Ferndale Yoga, massage, meditation and wellness
Often times life can get in the way of getting a good night's sleep. We rest our head down after a long day, and our minds can't help but run through the never ending to-do list in our minds. That mind chatter, we call chitta, also called monkey brain can be a hard one to train. Perhaps we like to run stories over and over of our day, of yesterday, or what we hope for for tomorrow. It's when we realize that everything swirling around in our minds will be there tomorrow that we can take the power away from those thoughts and get some good shut eye.
So much happens when we sleep-our tissues repair, our body heals, our short term memory gets logged into long term. Lack of quality sleep can not only make us cranky the next day but have an effect on our overall health. If you have a hard time 'turning it off' when you lay down to rest, I suggest keeping a notebook or journal next to your bed. If certain thoughts, stories or ideas keep coming up, then first pay attention. Give them the attention they seek, and then write them down, get them out of you. Say, I see you. I know you'll still be here when I get up in the morning, but for now I'll leave you here. I shall return to you when I'm ready to give you my energy.
Gratitude journals are also a great way to end that day. Write down everything you were grateful for that day, only let the good things take precedence. Lay your head down in a peaceful state, not agitated or distracted by things that went wrong. Television and electronics are of course not ideal to have on to fall asleep, and if left on you will not get quality sleep. Even though you may be sleeping your brain is still in some way active and aware of the sounds and light around you.
Find what works best for you, and I've written this mediation to help wind down your mind and prepare for a good night's sleep, Enjoy!
Tara-The Goddess of Compassion
Om, Tara. Tu Tara. Turey. Swaha
We all have hard times in life. Personal struggles, illness, watching loved ones suffer, terrible things going on in the world..... and we feel can helpless. Even if we are good at putting on a brave face and being the rock for ourselves and others, we need to hold space for ourselves and offer compassion. I've faced struggles in my life, suffered great anxiety, trepidation and more like most of us have. And according to the first of the four Noble Truths in Buddhism, life is dukkha-which has many meanings including suffering, stress, and impermanence. It's what we all need to go through to reach Enlightenment. And before I had some of the tools I have now it was much harder to hold that space, not understanding some of the suffering that happens in this world.
I found I can take solace in my yoga asana and meditation practice. My mat, that tiny little space where so many transformational and powerful things can happen, is always there to catch me when I fall. In times of sadness or sorrow we can tap into the ultimate source, find our connection to everything in the Universe and know that we are not alone. Gods, Goddesses and Deities can be called upon for support. These are often archetypes possessing attributes we hold within ourselves, we may just need help in finding them. For anything we ever need is already within us, we simply need to turn within and and let our own inner light guide the way.
Tara is a Goddess of Peace and Compassion. Honored by Hindus, Buddhists and Tibetans alike, she is the Mother Creator who can offer us protection and navigate us when confronted with obstacles. She holds many forms across the world; connected to the Chinese Goddess of Compassion Kuan Yin as well as the Egyptians, the Celts and people all across the globe. She's available in one way or another to all who call upon her. She embodies feminine strength and offers us the courage to prevail over stressful and troubling times, gifting a long life and the ability to work selflessly for the betterment of others. There are said to be 21 Taras, varying in color and attributes for what we may need to call upon from peaceful to auspicious to even wrathful.
So when we find ourselves holding onto fear, stress or even anger, we can call upon not only ourselves but those who came before us but who still remain. Energy makes up the entire Universe, none is created nor destroyed but forever in transformation. We are all the clouds, the sea, the stars and the Gods-and when we can feel that connection in our hearts we can be the ones who wrap our arms around the world in compassion and love.
If you've been to any of my yoga classes chances are I've offered the class a mudra to get settled in our beginning meditation. Mudras, Sanskrit for 'seal', are symbolic gestures made with the hands and fingers used in many Indian religions. A visual language, this form of wordless communication helps to realign and direct the energy in the body, mind, and spirt for connections and healing. Often used in yoga as well as meditation, you may use mudras on their own or along with pranayama, or breathing techniques, to cultivate a correct flow of prana in the body. Here are 6 mudras you can use every day to relax, reflect, restore and renew from one of my favorite resources, 72 Yoga Mudras of Yoga by Cain and Revital Carrol.
Anjali Mudra-The Mudra of Intention & Reverence
You most often hear yoga instructors speak of this mudra throughout class, hands placed in a prayer position in front of the chest, followed by the word 'Namaste.' Allow the palms and fingers to touch, rest the base of your thumbs on your sternum and hold in front of your heart. This symbolic gesture seals our intention, invokes devotion, and connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Anjali mudra is a beautiful way to cultivate reverence; as symbol of honor to those around you and as well as respect for yourself. During yoga or meditation, use this mudra while tuning into your breath and set a positive intention. Settle into your calm center and connect all aspects of yourself-body, mind and spirit. I often raise my hands and rest the base of my thumbs on my Anja Chakra, or Third Eye for added guidance and intuition.
