Oak Tree meditation

I love the warmer weather; this is the time of year to begin the Under the Oak Tree Meditations. Once again these meditations will be held throughout the summer and fall months in a sacred space under the canopy of the majestic Oak Tree, relaxing around the fire pit, listening to beautiful music. This year the focus is a 45 minute silent meditation. Stay tuned for the dates, they will be posted on the of this website.

I love trees, the spirit within them, and the tales they can tell; for they are the quiet watchers of earth. There is healing energy that can be felt when you commune with plants and trees, because they carry a specific energy frequency and vibration. When you are feeling off balance, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, a great antidote is Tree Healing or Tree Medicine. When we think of trees, remember they are grounded with their roots so deep into earth, the trunk is the heart of the soul being and the branches stretch to reach the sky and connection with the heaven or divine.

Each tree has their specific healing qualities; I want to share Oak Healing with you! This is from The Healing Power of Trees by Sharlyn Hidalgo.

“Whenever you feel weak and helpless, sit with an oak or conjure one in your mind. Oak medicine will bring you strength, courage, and bravery. Oak is grounded and strong. It will help you when you are overly excited, anxious, or nervous. With this tree’s help, your energy will ground and even out. When you are carrying too much on your shoulders, you can ask an oak tree to take on the energy and properly disperse it back to the earth for its regeneration.

When you are in a situation that seems to be dragging on or is otherwise stagnant, invite in Oak energy; she will show you that growth and change happen even when you can’t tell physically. She grows slowly and steadily from the acorn, sometimes for centuries. She will help you to be patient. Use the image of the acorn for new ideas, projects, and intentions. Plant them and nourish them well, knowing that in time a tree will grow forth.

Oak represents fertility. If you are hoping to become a parent, commune with this tree. Ask her to share her powers of fertility.

When you are seeking knowledge, information, guidance, or wisdom, ask Oak for what you need. Oak responds to specific questions when you are researching something, especially if it has to do with ancient wisdom or spiritual lineages”.

Another element we use in the meditations is Fire. The fire center is the solar plexus chakra; this is where your light shines from. Using the element of fire creatively can transform negative qualities, thoughts, or feeling into positive ones with its purifying properties. The solar plexus is the source of your imagination, vision of the future and your desire for action. It’s here where you can come to terms with the past and “burn” accumulated karma (the consequences of the past action). Fire is thought to empower, organize, lead and manage our lives successfully. Fire assists us with releasing all that no longer serves us, transmuting the energy and then powering the physical body to activate the whole system. It is also known to promote a healthy immune system leading to vitality and a long active life.

Today’s Journey Tarot June 2019 Forecast

ARIES – It is time to give something up. You are through with it and do not need it anymore. It could be something physical or just worn out ideas that you have carried for too long. Be open to letting go.

TAURUS – There is a time for everything. Do not push yourself relentlessly. Take breaks and make certain you are remaining balanced. You accomplish less when you force it than you do after a rest.

GEMINI – A big decision arises this month. Depend on your own research and knowledge to decide. Do not take on more than you are comfortable with just because someone else thinks you should and can. You know best.

CANCER – Be as relaxed and aware as possible this month. There is an opportunity for you to learn something very important if you pay attention. This can change your life for the better.

LEO – In your rush to accomplishment, take a bit more time to verify your sources. There is some sense of dishonesty around you that may cause you to falter or even fail. Verify what you think you know and where your source is from.

VIRGO – Sometimes when we complete something, there is a letdown. Do not let this get out of control. Begin planning your next challenge or project right away. Use what you’ve learned to further your success.

LIBRA – It may be tough getting things done this month. Difficult energy keeps getting in the way. Do something fun instead and try again at another time. It will work out fine.

SCORPIO – Trust your inner self. It is not always right either, but it does have good intentions. Listen to your “different drummer”. It is not time to conform, it is time to grow.

SAGITTARIUS – Instead of trying to do it all, decide what is most important and begin there. We often hesitate to begin when the task seems overwhelming. Isolate and start small. One thing at a time.

CAPRICORN – It may get a bit confusing at times this month, but that’s nothing new. Choose not to get involved in the drama of others and you will have a good month. It is all about rising above the fray.

