Month: November 2019

Wellness Wednesday: Warmth in Intimacy

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

As we approach Thanksgiving we may feel inspired to internalize the warmth we receive from others and express gratitude. It may be the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves of our own concepts of self love and self worth as we invest ourselves in time spent with others. Taking the time to internally reaffirm our concepts of self love and self worth can help guide us to more intimate connections in our lives. We must love ourselves first before we can descend into the love of others.

We may feel more drawn to reconnecting with those we have not seen in quite some time and create more meaningful exchanges. If we allow ourselves to be open and receptive it may surprise us the intimacy that builds from a reciprocating cycle of gratitude. It may be difficult at first to find ourselves in a state of gratitude as we experience external distractions of the ebbs and flow of life which may take away connections, opportunities and possessions from us we wish to attain. This contraction and expansion of life may leave our heart space depleted. Oddly enough, these kind of losses may actually evoke us into a state of gratitude. However we do not have to be shook to experience this deep sensation of gratitude. It may be as simple as immersing ourself into the concept of being open to adore the simplicity of life.

When we allow ourselves to be open and vulnerable we develop rich, intimate connections. It can be anxiety-provoking to be vulnerable as we fear judgement or weakness. In reality, being vulnerable takes a lot of courage. It takes courage to really sit with our feelings, emotions and sensations. However creating barriers to protect our heart space can only wrongfully encourage us to push others away whereas softening these barriers can create enough space for people to move closer to us, allowing us to experience warmth.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Mindful Monday: Dhyana

Good morning, mindful ones! It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and we have so much to be thankful for!

Let’s move onward in our study of the eight limbs of yoga.

Last week, we covered dharana, our sixth limb of yoga. Dharana sets the stage for dhyana, the perfect contemplation of meditation.

Dhyana is total absorption into the object being focused on. This uninterrupted flow of concentration creates devotion. Dhyana distinctly differs from the one-pointed concentration of dharana in that it is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. In this quiet stillness the brain produces few or no thoughts at all. The strength and stamina it takes to reach this state of stillness is quite impressive. In dhyana we dissolve separateness and experience the deep river of peace.

As you cultivate a consistent meditation practice, you will derive both mental and physical benefits in your life. Modern science and medicine are just now measuring the benefits of this ancient practice to explain how the body physiologically changes and how each of the trillions of body cells are charged with more prana (energy). Increased life force or prana results in joy, peace, and enthusiasm. Below I’ve listed a small percentage of the vast  benefits of mediation.

Physical Benefits

▪ Lowers high blood pressure

▪ Reduces anxiety

▪ Decreases tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems

▪ Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior

▪ Improves the immune system

▪ Increases energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy

▪ Can assist with weight loss and other physical goals

▪ Improved athletic performance

▪ Can provide significant relief from asthma and allergies

Mental Benefits of Meditation

Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into a relaxed state that promotes healing. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful. With regular practice of meditation:

▪ Emotional stability improves

▪ Creativity increases

▪ Happiness increases

▪ Intuition develops

▪ Increase in mental clarity

▪ Sharpens the mind by increasing focus

▪ Slows aging of your mind

▪ Can help with improving relationships

How do you tell the difference between concentration and meditation? If there is awareness of distraction, you are concentrating and not meditating. The calm achieved in meditation spills over into all aspects of your life. Try practicing meditation during a hectic day at work, shopping for groceries, attempting to return/exchange holiday gifts, or even waiting in a busy queue of traffic!

Start small; set your timer for five minutes each day and build from there. Imagine yourself at this time next year after a full year of meditating! You are 100 percent pure potential, my friend! Let’s talk more next year… On behalf of all of us at YBD, wishing you and your family a safe, healthy and prosperous new year filled with love, happiness, success,  yoga and meditation!

Wellness Wednesday: Your Daily Sacred Seconds

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

Every morning we experience a brief, mystical period between our dreams and waking state. During this period our minds remember that all things are possible. We are given the opportunity to transition into reality without losing a sense of hope when we allow ourselves to fully listen to what our heart has to say before we even get out of bed to begin our day. Our heart space shows us that everything is interconnected- mind, body, spirit, instinct and inspiration.

In an instant we can review and collect the thoughts and attitudes we wish to deeply experience upon our day as they can help us to begin again throughout the day by reminding us how wholesome love and inspiration feels. So often our mind is quick to resort to a grueling cycle fueled by negative thoughts. However, we must remind ourselves that we never have to wait for a new day, week, month or year to begin again as we have the ability to internally adjust at anytime. If we pause to take advantage of these sacred seconds, we learn each moment we invest ourselves in becomes infused with warm intention and compassion.

