Reducing Our Toxic Load

As we continue our detoxification and purification theme this month, let’s talk about the importance of reducing our toxic load. We’ve talked at length about plants and their cleansing properties, how they can support our efforts to rid our bodies of unwanted toxins. But let’s ask ourselves … what is the point in cleansing our systems of existing toxins if we don’t do anything to reduce the toxic load we keep adding?

 

Some of the key toxins that can impact our bodies come from chemicals we bring into our own homes in our cleaning products. Interestingly, our bodies have an amazing system of defense whenever we ingest something that might harm us. However, we are at risk when our bodies absorb chemicals aromatically and/or through the skin, which is exactly what happens when we use typical cleaning chemicals.

 

Pure essential oils are part of effective and safe natural cleaners that can not only serve to organically clean your mat and yoga studio…they work equally well in homes and cars. Below are some recipes we’d like to pass on so you can put together toxin and chemical-free cleaning supplies for your home. When you replace toxic cleaning supplies with these, you can reduce the toxins in your system (so you won’t have to deal with them later on).

 

Yoga Mat Spray

·      ¾ cup distilled water

·      ¼ cup alcohol-free witch hazel or white vinegar

·      5 drops lavender essential oil

·      3 drops melaleuca essential oil

·      Glass spray bottle

Combine all ingredients in glass spray bottle, shake until combined. Spray on mat and wipe dry with towel.

 

All-Purpose Cleaner

·      2 cups white vinegar

·      2 cups water

·      1 teaspoon natural dish soap

·      30 drops lemon essential oil

·      20 drops lavender essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine. Spray and wipe on surfaces.

 

Glass Cleaner

·      3 cups distilled water

·      ¼ cup rubbing alcohol

·      ¼ cup white vinegar

·      20 drops melaleuca essential oil

Mix ingredients in a quart-sized spray bottle. Shake to combine, spray on windows, mirrors or stainless steel. Wipe off with paper towels for a great shine.

 

Stove and Sink Cleaner

·      1 cup baking soda

·      ¼ cup liquid castile soap

·      10 drops lemon essential oil

·      10 drops lime essential oils

·      10 drops wild orange essential oil

Mix ingredients together to form a paste (adding more castile if needed). Apply with rag or sponge then rinse with clean water.

 

Tub and Shower Gel

·      1 cup white vinegar

·      ½ cup natural dishwashing soap

·      Squeeze bottle

Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan on the stove until hot but not boiling. Stir in the dishwashing soap until combined, then pour into the squeeze bottle. Squirt onto shower and tub, and allow to sit for 1-3 hours. Wipe off with a scrubber, rag and/or sponge.

 

Fresh Linen Spray

·      ¼ cup distilled water

·      3 T witch hazel

·      20 drops lavender essential oil

·      15 drops frankincense essential oil

Add all ingredients to a small spritzer, shake well, and spray on sheets, piloowcases and linens.

 

Goo, Crayon & Marker Remover

·      Lemon essential oil

·      1-2 T fractionated coconut oil.

Mix together, then apply directly to sticker residue, random goo, gum, crayon marks, marker etc. (Suggestion: test in an inconspicuous place first). Rub in with fingers, then wipe away with a clean rag. Repeat as needed.

 

Citrus Carpet Refresher

·      1 cup baking soda

·      30 drops citrus oil of your choice (lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime)

Combine in a small container and cover tightly with a lid. Shake well and allow to sit for 6-8 hours. Sprinkle on stale or smelly carpet and allow to sit overnight. Vacuum the next morning.

 

Shower Spray

·      1 ½ cups water

·      1 cup white vinegar

·      ½ cup rubbing alcohol

·      1 t natural liquid dish soap

·      10 drops melaleuca essential oil

·      20 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Combine in a quart-sized spray bottle. Spray daily on shower door and walls after use to help prevent build-up.

 

Refrigerator and Microwave Cleaner

·      1 cup white vinegar

·      2 cups hot water

·      15 drops lemon essential oil

Combine ingredients in glass spray bottle. Spray mixture inside fridge or microwave, then scrub and wipe using a damp cloth.