AQUARIUS – Do not complain about life. Every negative thing you say or think reinforces those things in your life. Find things to be grateful about. Find things that still inspire you. Readjust your perspective. It is easier than changing your life.

PISCES – Your mind is full of worries. The best distraction is to do something for somebody else. Getting your mind occupied with someone besides yourself is a great diversion. When your mind is free from worry, even for a little while, solutions can begin to occur to you. Helping others is the bonus.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

9 Differences Between iRest & Yoga Nidra

You might like to read this blog post for A Brief Introduction to iRest and Yoga Nidra.

  1. Differences in Culture Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

Traditional Yoga Nidra (TYN) is a meditative practice which stems from ancient Indian culture whose original works were written in the Sanskrit language. In part, TYN directs the student to use images such as a crocodile in the pelvis (which is associated with the sacral chakra), a ram in the solar plexus (manipura chakra) or an antelope in the heart (anahatta chakra), etc.

iRest has been secularized by removing references to cultural images and language in order to make it more accessible to Westerners.

2. Differences in Purpose Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

Traditional Yoga Nidra was developed as a method to attain enlightenment or Self-Realization, not as a treatment for trauma or psycho-emotional distress. Classical Yoga Nidra “imposes” imagery (as above) and makes other suggestions which have the potential to cause psycho-emotional flooding or overwhelm to those with traumatic PTSD or other combat stress conditions.

iRest is designed to support a person’s healthy defences and conditioning and to allow practitioners to uncover and integrate challenging material and experiences at their own pace and in their own time.

3. Differences in Use of an Inner Resource Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

Traditional Yoga Nidra does not include the use of a  an inner resource or safe, happy place.

iRest practices always begin and end with time to develop, rest in and absorb the felt safety and security of an inner safe haven. The student is assisted by the teacher in developing and enriching their own unique inner refuge especially to give them the resilience to meet challenging emotional arisings both during the practice and also during life.

4. Differences in Responding to Emotional Releases Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

While emotional catharsis is rare in practice it does occur. This is a good thing and does not necessarily mean the tears or crying are being experienced negatively by the person. In many instances it is a welcome cathartic release after which the person feels better and lighter. Like all things, these are passing experiences that are welcomed fully within the safety of the teacher and the group. They may occur during a Yoga Nidra practice just as they might in a regular yoga class.

Traditional Yoga Nidra

iRest teachers receive instruction during their training on how to meet, greet, and welcome the person and their emotions in a supportive but non-invasive way that supports healing without repressing or re-triggering the trauma.

5. Differences in Method Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

Traditional Yoga Nidra instructors guide all participants in a class through a standard process that is the same for everyone. Choices  are not provided.

iRest offers each and every participant the choice in how and when they want to participate. Each person is given the option to follow as much or as little of the teacher’s guidance as they wish, and are encouraged to follow their own personal inner process over the teachers guidance. Also, each participant has their own unique Inner Resource, and may choose the sensation, emotions, thoughts, memories, beliefs and images, s/he wants to work with during the practice.

6. Differences in Guidance Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

Traditional Yoga Nidra is more directive, “feel this,” “feel that,” “relax” and imagine X.

iRest helps people learn to radically accept themselves and their life just as it is in this moment without judgment or refusal. It doesn’t encourage avoidance or denial of challenges but rather offers the opposite, a radical meeting, greeting, welcoming and engaging so that their meaning, value and purpose can be discerned and integrated leading to living a wise and compassionate, vital life.

7. Differences in Use by Military Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

Traditional Yoga Nidra has not been used to treat trauma, PTSD or other combat related injuries.

iRest has been in use in military settings since 2006 following a successful pilot program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which showed its effectiveness in treating combat related PTSD in veterans. The Army Surgeon General has approved iRest as a Tier II treatment for PTSD in the DOD. Following the pilot study in 2007 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6 more studies have been done with the military. There are now approximately 20 VA and active duty U.S. military programs utilizing iRest. These programs have not been adopted by the Canadian Military to my knowledge.

8. Differences in Research Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

Rest is formulated as a 10-step flexible process that is suitable for research. Between 2007 and 2015, 22 iRest research studies were published and all of the research on Yoga Nidra in military settings has been done using the iRest protocol.

