InSpire | Monthly InSpirations by Fiona

InSpire - November 2013

“Empty your cup and sweep the mat”

“Yoga” is a buzzword that is gathering momentum in our society, as we all seek simpler ways to handle day-to-day stress, and also to find a way to be healthy, happy and more balanced physically, mentally and emotionally.
Riding on the wave of the yoga-buzzword is “meditation”. A term most of us are familiar with - for some a daily practice, for others an illusive term that might conjure up some idea of inner peace and enlightenment, which might seem unobtainable and/or purely frustrating when attempting to sit and be still.

So, what is meditation and how do we practice it? How can we dive into this sitting stillness and achieve benefit?

Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It’s called meditation.” – Jonathan Haidt from The Happiness Hypothesis.

Ten Ideas from Brian Johnson on starting to meditate, plus comments from me in brackets:
  1. Pick a reason why (see paragraph above).
  2. Commit and make it 100% (e.g daily).
  3. Start simple (e.g 5 - 10 minutes/day).
  4. Don’t be a hero in the beginning (distractions are normal!).
  5. Sit with Dignity (long spine, soft neck).
  6. Pick an Anchor (eg. the breath).
  7. Say, “Oh, well!” (don’t search for the feel-good factor, expect everything and nothing).
  8. Brush your brain (let stuff come up, & watch it without judging. It is a clearing out).
  9. Work diligently, patiently and persistently (don’t beat yourself up when you miss a day).
  10. All Life is Meditation (be attentive to your breath in your daily life. Smile often).

What are we observing and practicing on and off our mat this month?
Find a simple yoga practice that opens you up, calms you down and invites the body to be naturally still. The mind will follow. When the “cup” of the mind is full and the body is tight, it is difficult to sit still. So, empty the cup and sweep under the mat, then...Commit to sit....

Find a mantra or sound you love and sing it.


InSpire - October 2013

Time for Immune boosters! What are the options other than taking vitamins? Some ideas to consider....
“Even thinking about helping others boosts our health. Psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard University had a group of students watch a film about Mother Teresa’s work in the slums of Calcutta. Sit and watch was all they did, but later tests revealed that students responded to the film physically, with an increase in immunoglobulin A, an antibody that defends against certain diseases.” ~ Craig & Marc Kielburger

“Simply WATCHING someone serve others boosts people’s immune system. That’s pretty amazing.

Reminds me of an Idea from Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention (see Notes) where he describes the fact that serotonin (the happiness hormone/neurotransmitter) is activated in your body when you do something nice for someone. AND serotonin is released in the body of the person for whom you did the kind act. AND (!!!) it’s released in the body of someone who happens to watch you do the kind act.

Amazing. It’s almost as if nature wired us to be kind and contribute to our community. So, let’s get out and get our kindness and service on and experience the joyful by-product of an improved immune system, a shot of serotonin and the knowledge that we’re playing a role in making the world a better place!” Brian Johnson, En*theos

How can we take this idea to our yoga mat? First, let’s reconnect to the idea of “vinyasa”.

“Sri Krishnamacharya defined vinyasa as any cycle with a beginning, middle or end, the intelligent unfolding of a sequence in practice, life or nature...From this definition, our life is a maha vinyasa from our one cell state of embodiment as the starting point to the release of our last exhalation. Vinyasa is the cycle or waves that compromise our life.” Shiva Rea

We are embodied in this flow every minute or our lives, on and off the mat. On the mat we are offered the opportunity to be fully present and aware of the factors contributing to encouraging this flow or disrupting it. Vinyasa is the flow or connection of one moment and/or movement to another, and yoga (a verb, to unify) is the link or the joining of whatever was disjointed. To bring it together, we need Rasa, the juice or flavor. “Life is full of juice, savor each moment”. (Shiva Rea). May be this is our ultimate vitamin booster for the autumn?!

What are we observing and practicing on and off our mat this month?
Serve others.
Pranayama: 9 clearing rounds.

Mantra: Bija Mantra.