 

Soft Scrub for Bath, Tile and Toilet

·      ¾ rounded cup baking soda

·      ¼ cup unscented liquid castile soap

·      1 T water

·      1 T white vinegar

·      10 drops lemon essential oil

Yield: 2-4 applications. Make in small batches and store in an airtight container. Combine baking soda and castile soap, add water and stir. Add vinegar and essential oil. The consistency should be a soft paste. Apply and let sit for 5-10 minutes and scrub to help get rid of soap scum, remove stains and brighten tiles.

 

Natural Wood Polish

·      ¼ cup olive oil

·      ¼ c vinegar

·      10 drops of lemon, orange or arborvitae essential oil

Add olive oil and vinegar to glass spray bottle. Add 10 drops of essential oil. Shake well before each use. Apply to microfiber cloth and wipe wood surfaces clean. Repeat every 2-3 months or as often as needed.

 

 

We'd love to hear about your successes with detoxing your environment!

 

And....in honor of earth day, we're doing a special giveaway. Take a picture of yourself doing ANY yoga pose outside and barefoot (connecting with the earth), and everyone who posts will be entered into a drawing to win a 5ml bottle of a beautiful grounding and centering essential oil blend.

10 Essential Steps to Saucha in your Yoga Practice

The Yamas and Niyamas are the first two of the 8 limbs of Astanga Yoga.  The Yamas are the “Restraints,” or “Ethical Principles” and define living with integrity in our relationships with our world. The Niyamas are the “Disciplines,” and define our relationship with our true self as we evolve along life’s journey.   

 

Saucha is the first Niyama, and translated from Sanskrit, means “purity” or “cleanliness.”  This applies to purity of mind, body and spirit. We can apply saucha in many aspects of our yoga practice.  Initially, we can take the meaning literally, as saucha directs us to create order, to be clean and tidy, and to declutter/simplify our lives physically. If we live simply, we can minimize distractions and focus on being present, think with clarity, and begin to understand what is in front of us. Physically we can use our asana and pranayama practices to detoxify the body, we can take direction from Ayurveda to eat and sleep and massage with herbs and oils, and use aromatherapy to align with our constitution for the sake of wellness practices. We can purify the mind with meditation, directed focus and self-study.  We can refine our spiritual practice with study of scriptures and intention of devotion to our higher power. 

 

However, once we begin to deepen our practices, the ultimate path to enlightenment, to Samadhi, is one we journey alone.  In order to succeed, the underlying work is to begin with self-love.  This means embracing the parts of our self that we find messy. Examine the parts of yourself that you might not like, and see them for what they are: clues to the “stuck places.” Herein lies a great opportunity to learn what your body, mind and spirit have to teach you. 

 

In this spring time of year, when we reexamine the season that reminds us of renewal, here are a few suggestion on how to embrace life’s challenges from the perspective of Saucha. Recognize that in order to make forward progress we must accept, without judgment that we are all equally holy, that all of life is sacred, and that our true essence is pure.

 

1.  Start by taking care of the body. Practice twisting poses to detoxify the organs and release tension along the spine and back body. 

2.  Love every part of you! 

3.  Be present, build awareness.  Suggestion: use aromatherapy to stay focused using essential oils like rosemary as it supports cognition. 

4.  Use setting intentions to grow and cultivate new healthy habits. 

5.  Use this Niyama literally:  keep a clean and tidy home and work environment. 

6.  Use essential oils to create pure cleaning agents.  Example: a spray bottle with 3 parts water, 1 part vinegar, and 6 to 10 drops of tea tree oil, pine essential oil, or any citrus oil (antiviral agent) will be effective and refreshing. 

7.  Use mudras in your yoga practice, both in asana and in meditation, they affect the energy body.  Example: Lotus mudra is a reminder that a beautiful flower emerges from the muddy waters. Place a drop of an essential oil that is refreshing like peppermint or lemon, in your hands in this mudra, and use as a personal diffuser. 

8. Don’t judge or chastise yourself for non-yogic behaviors or deterred steps. We are all only human and the object is to learn and to evolve. 