9. Differences in the Yogic Sheath Model (Koshas) Between iRest and Traditional Yoga Nidra

Traditional Yoga Nidra is based on, and works with, the 5 traditional koshas; the Annamaya kosha (body), the Pranamaya kosha (breath), the Manomaya kosha (sensation and emotion), the Vijñ?namaya kosha (cognitions) and the Anandamaya kosha (bliss). These are elements with which we wrongly identify ourselves. We see ourselves as, or identify with, being a body, having a breath, experiencing sensations and emotions, and having personal thoughts, beliefs, memories and images. We can even identify with bliss when we think, “I am happy.”

iRest also uses the traditional 5 sheath model but adds a 6th kosha, the Asmitamaya kosha. Admit is a sense of “I-ness” or being a separate self. It can be that even when experiencing happiness or bliss the ego-I comes in and appropriates the experience by saying, “I am happy/blissful.” As part of this non-dual inquiry, iRest asks, What is this I-ness that is happy? What is the felt-sense of this I-ness?”

Eventually this sense of being a separate “I” is seen as just another thought that is impermanent. It can now be sees that the sense of separation is just another movement in consciousness, and in doing so realize ourselves as the container for that I-thought. We can then redirect our attention back into that Unchanging Presence that is Aware before, during and after all change, including happiness.

Knowing your True nature is of profound benefit to yourself, friends, co-workers and society at large. Taking right action and making ethical decisions is crucial to healing violence and the degradation of Earth’s environment. When we see others as ourselves then it makes no sense to go to war or to steal. Then health, harmony and peace are possible.

NB: Many thanks to Karen Soltes and Robin Carnes at IRI for their work on defining these differences. This posts has a special emphasis on trauma, such as PTSD.

Next Week: The 1 Big Hurdle to a Successful Meditation Practice & 19 Solutions

PNB HeadShot Preferred rnd cornersPhilip Beck is a Certified iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher, a graduate of the Spiritual Psychotherapy program at Transformational Arts College, and a 500-hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher. He lives in Toronto and works with people who want to reconnect with themselves and their passion. Free discovery sessions are available in person, by Skype or FaceTime. You can email Philip here or  book Philip here for your complementary first session.

For a free 11 minute mp3 & PDF for relaxation, sleep and focus check out the home page. You’ll also receive blog posts and information about courses and workshops. Want to be inspired? You can follow Discover Yoga Nidra on FaceBook, by clicking here.

Please comment and keep the discussion going…

The post 9 Differences Between iRest & Yoga Nidra appeared first on Discover Yoga Nidra.

Pieces Of A “UFO” Fell From The Sky And Landed In Remote Cambodian Village

Residents of a small, remote Cambodian village were woken up to quite an unusual – and somewhat dangerous – surprise last week when pieces of metal were seen raining from the sky. At the time of publication, officials are still stumped as to what could be the cause, leading some to believe extraterrestrial forces could be behind the incident.

In a statement sent to IFLScience, residents of Preah Vihear Province said they heard a loud sound around 6am local time. They ran outside to find dozens of pieces of aluminum weighing more than 40 kilograms (88 pounds) striking homes and causing damage across a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) radius. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

”I heard a big noise in the morning. I was shocked and thought something bad had happened,” said villager Sok Nol. “When I went to look there was one big piece in a field and other smaller pieces around. We thought an airplane had crashed but there was no big engine.”

Residents collected the wreckage and reported it to police, who were unable to identify where it came from. Yin Chamnan, police chief of Preah Vihear, confirmed that rubble had been recovered in the village, continuing that regional police have not been able to pinpoint where the pieces came from. The case will now be handed over to a team of specialists.

Altogether, 17 pieces of aluminum and rubber reportedly fell from the sky. Viral Press

”We have found more than 17 fallen fragments of aluminum and rubber. But, we are continuing the search and are collecting further information from the people at the scene,” he said.

It has some thinking something out-of-this-world could be responsible.

”Now I think that it has come from space and landed in our village. It’s confusing because nobody knows what it is,” said Nol.

Chamnan, however, has a different explanation: ”Maybe these fragments are parts of a drone that someone flew. The parts were not relatively big,” he said.

