Thursday, December 20, 2018

Winter Solstice - A Calling Back to the Light!

Winter Solstice - A Calling Back to the Light!
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Welcome! 
     The winter solstice is a time of deepening and calling back to the light. It is one of the most powerful turning points of the year when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the sun. It is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the  shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.

     At this auspicious time of the year, we can attune to the energy of the earth that begins to pull inward. Nature contracts and pulls downward. As the seasons turn, we can find a quiet time to draw into our center, exploring our higher self, and connecting with our spirit. Just as the earth settles this time of year, we can let ourselves settle. We can mindfully turn within and welcome the peace it brings and the love that accompanies it.

     Acknowledge the depth of this time in your life and the planet we live on. Use the power of the Divine Universe to give you courage for the next steps. Listen and hear guidance to accept everything just the way it is.

 
Elevate Your Consciousness!

Mary Jane
 

Waking Well

During the winter season we are surrounded by more darkness. Without the darkness there would be no light. Take this time to retreat inward and restore your energy. Here are a few simple ways to do that.

1. Wake early and reconnect with your bodily cycles (circadian rhythms).  You may find there's extra time before breakfast to do some worthwhile meditation.

2. Draw insights from dreams when you wake up while they are still fresh. Follow your intuition with the symbols that show up. Keep a diary to record your dreams so that you can review them later in the day or week.

3. Immediately upon waking, think about how you can bring joy to another person. Practice Metta or loving friendliness towards others. This is an extraordinary frequency to begin your day.

4. Engage all five senses as soon as you awaken. The sight of sunlight or darkness, the sound of birdsong, the feel of a towel, the taste of your breakfast, the wafting smell of coffee or tea brewing.


5. Say a morning prayer giving thanks for a new day, your family, friends, health and happiness.
 


        Create a Power Grid of Crystals
This is a wonderful way to lift the energy within your environment especially this time of the year when the energy moves inward and downward. You can create a simple offering tray of assorted crystals and keep it in the area where you meditate and pray, or you can place them around your home. Stones and crystals are energetically aligned to the southwest, northeast and center points.

It's a great idea to bless and clear your stones prior to placing them in the home. You can do this by leaving them outdoors during a full moon, sunrise, or rain/snow event. Set prayerful intentions over the stones, and then place them on your tray offering, or in the aforementioned points of your environment. 

 
 

Celebrating Light During the Winter Solstice:


Throughout time people have celebrated the light of the sun. Special ceremonies to honor the time of the solstice and equinox mark not only the movement of the sun, but the inherent cycles within spiritual and physical life.

The astronomical events of the Solstices corresponds to our own rhythms helping us to understand what to focus on in the ever-changing cycles of life. They are powerful points in time to celebrate the light and consciously expand.

The changing seasons are associated with the key points within the human life cycle. The winter solstice has a direct correlation with seeking higher states of consciousness through meditation. Expanding your consciousness increases your vibration so healing at every level can take place.

 


Celebrating:

Just as the seasons move through cycles, there are peaks and lows in the spiritual human journey. There are times to create, move forward and share, and there are times to rest, retreat and nurture self. This is the time to pull in, listen more than speak, be flexible and contemplate life just as it is now.

This time of year is a natural way to reconnect with life's Divine plan and to feel a deep connection with self and others. Honor and celebrate your unique spiritual path while living as a human being.

There are many ways you can celebrate the Solstice from gathering with friends and family, taking a spiritual retreat, attending a candlelight meditation ceremony, engaging with nature, sitting around a campfire, star gazing, spending time with elders and listening to the wisdom they have to share. This list can go on and on. The idea is to engage in an activity that resonates with you internally.

 


The Ebb and Flow of Your Yoga Practice:

Beatles Ashram Rishikesh, India


The length of the day, the span of the year, the duration of a life, the blossoming and decay of a flower; your yoga practice mirrors the rhythm of these cyclical changes. Every time you practice yoga your experience is different from every other time you have practiced. You have your favorite poses and sequences, but consider the fact that we grow and change as individuals every day and in every moment. This means that everything is new each time we do it, including our yoga practice. What we may have loved one day on our mat, we dislike the next day. You may be drawn to an intense yoga practice, and then your tastes may shift and you prefer a more yin practice. Like nature, and like you, your yoga practice can fluctuate and grow to surprise you over time.

Like the peaceful warrior, when the work is done, we can rest and seek the journey within. 