9.  Love who you are and let the spark of divinity within you shine. It is only then that the true, pure part of you can lead you forward.

10.  Be patient with yourself. All aspects of yoga practice require patience. 

 

 Want to win our monthly giveaway? Comment and share – April’s giveaway is a bottle of peppermint essential oil! 

Plants and Detox

In this season of spring cleaning, have you ever considered cleaning of YOU? The toxic load that some of us carry around inside us can be overwhelming to our vital organs, specifically to our liver and kidneys – the organs in charge of detoxification.  Our skin, colon and lungs also play a part in keeping us clear. Because of environmental toxins we breathe in, toxins in the processed and fast foods we eat, even the toxins that we absorb through our skin via personal care products, our bodies can really struggle under the heavy toxic load.

Plants are natural cleansers….they even detox the air! They are programmed to ‘inhale’ and utilize carbon dioxide and leave in its place life-giving oxygen. Essential oils, the aromatic part of plants, can likewise be powerful cleansers as well:

·         Arborvitae is a powerful cleansing and purifying agent. Use it to purify the air, it naturally repels insects. You can add a few drops to a spray bottle with water and spray on surfaces or hands for a protecting solution. 

·         Basil has cleansing properties, and helps to support healthy blood flow. It supports gastrointestinal health and function, and helps reduce gas.

·         Bergamot's also has cleansing properties, and helps support a healthy nervous system, cardiovascular system and cognitive function. 

·         Black Pepper has topical cleansing properties, and contains important antioxidants. 

·         Cassia has strong surface cleansing properties and may help support the health of the liver, kidneys and urinary tract.

·         Cedarwood, cypress, petitgrain and myrrh have surface cleansing properties, 

·         Cilantro has a cleansing and detoxifying effect when used internally (use 1-2 drops of pure, internal-grade cilantro in a capsule)

·         Frankincense and coriander help support the health of the liver.

·         Douglas Fir and thyme are cleansing and purifying to the skin.

·         Helichrysum has internal cleansing properties.

·         Juniper Berry supports healthy kidney and urinary tract function, and has internal cleansing properties.

·         Lemon cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces, naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion, and promotes healthy functioning of the GI tract.

·         Lime is often used as an internal cleanser, it helps cleanse the air, it may support the health of the colon.

·         Oregano, tangerine and wild orange are powerful cleansing and purifying agents.

 

Combine these oils with your detoxification yoga sequences and twists, (from our book and DVD, Essential Yoga Practice) and experience some powerful results!  Want to learn even more?  Sign up for our fun, interactive, online 2 week course,  Essential Yoga Sangha !  Next course begins April 9; for completing additional coursework, yoga teachers can earn 10 CECs from Yoga Alliance. Comment, share and retweet our social media to be eligible to win the oils for our Sangha course …who’s ready for some spring cleaning now?!!

5 Ways to Use Yoga to Embrace Change

Staying focused in the present moment is a useful skill to have in this busy world. Many tools in yoga help us to “calm the fluctuations of the mind,” as Patanjali points out in the Yoga Sutras. However that might not be yoga's most important lesson. What is in front of us is constantly changing, and we are constantly changing. This is the concept of impermanence, the temporary nature of all things.

 

The teachings of Samkhya, an ancient Indian philosophy, is foundational to the spiritual aspect of contemporary yoga practice and teaches that the reality of life is divided into:

     1. prakriti, or matter, which is impermanent, solid, and continually changing form, and

     2. purusha, which is eternal, unchanging, unknowable, yet present in all things.

Our deepening yoga practice allows us to tune inward as we quiet the chatter of the mind, allow the purusha to become evident and understood, thus to observe changing reality in its true nature. Sometimes we are discouraged by change since we want to drive and control it.  Yet this can also be very freeing as our practice can lead us to view change with acceptance, recognizing that what we are also changing is ourself, our reaction to change. Being attached to things staying the same is what causes our suffering – change is inevitable. Adjusting how we accept and react is how we get to evolve and appreciate all of life’s lessons. The physical world, including our own bodies, is filled with impermanence. The lessons lie in the willingness to accept change, and furthermore to embrace the opportunities that change brings, so that we can enjoy what unfolds before us. The requirement is learning to be present. It all comes full circle. Yogic tools that can help us to adapt and to embrace change:

1.  Meditation is not about tuning out, but about becoming present.  The fruit of the efforts:  being able to face reality with acceptance and constructive intention and proactive energy. 