Villages say they awoke to the sounds of metal dropping around 6 a.m. local time on October 25. Viral Press
It’s estimated the fragments weighed around 40 kilograms (88 pounds). Viral Press
The fallen fragments damaged buildings over a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) radius. Fortunately, nobody was injured. Viral Press

The fallen fragments damaged buildings over a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) radius. Fortunately, nobody was injured. Viral Press

 

By Madison Dapcevich

What is restore yoga and why do we need it? | acacia studios power vinyasa yoga studio in westlands, nairobi

When to listen to your body (maybe more than the instructor)

April 3, 2017

Are you new to yoga? Here’s what to know before your first yoga class…

December 22, 2015

Please, STOP comparing yourself to others in yoga class

Restore yoga provides us with an opportunity to disconnect from our hectic day-to-day lives and go inward, both in body and mind.  The purpose of the practice is to do exactly as it’s name suggests- restore the body- giving it a chance to rest and recover from all that life throws at us.

So what is it?

Although different types of restore yoga offer different physical benefits, like yin which stretches the fascia, or a full restorative yoga, with allows us to surrender to poses by using a variety of props and supports; all forms of restore yoga provide us with a chance to rest and relax and encourage mindfulness. Like other forms of yoga, we also link the breath to the body, thus bringing awareness to our quality of breath. All poses are held for 3 minutes or more and there is are ofter long moments of silent which allows time for introspection. We practice in stillness or gently move from one pose to another

Love quick paced yoga? Think restore yoga is not for you?

 The term yoga means to “yoke” or “unite”. Yoga is about finding balance of strength (sthira) and ease (sukha). Therefore, a restorative or meditative practice is as important as an active practice, as it contributes to balancing out all aspects of our being –physically, mentally and emotionally.

Not yet convinced?  Here are 10 reasons to practice restore yoga:

Slows you down- in the fast paced world (Nairobi!) this practice gives an opportunity to chill out

Calms the nervous system– with all the input we get now with smartphones, computers etc, our nervous system has difficulty calming- practicing in a dark, quiet room soothes our nervous system

Improves sleep – with a quiet nervous system, we learn to let the body relax thus leading us to better quality sleep

Builds Body Awareness- moving slowly from one pose to another helps us to become more aware and accepting of our bodies

Deepens Emotional Awareness– sometimes we hide or ignore our emotions, yet in a restore class, as we move inward, we develop a deeper understanding of, and maybe compassion for, our emotions

Encourages feelings of Safety and Security- as most restore poses are done on the ground, we connect with our root chakra, which is responsible for our feelings of safety and security

Improves alignment –holding poses for a longer amount of time allows us to see what feels right and what feel off, thus improving our alignment  

Builds patience- the slowness of the practice helps us to build patience with ourselves and others

Accessible to all- restore yoga is great for the elderly, injured athletes, pregnant women and those suffering from trauma

It’s like a vacation- the feeling of relaxation, ease, and calmness after a restore class will keep you come back for more! 

Ancient Aliens on Mars? Massive ‘bright sphere’ spotted by NASA satellite on Mars | Ancient Code

A Massive sphere—casting a large shadow onto the surface—has been found on the surface of Mars in an area where once a massive lake existed. Is this the ultimate evidence of ‘artificially’ created structures on Mars? 

Countless images of Mars show what many refer to as ‘countless mysteries’ on the surface of our neighboring planet.

As we explore new images sent back from NASA’s rovers and satellites on Mars, in some of them we encounter things that according to many shouldn’t be there—at least not if Mars is in fact a desolate planet which never had life.

However, a new image promises to change everything we thought we knew about the red planet: There is a massive sphere on the surface of Mars. The image, taken by NASA’s satellite orbiting Mars shows what appears to be a massive sphere on the surface of the planet.

The image, snapped by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows a massive structure on one of Mars’ ancient dried up lakes.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been carefully orbiting and studying Mars ever since entering orbit around the red planet in 2005.

The odd strcuture—which casts a large shadow on the surface of Mars—was spotted by Alien Hunters over at MarsMoonSpaceTV.