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Monday, December 17, 2018

Laughter

Having Fun Beatles Ashram Rishikesh, India


English Poet, Algernon Charles Swinburne in his poem "Laughter," compares the  most beautiful natural sounds of our world to the sound of a child's laughter, and concluded they may be half as sweet. 

This is actually a perfect time of the year to cultivate the habit of laughter.  Energetically, the element of water will peak on the winter solstice. This element is associated with the second chakra (Svadhistana), that corresponds with your inner child. You can naturally let yourself be a little crazy, it lightens up your life. And if people ask what you're on, tell them, "I'm on endorphins!"

The winter solstice celebrates the power of spirit, simple joys, faith, vision, and patience. As the earth pulls in, so too should you. Listen, laugh, play and rest. Spend time observing children interacting with one another. You'll notice how frequently they laugh as they play. You'll also notice they take  naps and rest so they can renew their energy. In contrast, adults tend to be serious, rush frantically around, stressing ourselves with activity when we really need to lighten up and get some rest.

This time of year try to make a conscious effort to invite as many fun things that will provoke laughter as you can into your life. Go to a concert, comedy club, or play some games. All these kinds of activities will help you rekindle the healing effect of laughter in your life. Take time to rest too. Nature teaches us that resting, drawing inward for a time, is present in all living things. Rest is necessary for growth to come later in the season.

Om!
Mary Jane - Feng Shui Yoga Girl - www.fengshuiyoganj.com


Monday, December 10, 2018

My MInd To Me a Kingdom Is

Rishikesh, India


My Mind To Me a Kingdom Is, was written by Sir Edward Dyer, a sixteenth-century poet. The poem is about the potency of the mind. The poet describes the comfort of detaching from everything, including your body , and being in the kingdom of a quiet mind. Think about it for a moment the power of your mind. You can't see it or touch it, yet it is always with you, guiding and directing everything about your life. This is your kingdom, and you can use in any situation. It is your corner of freedom, a place that only you has control over. This is the power and wonder of the invisible mind. 

In Sir Dyer's poem there is a passage that refers to craving; "Yet still my mind forbids to crave." You and only you possess the power of choice. There is nothing outside you to blame for your cravings. Go inside the invisible mind, this powerful kingdom within yourself and ask your mind to serve the highest good for all concerned.

The need to acquire more in life and seek the approval of others is not imposed on us but rather a choice we decide to make. The poet tells the reader there are many who have more than they need and yet crave more: "They are poor, though much they have, and I am rich with little store." He goes on to say how those who seek more, although they have plenty live in agony, never seeming to be satisfied; "They lack, I leave; they pine, I live."

Your mind is your kingdom willing to give you a lifetime of peace. You have the choice to change your mind and create a life giving rather than a life of lacking. We all have the freedom to choose peace. When fear creeps in, it is coming from the outside, not from the kingdom of your mind. It is how you choose to use the information in your mind that determines your life.

The poem tells you to stop placing so much emphasis on your desires, the endless game of measuring up to the outside worldly demands and to turn inward instead. Your mind controls all of your experiences in life, including your health. Change your thoughts and change your life.

Simple Practices:

You can practice mind control by choosing to change your thoughts. For example, if you find yourself reacting in a negative way, catch yourself and try a new way of thinking.

  • Spend some time in daily meditation and experience the kingdom of your mind. Don't worry about thoughts floating in and out, the mind will do that. Just simply acknowledge it and move towards the rhythm of your breath.
  • Remind yourself that nothing outside of you can disturb your peace. Only you have controlover your mind. Choose to use your mind as your kingdom.
  • Keep this last passage of the poem in a place you can read it often: "Thus do I live; thus will I die: would all did so well as I."

You are the king of your inner domain!

Om,

Mary Jane - Feng Shui Yoga Girl - www.fengshuiyoganj.com

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Golden Key

Fatehpur Sikri, India


Your spirit is the Golden Key to everything. Never be swayed from your true spirituality. It is beautiful, blessed, loving, and filled with all goodness.

Carry this key with you wherever you go, press it into your chest, and feel the beauty of its essence. It is truth, love, God and all that exists. Carry this golden key of knowledge with you, knowing you can reach the heights of spirituality anytime you wish. There are no certain times of the day when you can tap into this awesome energy. God is available anytime you wish. He resides not only in you but outside you.

Fatehpur Sikri, is the palace and spiritual center built by Moghul Emperor Akbar. It represents his view of peace through unifying the religions of India. The twin villages of Fetehpur and Sikri were established as a tribute to the famous Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chrishti. The saint accurately predicted the birth of Emperor Abkar's much longed for son.