 

2.  Using mantra to come present using a repeated word, sound, affirmation, prayer, intention,.. is another way to use a one-pointed focus to help the mind become free of distractions, and thus invite clarity.

3.  Sound healing using chanting, music, singing bowls, …all have a vibrational aspect which helps to create space, and invite healing

4.  Asana practice – Many new yogis use asana practice to gain strength, flexibility and balance, hence, to change/improve their bodies.

5.  Aromatherapy using essential oils and herbs that wake up the  mind and help with focus.  Great choices are peppermint, tree oils like white fir, cedarwood, spruce, vetiver, and frankincense.

Ready to learn more?  Our Book, Essential Yoga Practice:  Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience with Essential Oils, and DVD, offer great education and a chance to practice 6 sequences, to include a Strengthening sequence! Ready to delve a bit deeper?  Our 2 week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, begins April 1.  This fun and interactive and comes with essential oils delivered to you!  Yoga teachers will add a study segment to receive 10 CECs with Yoga Alliance! Sign up by March 28 to receive your oils for free! 

Happy Spring Equinox!

Happy Spring Equinox, the first day of Spring! As we are transitioning from winter into spring, it is good to acknowledge that spring brings with it a new energy. This is the season traditionally linked with rebirth, renewing and replenishing – and it is a refreshing time of the year as we move forward.

So how do we best harness the new energy that spring brings?

1.       Self care is always a good place to start. When we do the basics, such as getting enough sleep, water, nutrition and exercise, we automatically uplevel our ability to discern our place in our environment. Our mind is clearer, our heart is freer, and we generally experience a heightened sense of happiness and satisfaction.

2.       Aromatherapy is an effective way to harness change – put the tried and true chemical nature of essential oils to work on behalf of your brain and sense of well-being. Some oils that are particularly supportive to supporting change or transition are rosemary, detoxification blend (includes frankincense, wild orange, lemongrass, thyme, summer savory and niaouli), cilantro and frankincense

3.       Yoga is another way we can support ourselves. When we are addressing change, detoxification sequences help us usher out the old to make room for the new.

Together these supports will help you to have more clarity and perspective, to step back and see what’s in front of you so change improves you rather than getting the best of you.

 

Ready for more?  Our Book, Essential Yoga Practice:  Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience with Essential Oils, and DVD, offer great education and a chance to practice 6 sequences, to include a Detoxification sequence too! Ready to delve a bit deeper?  Our 2 week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, begins April 9.  This fun and interactive and comes with essential oils delivered to you!  Yoga teachers will add a study segment to receive 10 CECs with Yoga Alliance! Sign up by March 28 to receive your oils for free!

Essential Oils for Vata and Register for Sangha

Essential oils are a natural way to help soothe the body physically, emotionally as well as spiritually.  Even a few breaths of an essential oil can help shift energy, affect mood, and sharpen focus.

Essential oils can be used aromatically, introduced to the body using a diffuser, or diluted in a base oil and applied topically.  Some oils can be taken internally, yet only if they come from a reputable company without any synthetic fillers.  The very essence of certain scents are unique to each person and can activate positive memory and  emotions connected to them. Knowing your unique constitution, your dosha, can help you understand your physical, emotional and spiritual needs which define your wellness practices. Knowing which aromas soothe your dosha can outline your use of essential oils for your self-care.

You are made up of a unique combination of all three doshas.  This is called your prakruti and was determined at the time of your conception. The five elements are present in everyone’s body at birth.  Fire, water, earth, wind and ether comprise the body and spirit and each dosha is resprsented and affected by certain elements.    

Pitta Dosha is represented by the elements fire and water.
Vata Dosha is represented by air and ether.