In a video uploaded by the group, UFO hunters zoom into the image seen on NASA’s website. The area pictured is a region on Mars where once—millions of years ago—a lake existed.

The odd structure—which according to many is the ultimate proof of a civilization in ruins—is located on the edge of a GIANT dried up lake that was once covered in water.

As SecrueTeam10 tells us: “The massive white spherical object is unmistakable.”

“As you look around the image you don’t see anything else like this and that’s why it stuck out like a sore thumb. From the shadow its casting I would have to say that this thing is not only large but it may have some height to it, so we may have a tower structure here.”

However, the ‘structure’ may not be as alien as many believe.

One ‘scientific’ explanation is that we are looking at a so-called Martian ‘spherule’.

Martian spherules (also known as blueberries due to their blue hue in false-color images released by NASA) are the abundant spherical hematite inclusions discovered by the Mars rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum on Mars. They are found in situ embedded in a sulfate salt evaporitic matrix, and also loose on the surface.

However,  as noted by national geographic, on Mars, most of the hematite rocks are about 0.16 inches (4 millimeters) in diameter, and no larger than 0.24 inches (6.2 millimeters). By contrast, Earth spherules exhibit a large range of sizes, not limited to only a quarter of an inch.

Dr. Hap McSween an Opportunity science team member from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has warned that “a number of straightforward geological processes can yield round shapes.”

What do you think this alleged structure really is? Is it just another massive rock on the surface of Mars? Or is it possible that this object—and countless others—are the ultimate evidence that Mars was once inhabited?

Why Tai Chi Is On My New Years Resolution List | RheumatoidArthritis.net

When I first heard about Tai Chi I was in my twenties and had just moved to a new city. Someone told me that it could help arthritis, and I wanted to get out of the house and meet some people so I decided to try it. Before I do any kind of exercise class I try to talk to the teacher to let them know about my fused wrists and movement limitations because in the past I’ve had teachers who try to correct me not knowing that what they are asking me to do is impossible. I called and talked to John, the instructor, and he told me that Tai Chi has been done for over a thousand years and can help with pain, stress, balance, and strength. Originally Tai Chi was a martial art practiced in China but over the years it has transformed into an exercise routine for the whole body, that utilizes the breath and visualization in order to create a walking meditation. The name Tai Chi Chuan, translates to Supreme Ultimate Exercise, and if you walk around any park in China you’ll see why. People of all ages and in different levels of health practice Tai Chi, and every one of them looks like they are slow dancing to a soundless tune.

Introduction to Tai Chi

My first Tai Chi class was a bit intimidating. The movements that look so easy and fluid take time to remember. For the entire hour we practiced the opening sequence which takes maybe twenty seconds. By the next week I’d forgotten most of what I learned and I realized quickly why John said it was important to practice. But my body loved it. Within a few weeks I felt steadier on my feet. I was riding a bicycle one day and I rode through a small gate that had always had to get off and walk before because I was afraid of falling or hitting it. I started sleeping better. And I felt stronger, both in my body and in my mind. Something about imagining I was a tiger when I was doing the tiger claw move made me feel like Rocky, stronger than I knew! I became hooked and was an avid Tai Chi student for the next few years until I moved to another state.

Since then, I’ve taken more Tai Chi classes, and branched out by trying Qi Gong as well, which is similar to Tai Chi, but more focused on moving Chi, or life force according to Chinese medicine, through the body in order to influence healing. There have been hospitals in China that utilize Qi Gong as a healing modality and when I’ve done it I have experienced a similar overall relaxation and improved balance that Tai Chi gives me. The one difference I’ve found for me is that since Tai Chi is more dynamic, it helps my pain more than Qi Gong, which you do standing in one position for the whole time.

If you are interested in looking into Tai Chi for yourself I’d suggest looking up a man named Paul Lam, an Australian physician who began to practice Tai Chi after he was diagnosed with arthritis and found it made a dramatic difference in his pain. He went on to develop a program called Tai Chi For Health, and has specific programs for arthritis, fall prevention, and osteoporosis. If you look on his website:https://taichiforhealthinstitute.org/about-us/ you can even search for a certified instructor near you, or if you are lucky enough to live near Portland, Oregon, you can attend a workshop with Dr. Lam himself in June of next year. I had the pleasure of meeting him about fifteen years ago when he taught a class in m small town of Durango, Colorado and it was well worth the time and expense. Or just go to your local community center and ask if they have any programs there, because often they will. There are different Tai Chi styles, some more martial art oriented, and some more focused on general health but all of them will give you similar benefits.

