Ruminations

Check out my ruminations on a number of topics 

Yoga Off the Mat, What It Can Mean

 

What is the notion of "yoga off the mat"?  It can have different meanings, some more superficial than others. For me, it means learning about myself on the mat - and taking those learnings into my life.

Yoga on the mat is an exercise in Svadhyaya, self-study. While being guided through a class and moving through the practice you learn things and take those learnings off the mat.

On the mat, you may find yourself being judgy about yourself or others in the class. This is instructive. It's also important to be aware of how you respond to the instructions and how you are doing in the poses  Are you struggling? Are you trying to be perfect?  Is this how you approach your daily life off the mat too? 

What you do on the mat you also do in your life. 

How you show up on the mat is how you show up for your life. Pay attention to what's going on. But, ultimately, be compassionate with yourself. 

I encourage you to drop into the healing modality that yoga is. To...

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Yoga and Inertia

 

Have you ever felt stuck?

It could be like you're in a similar situation or pattern that keeps occurring over and over again. It may be a relationship that is no longer fulfilling or a job that is no longer brings you joy.

How do you get unstuck?

The yoga tradition offers some tools to assist you in getting unstuck. 

We know inertia starts in the mind but it manifests in the body. By moving the body we can shift some of that energy, thus shifting the mental landscape.  We are holistic beings after all! 

Sometimes it's as though we are walking around with our head and body disconnected. When we make stronger connections between the two we start addressing inertia. 

First, is the recognition of being stuck. This can be a painful discovery but one worth making. With this realization it is important you don't beat yourself up. Be compassionate.

Tools to get unstuck

  1. One of the most important things you can do is start a daily yoga practice. I always recommend keeping...
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Getting to the Root of Meditation

 

Breath is life. Breath takes us to the higher essence of practice - to deep meditative states. 

Meditation is now becoming better understand and taught in yoga classes, it's on Netflix and is being popularized.  From TM in the 60s and 70s, to mindfulness and now to yoga meditation. 

In lineage-based systems, you work with time-tested meditations. In my lineage, we use mantra as our system of meditation - the repetition of sacred sounds. Your guru provides a meditation to you. 

To be successful at meditation keep it simple: 

  • get still
  • sit tall - head over the base of the spine (use the wall or chair as necessary)
  • the chin may drop a bit
  • the eyes are closed
  • begin to focus on the breath for a few minutes, breathing through the nostrils (concentration, dharana)
  • focus on the breath at the nostrils moving in and out
  • a single-pointed focus is established (more focused concentration - the object of meditation or dhyana)
  • at some point, there is a union of the...
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Breath - The Vehicle to Your Higher Self

 

The breath is the link between the body and mind. 

While challenging at first, a focus on the breath as you evolve in your practice is essential. 

Connecting with the breath in such a way that it leads the practice - this is yoga, as opposed to exercise. The inhalation awakens the opening into the posture and the exhalation takes you into the close of the posture, ideally. 

The breath takes time. It is more challenging than fancy poses. So be patient.

In time you work with various pranayama techniques, including retentions/suspensions.  The nervous system needs to be strengthened through practice first, so don't rush.

Start working with pranayama right away though. Ujjayai breathing, a gentle contraction of the throat through practice and after practice leading into meditation is super powerful.

Breath and the Mind

The breath is always a direct reflection of the state of the mind. We can't change the mind easily, but we can use the breath to affect the state of...

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Yoga As More Than A Physical Practice

practice spiritual yoga Jan 26, 2021
 

Many of us start yoga as a physical process, which feels great. Yoga may be a simple exercise regime for some. 

Over time, people build a wonderful mind-body connection. They may actually learn to love themselves through yoga practice. That was my experience.

But yoga can be so much more than a physical practice. It can be a journey to your spiritual awakening. 

Once you start connecting on a deeper level with self, using various techniques and multi-layered approaches, you'll have experiences that are more than physical. 

One way to start this approach is to make breath front and centre in your practice. Get established in the rhythm of your breath, make it the stable point of the whole practice. This becomes a catalyst to the spiritual side of the practice. 

Breath is the link. 

I also recommend that you be more alert and aware of all the levels of sensation that occur during the practice. This stepping into the energetic level of practice creates a...

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Sankalpa - 2021 Intentions

 

The beginning of the year for many involves setting New Year's Resolutions. These wishes for the future are often lost in the first days of the year. What the yoga tradition teaches is something much deeper. intentions set from a place of deep knowing. 

The sages of the tradition teach that life is bereft without Sankalpa Shakti, using the power of intention to shape your life. 

There are a number of principles that inform how we work with Sankalpa:

  1. Work with a desire you'd like to achieve in the foreseeable future (3-18 months)
  2. Use clear, concise, present tense statements
  3. Commit the Sankalpa to memory
  4. Resite it to yourself silently after practice and meditation
  5. Remember it during the day when you catch yourself about to engage in a bad habit, feel triggered or catch yourself in a negative thought pattern
  6. Before falling asleep at night continue to repeat your Sankalpa silently
  7. If you wake up with insomnia, continue to repeat your Sankalpa silently until you sleep...
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2020-The Act of Letting Go

 

You can use the events of 2020 to practice letting go. 

Letting go is a big part of the yoga tradition; you need to leave things in the past so you can grow and evolve. 

2020 was a year in which many issues came to the surface. It shone a light on the structural inequalities in our society resulting in some bearing the brunt of Covid-19 more than others. Economic and racial inequality are parts of our society that we could choose to let go of. But this won't be easy. We get attached to our ways of being, including social systems. 

Many want to get back to "normal". We have to let go of this notion as we are now going to be living with and adapting to a virus, perhaps the first of many, that society has to adjust to living with in the future. We can - and must - move forward with new ideas and systems that support this new reality. 

Start with you. You can consciously move forward and affect positive change if you let go of aspects of your life that no longer...

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2020 Year End Message

yogiloren Jan 12, 2021
 

YogiLoren shares some final thoughts as 2020 comes to an end. 

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Thanksgiving 2020 Message

 

I'd like to share my thoughts on this Thanksgiving 2020 Weekend.

First of all, thank you for being part of this journey I'm on. Together, we can make great strides in these changing times.

My commitment is to continue to share life-changing teachings in a manner that meets your needs. All you have to do is show up! There are now dozens of archived practices on a range of themes - all of which can serve you. 

You can also join me live online at 7 p.m. EST from Sunday through Thursday evenings. 

My message is one of gratitude. I'm incredibly grateful for your ongoing support and interest in learning from me. I continue to grow as a teacher and support your growth as a seeker. let's continue this journey of growth in a time when it's needed more than ever. 

It's important that you identify those things for which you are grateful as well. Gratitude when a part of your daily practice shifts your mind's pathways - your brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the...

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September Check-in

 

It's been a while since my last vlog. I really needed to take some time away to reflect on the challenges Covid-19 brought to my life.  Losing my yoga space to a pandemic was not something I would have ever imagined, but alas, it happened. 

During my reflection time, I noticed how many of us are processing the impact of the pandemic in our own way. The feelings seem to range from pain, grief, sadness, disappointment, confusion, uncertainty to indifference. Some of us have experienced isolation and with it the feeling of loneliness. Some have reflected on their situations and decided to make significant changes - divorce rates have skyrocketed. I pray for those who have experienced violence and economic distress.

I hope whatever transitions you are going through you are finding a sense of calm, strength and direction to move forward.  

I'm calling upon you to double-down on self-care, this includes your practice - no excuses, there are now dozens for you to choose...

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