Kapha Dosha is represented by the elements earth and water.

 

Do you know your dosha?  Take the Dosha Quiz on pp 19-20 of our book, Essential Yoga Practice to understand more about your unique constitution. As you traverse the stages of life, cultural, social and personal experiences temper your doshas and/or cause imbalances to both the physical and emotional body. Note that seasonal change can also affect imbalance. As we are headed into spring, “Vata season,”as we all have some aspect of vata as part of our prakruti, we must all pay attention to how to keep our vata dosha in check. Generally an imbalance of a certain dosha means that the elements unique to that dosha are in excess. Here are some tips:

 

Vata imbalance implies that there is too much movement, change and instability. Vata individuals are prone to starting and stopping projects, being easily distracted, not ready to commit, indecisive, and not feeling grounded. They tend to fidget, have sharp racing minds, and are ready to take on more, even when they have too much to manage efficiently.


Essential oils that may help balance and soothe vata individuals: Peppermint, Rosemary, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang and wild orange.  Consider using these any one or a combination of these oils with a carrier oil such as sesame oil. The oils will evoke a sense of love and calm, bring clarity, help memory, and relieve tension.  These oils raise the vibration of the body, thus having a positive effect.

Individuals with vata imbalances would also benefit from regular Ayurvedic treatments to include shirodhara (warm oil poured slowly over the forehead) and massages. Adding the scents of the suggested essential oils in these treatments help to balance vata dosha.  For thousands of years, uch Ayurvedic practices used aromatherapy from plants and herbs. Traditionally this required a great volume of plant material. In this day, the same potent effect is more easily accessed using essential oils, as they are more concentrated and save time. The oils hold the same properties as the plant and are nourishing to the five senses when only pure essential oils are used.

In Ayurveda, three energy points on the body where energy converges, are encouraged for use of self application of essential oils (diluted in the carrier oil).  

Pitta—heart, chest, center of body
Kapha—between the naval and pubic bone
Vata—third eye between the eyebrows

   

Over time, with practice, you will learn about your unique preferences and also that there are many tri-doshic aromas and carriers, which serve to balance and soothe all doshas. Enjoy your essential oils, enjoy your practice!

 

Ready for more?  Our Book, Essential Yoga Practice:  Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience with Essential Oils, and DVD, offer great education and a chance to practice 6 sequences.  Opt in to our blog to receive the “Centering Sequence!” Ready to delve a bit deeper?  Our 2 week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, begins April 9.  This fun and interactive and comes with essential oils delivered to you!  Yoga teachers can pay for an additional study segment to receive 10 CECs with Yoga Alliance! Sign up by March 28 to receive your oils for free!

Spring is Vata Season

Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga and focuses primarily on wellness lifestyle practices that support health, balance, and self-transformation. How we begin to understand ourselves and our needs is determined by our unique constitution (dosha) , and each of us have a little of all three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Take the dosha quiz in our book, Essential Yoga Practice on pp. 15 and 16, to discover your dosha.  Each dosha is made up of a combination of some of the 5 elements:  Earth, Fire, Air, Ether and Water. Spring time is Vata season!  The Vata constitution governs all movement in the mind and body. It is the primary motivating force of the doshas. Vata controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind.

Since Pitta and Kapha cannot move without Vata, it leads the three “Ayurvedic Principles” in the body. Therefore it is rather important to keep Vata in good balance. A balanced vata allows for mental and physical adaptability, energized body and mind, a calm nervous system, and a grounded (not over-reactive) sense of being/living. Thus a balanced Vata individual experiences ease with adapting and transtionsitioning.  Movement is easy, sensory integration and mental processes flow, and creativity is unhindered.  Breathing is easy and supports the nervous system. There is homeostasis between tissues and organs since life force or “Prana” is regulated by Vata. Whether or not you are a “Vata dominant” individual, maintaining balance during Vata season is important for all of us. 