I doubt I would have done Tai Chi if RA wasn’t a part of my life, but one of the many things that life with rheumatoid arthritis does for a person is to make them try things they never would have imagined doing otherwise. And it’s a lot more fun than most other things I’ve tried. So this year, starting a Tai Chi class again is my number one resolution. Maybe it can be yours too!

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Star Signs + Strains: March 2019 Horoscopes | Leafly

Buckle up, stargazers! Mercury enters its first retrograde of 2019 on March 5th, and it will stay there almost the entire month, going direct on March 28th. This transit is going to ask us to look deep within and see what it is that’s been holding us back. Not just on the surface, but really underneath. Like when you finally clean under your couch cushions and find that earring you lost in 2001. That’s the depth we’re talking about here.

The theme for March is: In My Feelings.

Uranus moves into Taurus this month on March 6th, where it will stay for the next six years. Any stale ways of being, both on a personal and global level, will be challenged. This can be a volatile time, especially when the energy of Taurus craves stability, but this is only happening so we can move into better and more compassionate ways of being.

Venus will begin the month in freaky Aquarius before moving into super-freaky Pisces, so expect the unexpected in your relationships. The new moon in Pisces on March 6th will help lessen the Mercury retrograde blow, and the universe bestows upon us the dreamy gift of balance with a full moon in Libra on March 20th.

Bottom line? March may feel like a Lifetime movie. And we’ll get through it, together.

Happy Birthday, you tender dreamer! Mercury has been moving directly through your sign since early February, and you’ve likely felt an uncommon ability to express yourself clearly as a result. That could all come crumbling down on March 5th, when Mercury stations retrograde in your sign, and you could become tangled up in an identity crisis of sorts as you begin to question everything and everyone around you.

Don’t fall for the trickster energy Mercury retrograde likes to stir up. The new moon in your sign on March 6th is a good day to release old fears so you can go into this retrograde period free of unnecessary baggage.

When Venus moves into your sign on March 26th, a soul connection should come to your rescue exactly when you need it. You want to believe, and there’s no better time like the present.

March Strain: We can’t see those new shimmery scales you’ve been working hard to develop ’til you are ready to shed the old. There is no better time than your personal new year to let this transition take place. Pineapple Kush, a lovely hybrid, rocks a generous ratio of THC to CBD and sweet aromas of pineapple with accents of caramel and butter. It makes for one tasty birthday strain, and its combo of mild body and cerebral highs will help you keep an even keel as you begin this new transformative period. Compliments on your newfound shine will be April’s bounty.

Beware this Mercury retrograde, firestarter. If ever there was a good time to pause before you express yourself, it’s this month. Mercury retrograde moves through unpredictable and watery Pisces, so the opportunities for you to say the wrong thing will increase. The silver lining is that if you can hang on until March 20th, the sun will enter your sign and you’ll get a little fiery love from the cosmos.

Do not force things this month. We repeat, do not force things this month. Make like a cat and nap. Your abilities to rest and show restraint will reap hearty rewards.

March Strain: In order to wield your forces for the good of the universe, we encourage imbibing in a little Yoda OG. Known for its ability to decrease anxiety and stimulate relaxation and appetite, this heavy indica boasts a rich citrus flavor, and much like Yoda himself, a surprisingly small dose can knock you out. May the force be with you.

Uranus enters your sign on March 6th, where it will stay for the next six years. Uranus is a planet of combustion, electricity, innovation, and change. Along with Mercury stationing retrograde in unstable Pisces for most of the month, March will test your boundaries.

What can you do? Trust that this energy is productive and encourages you to lean into whatever transformation is available. The full moon in Venusian sister Libra on March 20th could bring you much-needed respite from the strife, so be open to giving yourself a treat.

