Inspire | Monthly InSpirations by Fiona

InSpire - June 2013

What and where is the illusive Mind? How can we identify with it in such a way as to integrate it positively into our daily lives without it controlling us and keeping us trapped in negative thought forms?

“In the largest sense, your mind is made up by your brain, body, natural world, and human culture - as well as by the mind itself...The mind and brain interact with each other so profoundly that they’re best understood as a single, co-dependent, mind/brain system.
When your mind changes, your brain changes too. Thus, you can use your mind to change your brain for the better - which will benefit your whole being, and every other person whose life you touch.
More than two thousand years ago, a young man named Siddhartha - not yet enlightened, not yet called the Buddha - spent many years training his mind and thus his brain. On the night of his awakening, he looked deep inside his mind (which reflected and revealed the underlying activities of his brain) and saw there both the causes of suffering and the path to freedom from suffering. Then, for forty years, he wandered northern India, teaching all who would listen how to:

* Cool the fires of greed and hatred to live with integrity
* Steady and concentrate the mind to see through its confusions
* Develop liberating insight

In short, he taught virtue, mindfulness (also called concentration), and wisdom.
These are the three pillars of the Buddhist practice, as well as the wellsprings of everyday well-being, psychological growth, and spiritual realization.
Virtue simply involves regulating your actions, words, and thoughts to create benefits rather than harms for yourself and others.
Mindfulness involves the skillful use of attention to both your inner and outer worlds.
Wisdom is applied common sense, which you acquire in two steps. First, you come to understand what hurts and what helps - in other words, the causes of suffering and the path to its end.Then, based on this understanding, you let go of those things that hurt and strengthen those that help. As a result, over time you’ll feel more connected with everything, more serene about how all things change and end, and more able to meet pleasure and pain without grasping after one and struggling with the other.”

Above extracts from Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson & Richard Mendius

What are we observing and practicing on and off our mat this month?
Compassion for Self and Others
Internalizing the positive

The Great Gayatri Mantra - embodying this compassion through sound....

“We meditate on the glory of the creator, who has created the universe, who is worthy of worship, who is the embodiment of knowledge and light, who is the remover of all ignorance. May he/she enlighten our intellect. Known as the Universal Mantra, as this mantra does not belong to any religion or any country - it belongs to the whole universe. You are representing the whole of humanity when you chant this mantra.”

om bhur bhuvah svah
om tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yonah prachodayat


InSpire - April 2013

InSpire - April 2013

What can we reap from the word “inspire”?
Stimulate: motivate, cause, incline, persuade, encourage, influence, rouse, move, stir, spur (on), goad, energize, galvanize, incite, impel, animate, fire the imagination of, fire with enthusiasm, inspirit, incentivize.
Give rise to: lead to, result in, bring about, cause, be the cause of, prompt, produce, spawn, engender, be the inspiration for.
Arouse: awaken, prompt, cause, induce, ignite, trigger, kindle, produce, generate, bring out, give rise to, sow the seeds of.

I discovered that there is so much about yoga that I found embodied in this word “inspire”, and so it came to be...
Each month I would like to offer an “InSpire”, to encourage myself to be more present, as well as contribute a small offering to the yoga community around me.

The Mindful Path...embodying the breath...
At the moment, I see the spiritual path as a process for self-exploration, self-acceptance, and self-transformation. We are led by each breath and each movement we make, not only on the mat, but more importantly what is happening off the mat, in our daily lives.
We are continuously being affected by our physical, mental and emotional “beingness”, as well as by society and the environment surrounding us.
“Cultivating a gradual, simple, expanding awakening in this process of self-transformation revolves around continuously coming back to a sense of samasthihi - equanimity of body, breath, mind, and spirit.” Mark Stephens

We need to embody in our bodies well, using our practice and the breath, observing ourselves in a non-judgmental way. Once the body is relaxed, balanced and quiet, we can open-up in the heart centre, invite quietness in the mind, and appreciate the path just as it is.

I appreciate the way Sarah Powers writes, so instead of attempting to rephrase good words, I will share hers:
Prana means life force, and yama means to enhance or to alter. Pranayama is a practice that enhances our pranic vitality and concentration skills by altering the three aspects of breathing; the inhalation (puraka), the exhalation (rechaka), and the pause (kumbhaka). It is a wonderful prelude to meditation because it calms and steadies the mind. It also helps clear blockages in the meridians, expels toxins from the blood, and rids the lungs of stale air. The rhythmic internal pressure stimulates the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid, bringing refined energy to the brain cells and glands, encouraging the center of the brain to work nearer to its optimal capacity, and the whole body is nourished by the extra supply of oxygen that is absorbed while carbon dioxide is efficiently expelled.”

What are we observing and practicing on and off our mat this month?
Breath awareness

“Lokha Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu”
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

May all beings be free from suffering; may all beings be happy. May the thoughts, words and actions of my life contribute in some way to this happiness for all.