Here are some things to keep in mind as you anticipate supporting Vata dosha during the change of the Spring season and at any time that Vata is imbalanced: 

1.  Know the characteristics and qualities of Vata Dosha For more information see pp. in Essential Yoga Practice.  Get your copy here or consider the Kindle Version

2.  Learn how to use diet – what to eliminate and what to include.  Tip: Generally, Ayurveda considers sweet, sour, and salty in tastes to be supportive as they  increase qualities of warmth, moisture, and heaviness/groundedness to promote even digestion—which helps to balance Vata. 

3.  Supportive yoga practices include pranayama and meditation for the sake of grounding. Tips for asana:

     a.  Start your practice with one of the following pranayamas for vata :  brahmari (bumble bee breath), nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), or anuloma viloma (forceful alternate nostril breathing).           

   b.  Then  transition to meditation that is structured  and include the use of mantra.

     c.  Asana tips:  Keep the gaze downward for the sake of stability.  Practice at the same  time each day since Vatas respond well to routine. . Use steady, mindful transitions. Include poses that open the hips and charge the legs, like warrior poses,  triange pose,  side angle pose, bound angle pose, and garland.  Include folds that enhance introspection like childs pose, standing forward bend, seated forward bend, and legs up the wall pose.

 4.  Aromatherapy for Vata  Using aromatherapy for vata includes spending time in nature, using essential oils in a diffuser, and in a carrier oil for daily massage.  Aromas that are sweet, earthy and warming such as citrus oils, chamomile, vetiver, and floral oils like lavender and rose are effective in providing support of vata dosha. 

  

Want to know more?  Join us for a two-week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, where we will delve deeper and learn more about aromatherapy, yoga and Ayurveda.  Revolutionary transformations occur when we deepen our practice and our knowledge of how to practice.  Each daily lesson is designed to help you access your highest self  by opening up a whole new understanding of the many benefits of  yoga and aromatherapy, while helping you explore new possibilities, whether you are a new or seasoned yogi, a new or experiences essential oil enthusiast. Come join us and learn how to tap into the wisdom that's always available to you. Next course begins April 1, 2018  Yoga Alliance teachers will receive 10 hours of continuing education credit once they sign up and complete the additional material in the Sangha for Teachers. 

Essential Yoga Sangha

Registration link: click here

 

Helpful tip: Please scroll down to check out the pricing options.

1) To take the course and have a coupon code, enter your coupon code from option 1

2) To have the 12 essential oils we use for this course sent to you click on option 2

3) To get 10 Certification Credits to your Yoga Alliance for teachers click option 3

 

Essential Yoga Sangha for TEACHERS

Registration link: click here

Awareness

Awareness is an interesting thing. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines awareness as “the quality or state of being aware: knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.”  Sometimes we are able to expand our awareness in a way that helps us stretch, grow and understand ourselves and our surroundings better than we ever have before. Sometimes something traumatic or difficult happens, and we find our awareness shrinks to become stuck on only a small area of our lives. This ebb and flow of awareness is normal for most people…and it’s when we notice that we are ‘stuck’ more than we are expanding that we realize that gaining more control of our ‘awareness choices’ is going to have a huge impact on our lives.

Did you notice the word “choices” in the previous sentence? That’s because our awareness is a choice, meaning that what we choose to focus on…or remove focus from…is simply a choice. Think about a conversation you may have had with someone you know in the last year, where either you or they were processing through something that had high levels of emotion attached to it….possibly a breakup, divorce, death, lay-off from work, etc. If there is ever a situation that has high emotion attached to it, it’s a signal to us that our focus and awareness are stuck in a certain place, therefore our ability to expand and grow becomes hindered. We aren’t able to progress, and we are also usually blocked from feeling contentment, peace and inspiration to act.

So how do we release our focus, or awareness from something it’s stuck on? There are many ways to accomplish this. We can do something to distract ourselves, either consciously or unconsciously. (Have you ever wondered why individuals/families going through tough times seem to attract trouble like car accidents, injuries, sicknesses, etc.? Sometimes we just need a distraction from what is holding our awareness captive). We can use many aspects of our yoga practice whether is it the use of meditation, svadhyaya (self-study), pratyahara (mind-withdrawal) or asana practice as the postures of yoga work with different chakras to allow release as well as empowerment/resilience.  (See pp 6 – 9 in Essential Yoga Practice book. Order your copy here today). We can use aromatherapy, which chemically gives our brain new operating instructions. We can work with a therapist or counselor, or use self-help books to process through WHY the situation is difficult due to the underlying beliefs we have about it.