March Strain: Combustion, innovation, and change are positive forces if you let them be. Take on this six-year period by accepting your cosmic shake-up and running with it. Treat yourself well and often with goodies like Himalayan Gold, a happy, uplifting, and creative hybrid internationally known for its buzz that starts in the body and moves to the brain. Notes of chocolate and pepper, and a pungent aroma are also notable in this mild strain.

Your ruling planet stations retrograde on March 5th in watery, emotive Pisces where it’s been since early February. You may have found yourself struggling with your emotions or difficult memories from your past, and it’s only going to get more intense with this retrograde.

The good news is that these things come up so you can move through them—but only if you show up and avoid disassociating. Focusing will be a challenge, but harness some of the cosmic balancing energy from the full moon in Libra on March 20th, and you’ll come out of this retrograde having slain some demons and feeling lighter overall.

March Strain: Good news Twins! Both sides of your nature are about to receive universal reprieve. You’ve held your ground through a lot of messiness the past few months, and it lifts with the next full moon. There is hardly a strain as focused and feel-good as hybrid Purple Arrow. As its name implies, this straight shooter keeps your mind in the game while your anxiety melts. Earthy, sweet, and woody, its smell and taste serve as a reward for your previous struggles this year. Enjoy this hybrid all day long as it’s a mellower smoke.

You’re always in your feelings, but with Mercury stationing retrograde in fellow weepy water sign Pisces on March 5th, you could easily be swept out to sea if you don’t plan ahead with a life raft of sorts. Our advice? Let that life raft be self-love and self-appreciation. Make a list of all the things that set you on fire about yourself before March 5th and refer to it when things feel like a tsunami later in the month.

The new moon in Pisces on March 6th is a smart time to get rid of bad vibes you’ve obsessed over. If it doesn’t make you happy, it isn’t worth your time and energy. Practice letting go. There’s some juicy magic on the horizon.

March Strain: It’s time to Marie Kondo your emotional house, Cancer. If “juicy magic” isn’t an enticing enough cosmic reward, what is? Take advantage of this decree and love yourself ‘til it hurts, little crab. Use Marie’s method for every thought you ponder this month and if it doesn’t bring you positivity and joy … Let it go. Spend the month happy, creative, and relaxed with Blue Goo, a hybrid known for a smooth berry taste and all-day usability. With parentage derived from Afgoo and ever-popular Blue Dream, this sturdy strain smooths out moods and relaxes the body in an enjoyable buzz.

The first fire season of 2019 is just around the corner when the sun enters Aries on March 20th, so hang in there, kitten! Mercury retrograde in moody and murky Pisces is going to do its best to trip you up, but if you can use your on-brand, elevated self-esteem for good this month, you’ll be able to stay on track and rise above any retrograde-related obstacles.

Venus will be in extroverted Aquarius beginning on March 1st, which could spell adventure time for your lust life. Listen more than you speak this month, and you’ll sparkle your way into some exciting situations.

March Strain: Remember you’re a fierce creature this month, lion. Let that mane blow in the March breeze and let retrograde roll right off that gorgeous fur. Your lusty, luxury-loving self is going to make the best of the cosmic chaos. Cherry Skunk is your personal prescription. A palate of sweetness, berries, and earth combined with a happy, euphoric relaxation and boost of creativity make this a Leo treat you’ll be adding to your recreational regime.

Your detail-oriented, organizational nature will be provoked this month when your ruling planet Mercury stations retrograde in expansive, unstable Pisces, so practice non-attachment where possible. Uranus moving into fellow earth sign Taurus won’t do you any favors either, as it challenges you to embrace change and surrender to the unknown.

You can’t control everything, and that’s okay. Sometimes it’s good for your status quo to get shaken up. What else is out there for you in the universe? Be open to the mystery.

March Strain: Few star signs will experience this retrograde like you this month. No one is as hard on you as you are. Self-care and opening up to the wonder of the unknown is the best shield for what gets thrown your way. Lemon Thai stimulates the more cerebral aspects of the smoking experience allowing users to feel introspective, focused, and thoughtful. Featuring a pleasant lemon taste with notes of additional citrus and tea, this stress-free sativa keeps your mood lifted and spirits bright during a tumultuous month.

The month begins with Venus in fellow air sign Aquarius, which means your flirty and charming nature could earn you some hot hookup opportunities. Think outside the box and get ready to be dazzled. When in doubt, use that trademark (over) active imagination!