The palace complex combines Islamic, Hindu and Christian architecture, reflective of the religions of Abkar's three wives. Throughout Abkar's life he was exposed to texts on philosophy, history, religion and science. As a result, he instituted a highly efficient bureaucracy appointing military governors over the various religions. The result was a unification of the people of India in his empire that would survive until 1868.

Although Abkar's family was Sunni, two of his childhood tutors were Persian Shias. As an Emperor, Abkar made the Sufi concept of Sulh - e- Kuhl, or "peace to all," a founding principle of his law. This was the golden key to his success.




No matter what your belief system, hold firm to your spirituality. This is the key to lasting peace!

Om!
Mary Jane - Feng shui yoga girl: www.fengshuiyoganj.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Spirit of India - Plus Energy Patterns for December 2018!

Spirit of India!
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Welcome! 
     Recently I returned from a yoga retreat to India. Some of the unforgettable experiences of this trip included spending an afternoon with Babakishor under a Banyan tree, walking, shopping and meditating along the banks of the Ganges, being surrounded by the extraordinary sights and vibrations of the high Himalayas, spiritual power emanating from age-old sacred temples and generated by our own group through yoga, chanting and meditation. Climbing the Boothnath temple, visiting the Beatles Ashram, attending the celebrated Ganga Aarti and Satsang, giving back to the locals, our excurion to Vashitha Cave, Agra Fort - Fatepur Sikri, and the Taj Mahal.

     India was a trip like no other. Being part of a group of like-minded people was a strong confirmation of how connected our spiritual journey is.

     In this newsletter enjoy short blogs from my trip and the upcoming energy for the month of December! 

Elevate Your Consciousness!

Mary Jane

Selfless Service

India was an adventure like no other. The combination of beauty, spirituality, loud noises, colorful clothing, wafting smells, dirt and poverty was a fusion of opposing forces in every way.

India is referred to as "the Mother." She nurtures, inspires, and teaches us to live our yoga. It is through personal development and spiritual evolution we are able to recognize our blessings and be grateful for them.

In the holy city of Rishikesh, located along the Ganges and surrounded by the Himalayas, is where our group practiced Yoga, Meditation, the Law of Attraction and SEVA.  Read more...



 Babakishor
This is Babakishor. He lives under a Banyan tree along the Ganges. We spent the afternoon at his home (under the tree), as he shared divine wisdom in his native tongue. Albeit we had a translator, the vibration of his words seem to tell the story without language barriers.

Babakishor is referred to as a Puja.
Puja in Sanskrit means that which is born out of fullness and completeness. It is to express a heart that which is overflowing with so much gratitude and joy, that Puja (Pooja) is done. It is said when such a feeling arises within us, then some action inevitably gets linked with it also. We express our love towards each other by doing some sort of action. In the same way, when a devotee is so in love with the Divine, he wishes to do something or give something to the Divine. Essentially, whatever we receive from the Divine, we offer it back to him innocently and playfully.

Babakishor demonstrated his devotion to the Divine through his words and actions.  We watched him return the money we donated for him and serve us the snacks that were meant for him. As if that wasn't enough, he sent us off with homemade chai tea on his make-shift outdoor stove.

Babakishor is also described as a Sadhu, a Sanskrit word for "accomplished." It is a way of life in Hinduism that renounces the world of asceticism. The path of the Sadhu is one of a holy man. Babakishor imparted his words of wisdom to follow the path of righteousness.

Before parting ways, Babakishor demonstrated a yoga pose. With the grace of a swan, he lifted his leg and placed it behind his head. He began moving his arms like a bird in flight. This is the vision he left us with, as if to remember to ride the wings of our spirit. 


 


Energy Patterns for the Month of December:

First Phase: Yang Wood over the Water Rat
"Aarti Offering to Ganges"

The month of December holds wood over water. These two elements work in a sheng cycle whereby the Rat  water branch fuels the heavenly stem of wood. Water is in its prosperity point this month. Therefore, it behooves you to be more introspective, measured, adaptable, resourceful and flexible.

Water relates to the kidneys and the emotion of fear. There is a tendency for vulnerability to the kidney/urinary bladder system this month in addition to feelings of angst. Breathing techniques to relax the mind, and activities such as swimming or yoga to keep the joints supple, bode well for this month.