At the crossing where our body and soul meet, our physical heart beats naturally in sync with the natural state of the universe. While our heart does the physical work to pump blood throughout our body we must be receptive to the spiritual work of our heart. When we focus on the rhythm and warm intention revealed by our heart, we realize how organic it feels to live purely innate. If we begin each day prioritizing our heart space we cannot help but feel the euphoric alignment of adoring the entity of life itself.



Mindful Monday: Dharana

Good morning, mindful ones!

We have swiftly come to our sixth yogic limb: dharana.

As each stage prepares us for the next, the practice of pratyahara creates the setting for dharana, or immovable concentration of the mind. The root of the word is “dhar” which means to hold, maintain or keep.

As the sixth limb of yoga, dharana is the practice of holding one’s mind onto a particular inner state or topic. We fix the mind on a single pointed focus, such as breath, the small space above the upper lip, or navel, without allowing the mind to  wander through memories, reflective thoughts, bodily sensations.

Through the disciplines of the previous limbs, we’ve definitely begun to develop our powers of concentration. Through yamas and niyamas, we’ve begun directing our attention.

Through asanas, we have begun to temper the body and focus on specific and more subtle sensations. Through pranayama, we begin the task of refining our minds. Through pratyahara, we bring our senses under control and are still enough to become more observant of the mind. In dharana, concentration on a single point becomes effortless. You know the mind is concentrating when there is no sense of time passing. Extended periods of concentration naturally lead to meditation or dhyana, which is the seventh limb of yoga.

Now we truly begin to unleash the great potential for inner healing.

Namaste, sweet yogis. Here’s to a beautiful, mindful week filled with awareness and intention.

November 2019 Pose of the Month: Prapadasana or Tip Toe Pose

Hey yogis! Wow! Hard to believe that November is here!! We are in the last weeks of 2019! The end of a great decade.

Our  November 2019 POTM is Prapadasana or “tip toe pose.”

This pose, like life, requires focus, balance and a strong determination.

How to do Prapadasana / Tip Toe Pose?

1. Begin in Tadasana / Mountain Pose.

2. Exhale and come into Malasana / Garland Pose.

3. Bring your feet together and slowly lift your heels off the floor.

4. Balance your body on your toes and keep your back straight. 

5. Bring your palms together and focus in between your eyebrows.

6. Stay in this pose for 3 to 6 long breaths.

To come out of this pose, bring your heels down and come back into Tadasana / Mountain Pose.

Here’s why you should do it:

Improves concentration and sense of balance.

Strengthens the core, feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs.

Stretches the hip flexors, hamstrings and groins.

Stimulates the Muladhara / Root Chakra.

Do it with a friend!

Wellness Wednesday: Your Season’s Flourishing Radiance

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

With the sudden drop in temperatures and overcast skies we often have the tendency to view the next few months with nuisance as we attempt to stay warm and content. Like reading quotes for motivation, we refer to nature for inspiration and lessons. We can gain so much wisdom in the dormant months.

Like any seasoned gardener knows, the seeds that create flourishing plants requires a cold period in order to germinate. Some seeds require a drop in temperature in order to break it’s dormancy. The season’s cycle of harsh conditions exercises the shell of the seed until it has the strength to blossom. Just like seeds, we too, are mentally, emotionally and energetically challenged as we experience less sunlight and stressful holidays. Us humans seek for light both literally and figuratively. It can be dispiriting to begin the frigid months knowing we may not see very much sunlight. The natural cycle may wrongfully inspire us to isolate ourselves to those around us and reflect on past hurts. However a change in perspective is all it takes to change our moment and this period of dormancy may actually be the perfect time to learn to cultivate internal light. It is a grueling phase of growth that we have no control over. Perhaps this is the reason we do not celebrate our progress much the same as brighter periods of our life. In spite of it all, we, too, must endure periods of darkness to experience light- both self made and received by others.

Searching for joy at this time may encourage us to harvest the intimate connections we have. Our desire to spread warmth may infuse with those in our surroundings becoming a synergistic effect. Our ability to internally adjust may allow us to send the genuine love we all thrive off of as intimacy denotes mutual trust between one another. We discover the more we give, the more we receive only to create a cycle of trust and affirmation that nourishes itself. By surrendering to the process we can trust there is always warmth, warmth we can radiate to all beings around us.



Mindful Monday: Pratyahara

Happy Mindful, snowy Monday, darling ones!

We’ve swiftly arrived at our fifth yogic limb: pratyahara.

