Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Warrior of Peace

Rishikesh, India

The warrior poses are beautiful and challenging named after the mythical Hindu warrior Virabhadra. Practicing the three forms of virabhadrasana is about honoring the fight against our own ignorance and ego, and to cultivate the strength and courage to do the right thing in challenging situations.

The story goes like this. Shiva created the warrior Virabhadra to avenge the death of his beloved wife Sati (known as Shakti). Daksha, Sati's father, didn't approve of Sati's marriage to Shiva. One day Daksha decided to hold a festival at his home and didn't invite Shiva or Sati. His daughter was hurt by her father's action. Sati decided to go to the festival and confront her father. Daksha asked her why she came when she wasn't invited, or was it that she had finally come to her senses and left that "beast of a husband." His daughter was so upset and humiliated that she decided to take her own life. She does so by throwing herself into the sacrificial fires of the festival.

When Shiva heard of the news of his wife's death he was devastated, and then enraged. In anger, he torn out one of his dreadlocks and threw it to the ground. Virabhadra was created, springing up from the anger of Shiva. Virabhadra was a terrible being with a thousand arms, three eyes and a garland of skulls.

Shiva ordered Virabhadra, meaning auspicious hero" to kill the guests at the festival. Virabhadra did this and also cut off the head of Daksha.When Shiva saw the aftermath of this bloody battle, his anger left him and he felt remorse. The slain gods were miraculously healed and Shiva replaced Daksha's head with that of a goat. Daksha and the other gods honored Shiva calling him "Shankar," the kind and benevolent one.

The myths behind yoga poses are metaphors. In this case, Virabhadra can be seen as a metaphor for striving to overcome our own weaknesses. The growth of our "spiritual warrior" means we need to develop courage, unwavering focus and determination to deal with life's challenging moments. Warrior poses are about rising up out of your own ignorance. This is the path to self-realization and peace.

Mary Jane Kasliner
Feng Shui Yoga Girl: www.fengshuiyoganj.com

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Consciously Choosing the Seat You Assume

Yoga is consciously choosing the seat you assume. This is not only the posture you choose, but implies every position in life you find yourself. Yoga becomes a practice on and off the mat impacting the choices you make so that the consequences are success and happiness. 

As humans, we have a built in mechanism when it comes to making choices in our life, which is following our intuition and the signals of comfort and discomfort that your body generates as a result of these choices. This in essence is the law of karma, which utilizes body awareness to make karmically correct choices.

Practicing yoga postures enhancing the mind-body integration. In other words, yoga postures enables you to be more aware of the signals your body is sending you. By and large, our minds are very busy and miss this important data. The practice of yoga helps to quiet the mind so you can pay closer attention to your body messages. The increase in body awareness enhances your general level of emotional and physical comfort that acts as a gauge for right action. 

Take time to practice yoga postures. Remain fully present as you move through your practice. Allow yourself to move through your body's resistance. Ultimately you will begin to mobilize the energy in the body. Energy that moves freely and smoothly impacts movement of thought as well as the movement of air, the movement of muscles, blood and elimination. On a cellular level, the movement of DNA molecules, hormones and other physiological aspects in the body. Health is the result when energy is moving harmoniously.

As you continue to move the energy in your body you'll naturally want to move the energy in your environment. You'll notice where there is clutter blocking natural flow and remove it. Any stagnant areas in you home will be suddenly noticeable and you'll be compelled to liven them up with proper lighting or vibrant plant. Your body is an extension of your environment. The two are constantly interacting and feeding off one another. What you do to one you will ultimately do to the other. 

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Mindfulness and Our Senses

Butchart Gardens - Photo by Mary Jane Kasliner

How do our senses come into play when it comes to mindfulness? By and large, the first three layers of mindfulness hone in to our inner world (our sensations, emotions and thoughts). The forth layer of mindfulness opens up of our attention to the outside world. This is where our sensory system has a tremendous impact. We notice what we are seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. Intuitively, (our 6th sense) awakens in this process, if we allow it to. The process of this stage of mindfulness is being able to let life unfold around you and watching how you respond to the daily changes that will undoubtedly occur.

While walking through the Butchard Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, my sensory system was on a natural high. The magnificent colors, land typography, smells, sounds and textures swirled around my mind like a ballroom dance. My inner world was impacted by the external world, and in this case, in a positive way. Notice how I suggested the external world had a positive impact on my internal world. In other words, this type of mindfulness segues into a clinging to desire, not just to the environment, but also the sensations and thoughts the environment triggered.

The human condition is one where we gravitate towards the pleasant things in life and avoid the unpleasant. Mindfulness is the ability to relax and be open to both sides of the coin - taking the good with the not so good and remaining nonjudgmental either way. Easier said than done, but worth the effort to simply let things unfold and expect the pendulum to swing in both directions.

It's not to say you shouldn't imbue your environment with pleasant things. You should absolutely do that. It is far better to look at pleasant artwork, a beautiful plant or the wafting scent of sweet roses than not too. The point is to take in the external environment as a witness , as oppose to coveting it as a means to exist.

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

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Acknowledging All Things

Photo by Mary Jane Kasliner

The sound mantra Om, is considered the sound of the universe, all knowing and all potential. If you consider Om as the beginning, middle and end of everything: your day, your yoga practice, your life, you recognize the impermanence of all things. We inflict suffering upon ourselves when we grasp to the notion that things will remain the same. This is just nonsense. Even in nature, everything is always in a process of growing, stabilizing, and dissolving. When we chant the mantra "Om," it is one way of acknowledging these processes within us, connecting us deeply to nature and all things.

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

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