Mercury retrograde in Pisces could try to throw some shade and confusion your way, but the energy available to you from the full moon in your sign on March 20th and your natural ability to weigh all options before moving forward will save you.

March Strain: Energy, calm, and focused creativity are essential to keeping those scales balanced during one of the universe’s most challenging periods. The full moon is your guide and stabilizing force. A hybrid like Blue Widow (a.k.a. Berry White, White Berry, or Blue Venom) with its heavy notes of earth, blueberry, and pine make consumption a pleasure. Best used in doses, Blue Widow can have effects ranging from a mild buzz to a sleep aid depending on the amount of consumption.

When Mercury stations retrograde in Pisces on March 5th, you could get tangled up in some sticky webs. You’re an expert at playing games and hoarding secrets, but if you’re not paying attention to who you’re spilling what to, some wires are bound to get crossed. Don’t fall into the Mercury retrograde trap!

With Venus in unpredictable Aquarius for the first three weeks of the month, this trap could very well revolve around your romantic liaisons. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s or prepare for the unraveling. With the right amount of prep you won’t sting yourself.

March Strain: It might be your nature to swing that tail when things get out of sorts. To deal with Mercury’s mischief this month, you’ll need a canna boost that soothes your body and mellows your mind. Fire Alien Kush, a hearty hybrid known for heavy resin production and a lofty buzz, is a happy, euphoric, creative strain that keeps you in a state of well-being and awareness. Dankness (along with earthiness and wood notes) is a notable trademark of F.A.K. so proceed accordingly.

Venus enters kindred adventurer Aquarius on March 1st, so don’t be surprised if your love life and/or close friendships get exciting for the first part of the month. You’re going to feel ultra-stimulated and inspired by your loved ones during this period, but don’t forget that Mercury will also be moving retrograde in watery Pisces at the same time.

Opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstandings that could kill the mood are at an all-time high. We know you like to be blunt, but it could easily be misconstrued as unwanted meanness. Use those Sag smarts to your advantage. This month practice restraint. Or, better yet, gratitude.

March Strain: This will be a month that requires smart self-medicating. Keeping yourself in a state to receive and give the best of you is no easy task. Rest will be key. The wise archer doesn’t want to shoot themselves in the foot or a loved one in the heart. Pink Kush, an indica-dominant hybrid is near candy-like in its palate. Sweetness, vanilla, florals, and earth accompany a gorgeous bud with glistening pink hairs, making this as attractive to view as it is to smoke. Let it be the first thing you are grateful for this month.

Uranus moves into fellow earth angel Taurus on March 6th and this could be a buzzkill for your love of tradition, stability, and tried-and-true systems. Uranus is going to ask you over the next six years to live a little or a lot. Release some of your more rigid ways and embrace spontaneity. Be curious what you might discover about yourself if you can loosen your grip and your expectations about your personal reality.

Our tip? Take a dance class or do some yoga flow. Self-expansion should be your goal this month and beyond.

March Strain: The potential new you is looking bright and beautiful. Polish those horns, practice overabundant self-love, and the next six years will be your most productive to date. Earth elements will enhance your development and hybrid Dr. Who, boasting heavy earth (along with berry and grape) notes, will be most beneficial. Be relaxed and uplifted when taking on yoga, dance or new movement, and creative tasks. Your energy flow and positive new vibes will be absolutely contagious.

Venus enters your sign on March 1st, so expect things to get a little spicy and unpredictable in your romantic interludes this month. Mercury stationing retrograde in imaginative and freaky Pisces could have positive implications for you if you lean into the weirdness of it all. Don’t be married to a specific outcome or series of events and you will be rewarded.

The good news is that you’re here for it, whatever it is, so practice surrendering to the flow of the universe and prepare to have your mind blown.

March Strain: Openness invites sexy fun this month, so swim in those warm and delicious waters while they last. You are one of the few signs that will not be wrecked by retrograde fishy friends. Celebrations are in order. Tasty indica Wonder Woman OG is a tingly, euphoric smoke flavored with mint, tobacco, and citrus that will prep you for accepting the new libidinous surprises that await.