Our conscious breathing -pranayama- sets the stage for Pratayhara, where we transcend sensory stimulation and draw focus inward. We stay fully aware of the five senses, but we observe objectively and therefore the mind can rest. We stop living off the things that stimulate; we dispassionately observe the cycle of stimulation and reaction and are no longer a slave to the senses. No longer functioning in their usual manner, the senses become extraordinarily sharp.

This is a stage of yoga practice just beyond the physical where internal yoga practice begins.  Practicing pratyahara takes place when your individual consciousness is turned inward so you can master the flow of prana, or energy, in your body.  Specifically, pratyahara is the withdrawing yourself away from anything unwholesome, excessive, or distracting for the mind. 

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the ability to withdraw into seclusion in the mountains to meditate without distractions. It is so much easier to harmonize with prana when you can renounce the distractions of the world to focus on controlling the senses!

However, in our reality, we have temptations of money, sex, fame, gossip, overindulgence in food, shopping, alcohol, etc. If you can overcome the temptations here and now then you have really mastered your senses.

Concentration, in the yoga room or the boardroom, begins as a battle with the distracting senses. In mastering pratyahara, you no longer unnecessarily respond to the itch on your nose or hear the baby crying in the restaurant. You are able to fix your focus on your main objective.

According to Patanjali, the eight limbs work together: The first five steps — yama, niyama asana, pranayama, and pratyahara — are the preliminaries of building the foundation for  a spiritual life. They are concerned with the body and the brain. The last three, which we will cover in subsequent posts,  are concerned with reconditioning the mind.

So it becomes clearer that yoga is nothing more than a process which enables us to stop and look at the habits of our own minds; only in this way can we understand the nature of happiness and unhappiness, and thus transcend them both.

Yoga provides an opportunity to ultimately attain enlightenment or the full realization of oneness with Spirit.

Have a great week, friends!!!

Wellness Wednesday: The Grudges You Carry

Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends!

This past week I have had the opportunity to get back into my practice on a daily basis and remind myself how good a consistent, heated flow feels. It was not until I got into my mat this week I realized how much self-healing had to be done not only physically but mentally, emotionally and energetically. I think this is something we can all relate to at some point in our practice. So I spent more time challenging myself to meditate longer after each practice. Through this I had experienced visuals of people who I was angry and upset with followed by a deep sensation of acceptance and forgiveness. It was something I never experienced before, something I could never explain in words in all my time of meditating. This provided me with a focus to my next step of healing to leave me feeling whole once again. This focus left me pondering long after.

We store our hurt. Whether it is conscious or unconscious. One of the most difficult things we must do when facing these arising emotions is to forgive. It seems much easier to cut someone out of our life and form a bitterness to anyone that has hurt us. However by doing this we create a burden that weights heavy on our chest that we carry with us always- consciously or unconsciously.

Forgiveness is hard. It is hard for a number of reasons. One being that we must accept the actions of what someone may have done to intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. We must give ourselves the time and space to feel before we can accept and begin the forgiving process. We must be ready to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering we experienced and instead forgive as it is something we can do to alleviate the heaviness we continue to carry. We forgive to benefit ourselves that then extends to those around us.

Allowing ourselves to check in with any energetic imbalances and cultivate peace is a great positive step to living a lighter life. We learn through acceptance that the healing work provides us a bridge in which the energy to begin again can be obtained.

Mindful Monday: Pranayama

Happy Mindful Monday, YBD friends! November has arrived! As we are slowly winding down this decade, it’s a great time to remember to mindfully BREATHE!

We’ve begun a deeper look into Ashtanga or the Eight-Limbed Path of Yoga as expressed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In previous weeks, we’ve discussed the first three limbs: the Yamas or the guidelines for social behavior, the Niyamas which refer to how we discipline ourselves, and the Asanas or the yoga poses that we practice together at YBD.

This brings us to Pranayama, the fourth limb, which means breath restraint. The word prana means “life energy” or “life force,” which is the very essence that keeps us alive. And yama means “restraint,” as we discussed in a previous post in more detail. Our breath literally is our life energy, as we animate the mind and body with it.

According to Patanajali, the goal of pranayama is to regulate the breath to make it slow and subtle to facilitate the steady flow of energy throughout the body. It is believed that through control of the breath, life can be prolonged.

Aside from that, breathing techniques and breath control can also be employed to help us to deepen our physical poses as well as calm us down and keep us centered during chaotic, busy or stressful situations. This is something I’m sure we can all use this holiday season!

We’re halfway through our preliminary study of the eight limbs of our yoga practice. The first four limbs refer to the external practice of yoga. Next week, we’ll discuss the internal yoga practice and the remaining four limbs.

Have a great week, yogis! BREATHE. Sweat. Smile!