Often, it’s our beliefs about why something is significant that changes our entire experience of it. For example, let’s say you are going to meet a friend for lunch, but they never show. What thoughts could start forming in your mind? I wonder where they are? Why didn’t they call me? Seriously, this is so irresponsible! I’m never going to plan something with this person again, what a waste of an afternoon! ….you could really work yourself up thinking about this terribly inconvenient experience. Just when you’ve gotten yourself all upset, you receive a phone call from one of their family members telling you they were in a serious accident earlier and were in the hospital recovering. What thoughts are going through your head now? Oh my goodness, I hope they’re okay! What a terrible thing to have happen! How can I help? Chances are, all thoughts of irritation and anger have now been replaced by concern. Was the situation different? No – they still stood you up for lunch. But in the first scenario, you chose to believe that they were irresponsible and wasted your time. In the second, you received additional information to change your beliefs because you now know that they missed the lunch through no fault of their own.

…So what if you could choose to have a different belief without the additional information? Your beliefs will determine your life experience, and you can choose to have whatever experience you want every single day.

How to get started? Start processing either verbally or in writing about the areas you feel stuck. See if you can identify where you have placed your awareness or focus. Ask yourself what you would probably have to believe in order to have __________ outcome. Keep asking yourself this question over and over again, and write down the answers until you feel like you’ve had a shift of insight.

You can also use meditation to accomplish this same type of outcome.  The ideal practice in meditation is to have a one pointed focus so that we take a break from the “fluctuations of the mind,” and over time this will help shift perspective more toward acceptance.  A one pointed practice can be to focus on the breath, on a mantra, on a prayer, on sound healing like a singing bowl or chime, …No matter what what that one-pointed focus is, it gives us a break from replaying the scenario in our head so much that we contort it and in doing so, contort the reality that is there. It allows us the opportunity to create the space around the situations that we replay so that understand them better, have time to accept what is going on and more importantly, have time to choose how to react .

For either of these options, add aromatherapy to help you release whatever limiting beliefs you’ve been holding on to, and let your awareness expand you.

 

Make sure to comment on "How you use yoga to build awareness" to be eligible to win our monthly giveaway!

 

6 Ways to Cultivate Awareness

There are many reasons for practicing yoga:  Improved fitness, stress-management, finding happiness, finding balance in daily life,… the list is endless. If we look at the bigger picture, we practice yoga in order to live life to the fullest, with grace and with a relaxed mind. The lessons from the mat are ultimately a practice of self-awareness, and every aspect of the practice is a valuable guide on how to apply those lessons “off the mat.  Whether in asana, pranayama or meditation, the fine-tuned awareness during practice is difficult to simulate outside of yoga practice. That is because there is not as much external stimulation when you are on your mat – your time in yoga practice allows you more self-awareness.   To connect to that heightened sense of self-awareness, spend some time focusing on your intentions as well as your choices, both big and small.  Notice the affect on yourself, your family as well as your community. Your yoga practice leads you to following your intention. Thus, when making choices, tap into your yogic grounding in self-awareness, and this will help to connect your true self to your dharma, your true calling. Live your yoga with these 6 simple ways to connect self-awareness with understanding your place in the world: 

 

1.  Love Yourself – Begin your day with a Dinacharya, Ayurvedic morning routines based on your dosha/constitution, to include a self massage. Make a salt scrub with equql parts  Himalayan salt, Epsom salt, and sesame oil.  Add a few drops of essential oil and massage the entire body, from the feet toward the heart and armpits and from the hands toward the heart and armpits, to aid in lymph drainage and cleansing of the body. Add a few drops of eucalyptus and/or basil essential oil to support the both the skin and the respiratory system. Shower and pat dry to enjoy nourished skin and continued aromatherapy.  If you need help with access to pure essential oils, please reach out to us. 