There is a direct correlation with career and long-term plan of action. This is the time to ponder your direction, With the element of wood in the heavenly position, there is a natural tendency to create and act on your new ideas. However, this time of year wood is in stage 2 and needs care. Think of it as a new born baby needing assistance with everything. How does this translate into everyday life? Take your time with your ideas/creations and nurture them before sharing with others.

The combination (wood/rat) is progressive and success oriented. There is a tendency to explore everything this month and find good use for almost anything. This energy combination is terrific when it comes to corporate systems and making them work for you. Set your priorities and work hard to achieve your aims. Security is important and why the underlying theme this month is to determine your long term plan. The wood element this month can show up as stiffness in joints/musculature, and or liver and gallbladder vulnerability.



Phase 2 Energy Pattern for December

Boothnath Temple Rishikesh, India
The trigram Xun rotates into the central position of the loshu grid this month. 
In nature, this trigram represents the gentle breeze of late spring. It is receptive, as it is associated with yin or female energy. Essentially, the hard work is already done by its male counterpart (Zhen). Therefore, keep your focus on how you can eventually promote your ideas and realize the benefits they can potentially bring. Spend time nurturing your ideas. Treat them like your baby and then watch them grow and mature.  

Xun trigram also represents fortunate blessings – all those things we are grateful for and continue to want in our life. This includes material aspects such as cars, home, clothing, etc. It is important we practice an attitude of gratitude and give freely. Such behavior increases the energy frequency around us generating more blessings. 

Xun is indirectly associated with relationships. Therefore, it is important to nurture those around you this month. Make a concerted effort to spend quality time with friends and family.  Plan something special and enjoy every moment. This trigram is associated with the hips, thighs and pelvic area. Be mindful of these body parts, as they can  be vulnerable this month.

Beatles Ashram Rishikesh, India

Other Areas of Attention:

The energy is strong in three additional aspects this month:

1. Resources are readily available to you this month as long as your vision matches your soul's mission.Take time to create a vision board and keep your energy in alignment with it. During meditations this month, see yourself already accomplishing your desires. See it, feel it and know it is already yours!


2. Listen carefully to partner when it comes to long-term planning for career/life journey. Include those closest to you in the process, as their advice is invaluable. Be willing to be flexible and mindful of how you take this advice. Employ good organizational skills and think things through before proceeding.

3. Keep the ideas flowing this month when it comes to your career. Make certain they are in complete alignment with your highest mission. This is the way to ultimate success. Remain grounded and organized for best results.




Yoga Poses and Foods This Month:

  Beatles Ashram Rishikesh, India

With double wood and water fueling, fire is needed to balance the flow. There will be a natural tendency to want to flow like water in your yoga practice this month and that is fine. However, to keep the cycle of flow moving and balanced, fire is needed. Check in with poses that will stimulate manipura (solar plexus) to build heat (agni) and restore balance.

  • Plank Pose
  • Warrior 3
  • Bow Pose
  • Boat Pose
  • Sun Salutations A & B
  • Seated Twists
  • Bellows Breath
Foods for Balance:

Water Foods: Fish, chestnuts, carrots, cabbage, sea vegetables


Wood Foods:  Squash, beans, cucumbers, strawberries, grapefruit, sesame seeds

Fire Foods: Brussel sprouts, celery root, beets, buckwheat, flaxseed, asparagus


                                                   

                         
Taj Mahal & Fatepur Sikri                                        

  Fire Element Recipe: Breaded Celery Root
                                                                                                            


2 organic lemons, 1 celery root, 8 ounces unsalted butter, 3 eggs, 1 cup flour, freshly ground pepper, sea salt, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 clove garlic, 1 shallot, 2 tablespoons small capers or cranberries, dash of paprika, 1/2 cup virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons heavy cream.

* Note: Vegans use egg and butter substitute!

Directions: 


Grate and zest lemons and squeeze juice. Put lemon zest and juice in large bowl. Peel and quarter the celery root, then cut into thin slices and mix in bowl with lemon juice. Mix well.

Put a skillet over medium-low heat and add unsalted butter and let it melt. Skim off white foam as it rises to the top.

Beat the eggs and put flour in separate dish. Drain celery root slices, and dip first in beaten egg, then in the flour, and fry until crisp and golden in the hot butter. Season to taste with pepper and sea salt. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Finely chop basil and peel and mince garlic and shallot. Mix capers, paprika, olive oil, garlic, and shallots, and pepper to taste, sea salt, mustard, water, vinegar, and a little more paprika. Stir in basil and the cream. Serve the sauce with fried celery root slices.

Aarti and Satsang Celebration Rishikesh, India
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