Shankhavarta Mudra-The Mudra of Inner Stillness & Intuition
Begin with palms in Anjali mudra and hold slightly away from the chest. Keep finder tips connected then press palms away from one another and drop the right first finger towards the center. Invoke inner stillness, holding this mudra in front of the heart. As you allow the outside influences of the world to melt away, open up the heart and the mind to simply be present and listen. Connect with your own inner teachings on what's true in your heart and soul.
Garuda Mudra-The Mudra of Fierceness and Protection
Hold hands in front of you, palms facing the chest. Cross left hand over the right (left hand furthest away from you) and interlock the thumbs. Stretch the remaining fingers out like the wing span of a bird-Garuda is a fierce, eagle-type creature. Relax the shoulders and allow the elbows to sink down by the rib cage. Hands can reach down to settle in front of the space above the navel. This area is know as the Manipura Chakra, a place of personal power. Use this mudra when depleted of energy to spark the fire in the belly and surround yourself with protection. Hold, breathe, and stoke the fire of your inner awesomeness to take on anything.
Panchamukha Mudra-The Mudra of Memory & Healing
Begin in Anjali Mudra, then press palms away keeping the fingertips connected and hollowing out the palms of the hands. This mudra is said to enhance our memory retention and improve our concentration. Close your eyes and begin to sharpen your awareness, noticing subtle movements in the body. Concentrate on your breath, how the body responds as you breathe, and tap into the body's natural healing abilities. Use this mudra before a big test, presentation or to simply keep the mind sharp and offer healing.
Sahasrara Mudra-The Crown Chakra Mudra
Sahasrara is Sanskrit for 'Thousand-Petalled Lotus', our highest self Chakra or energy center located above the crown of the head. Hold your hands with palms facing away from you, join the first fingers and the thumbs to form a diamond shape. Either standing or sitting, hold this mudra above the head and imagine a divine, white light above your head. Our crown chakra is our oneness, our connection to the divine. Connect to your highest spiritual self and draw a sense of calmness into your spirit. This mudra is also said to reduce headaches and improve brain function.
Samputa Mudra-Connect to your True Nature Mudra
Samputa means 'bud' or 'vessel' in Sanskrit. Join the hands in front of the chest with thumbs resting side by side. Keeping tips of fingers connected hollow out a small space in between the hands; like you're holding a baby bird or mouse, gently tuck thumbs in the hollowed space. Gently lengthen through the back of the neck and drawn chin down towards the chest. Use this mudra to help balance all 5 elements, reduce mental and emotional suffering and connect with your true Original Nature.
Padma Mudra-The Grounding Mudra
Start in Anjali mudra, keep the thumbs and tips of pinkys connected the spread the hands and other fingers apart-keep the base of the hands connected. Padma means 'lotus flower' and it resembles a blooming flower. The lotus signifies grounding, and this mudra helps to weaken ego grasping and settles the mind. Use to balance the immune system and ignite spiritual devotion.
Use these tools to help connect with yourself and offer strength and healing. Remember every day that you have the power take charge and renew, giving your soul a peaceful place to dwell. Namaste. Get the full deck of Yoga Mudra cards on Amazon-it's a great resource!
When life gets overwhelming and we find ourselves stressed and scattered, allow yourself some time (if only a few minutes!) to focus on gratitude and to offer yourself some kindness. Turn off your phone, power down the PC, and for Pete's sake turn off the election coverage! We can too easily allow ourselves to get consumed in the chaos. Find a comfortable spot, make some tea, and take some time to reboot. (I am taking my own advice as I write this blog, CNN has captured way to much of my attention & heightened my stress level today!) Start to settle into a quiet space within yourself & away from the turmoil of the outside world. Allow your eyes to gently close and begin to tune into your breath. Start to connect with the rhythm of your breath moving in and out of your lungs, noticing how the body expands and then contracts. Allow the breath to regulate and hone in on any tension. Smooth over your forehead, soften your jaw. Begin to work with your breath to ease any stress or tension clinging to you or your thoughts. Begin to let the mind settle down, and start to draw gratitude into your heart space with each breath in and out. Start to bring to mind anything you are grateful for from today. A sunny morning, no traffic on your commute, the person in front of you picking up the tab for your coffee....allow the good things take precedence. Think of the people in your life you are thankful for, sending them well wishes. Draw in gratitude for the automatic functioning of your lungs, allowing fresh oxygen to nourish your body. Give thanks for your legs and your feet for taking you everywhere you wanted to go today.....for your eyes for all that they see......for your mouth and your throat, allowing you to communicate with others. Continue to draw gratitude into your heart with your breath, thanking your intuition for guiding you along the way and keeping you safe. Give thanks for your mind and the ability to make decisions and live a full, rich life. And finally give thanks to yourself, for all that you do each day. For showing up to take care of yourself and of others.......for all that you have.....and for all that you are. When life gets us down or stressed sometimes all it takes is a little shift in perspective to show us that everything is ok. :) Namaste.
Hello lovelies. I hope you enjoy my journey of discovering my magick and Divine Feminine along with health, wealth of spirit and evolution. I am happy to share my experiences with you to heal, love, and evolve. Namaste-Heather Rae