2.  Practice Kindness Toward Others – Karma Yoga is defined as action done as self-less service to others as a form of divine worship.  You’ll be surprised at how enriching it is to lend a helping hand and share in someone else’s perspective and existence. Take a meal to a friend, spend time with a shut-in, tutor a child, drive someone to a medical appointment, donate to your local food pantry, serve at a homeless shelter, teach yoga to empower others…the world depends on all of us and those who have less still have much to offer if only we allow them the necessities to support their needs first. 

3.  Substitute a Restorative Practice Once/Week – To become aware of our mind’s habits (ego driven), we must act from our seat of intuition, from our heart. Allow the mind and body to quiet by embracing a restorative practice with regularity.  Begin by sitting in meditation and include awareness of breath, and then a breathing exercise.  Follow your intuition, using gentle stretches and then a restorative pose or two.  For more on restorative poses, see the 6th sequence in our DVD:  Essential Yoga Practice:  Your Guide to the New Yoga Experience With Essential Oils. 

4.  Be Aware of Your Footprint – Being aware of how you live and interact with your world leads to how you share space with others and how you appreciate gifts of the earth. Be aware of how you clean up after yourself, find ways to recycle, use energy wisely, and find ways to support the environment. Saucha, the first Niyama, or discipline for yogic living, includes cleanliness as well as tidiness.

5.  Be Silent – Set aside time regularly to be silent, you’ll be surprised at the rest your body and mind  will find as some perceive silence as a way to conserve prana, energy. Note how this allows energy for your creative side whether it is merely contemplative thoughts or quiet time to engage in actively creating.

6.  Change Your Perspective – Whether you choose to do your yoga practice in a different place, be courageous to trust your body to try new asanas, eat in a new restaurant, volunteer, travel to a new destination, or take a new route to work, changing the path of what is typical will allow you to shift your perspective.  Our world is defined by what we have seen and experienced and there is so much more to learn and to appreciate. Our sense of compassion and empathy will grow tremendously when we allow ourselves to grow our awareness of the world we live in.

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day from Essential Yoga Practice!

Love will save the day, every day, as we recognize that all of us, to some degree practice Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of love and devotion. Furthermore, as all of life is a “practice,” let us resolve to practice Bhakti yoga all the more, and especially on this great day that honors “love, the mother of all emotions.”  Bhakti yoga is not always easy and upbeat; rather it requires courage to face our true selves, even the hard and scary places, and offer ourselves to the Divine. It challenges our willingness to be dedicated and to surrender all parts of our life as an act of worship.  It recognizes that all of life is a spiritual practice laced with the challenge to evolve as we learn from our experiences while sharing our gifts.

The Upanishad’s tell us that we do not love others for their own sake but for the Divine that dwells within them. Therefore, bhakti is intense love for God/Higher Power, that which is eternal and constant.  In the practice of bhakti yoga we use all of our senses, emotions and actions to manifest in expressing love throughout our daily actions and relationships, as an offering of devotion to God/Higher Power.  Whether you are folding the laundry, guiding your children, working a stressful job or practicing meditation, do it with love.  On occasion we find ourselves in a hard corner, where our efforts have been challenged and we are empty. When we give in, still with awareness, we are surrendering to “our higher Self,” the Divine within us, an internal, humble surrender that allows us to receive Grace.  Here is where we find renewal in the illuminating light of the Divine, showing us the way out of the corner.  We fall and rise from such hard times throughout life, yet if we are aware, we can embrace the opportunity to receive Grace in a greater capacity each time, overcoming hurdles, as our journey toward enlightenment progresses. This is motivation in itself to deepen our practice. 

Thus, here at Essential Yoga Practice, in this month where we are focusing on intention and awareness, we have arrived at this: if we learn to expand our awareness in our devotional habits, perhaps we can invoke a life of love, happiness, acceptance and peace, for ourselves and for our loved ones. 

We have created a Valentine blend as our February 2018 giveaway.  Share and comment on our social media to be eligible to win an exotic, and mesmerizing blend that will “hold you” and warm your spirit.