SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
dog days of summer cooling tips
Posted on August 17th, 2018
Given the speed and intensity with which climate change is moving, I’ve been getting increasingly involved in climate action and ways to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Those of you who are on Facebook, may have seen my recent posts about my plastic free journey which has intensified in the past month. Challenging and eye opening, this plastic free journey has awakened my mind to innovation, visioning, and community in ways that I had not anticipated. I feel very inspired and hopeful that we can shift this! The ocean & the Earth needs our help now!
One of the environmental organizations that I have been working with is 350 Brrooklyn. At our last monthly meeting, we were asked to share with each other ways that we were keeping cool this Summer without relying air conditioning which uses an excess of energy. As I turned to the people sitting next to me, I first I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer, but then I realized that I have a plethora of cooling techniques from my Ayurveda and yoga knowledge. I proceeded to show them Sitali pranayama, a simple breathing practice that cools your body and mind. It is incredible for the Summer when our Pitta Dosha, the fire element, goes out of balance. In our increasingly heated world, Sitali Pranayama is a great practice to know, as you can do it anywhere, at anytime, and it works immediately. My new friends at the 350 Brooklyn meeting loved it! We were then asked to share our tips with the whole group. So I taught the whole group Sitali Pranayama and they loved it to! By the looks on their faces, I’m sure it was the first time they had ever tried something like this at their meetings, and there was alot of laughter as everyone tried curling their tongues and sipping in the air. But they were amazed at how cool their tongues felt after just a few breaths and how that cool feeling spread through their bodies. Try Sitali Pranayama in these dog days of Summer when the heat and humidity feel overwhelming.
How To Practice Sitali
- Sit in a comfortable position with the head, neck, and spine in alignment.
- Close your eyes, breathe into the low belly (diaphramatic breathing) to relax
- Curl your tongue and put it out of your mouth.
- Inhale through the tongue and into the mouth. It feels a bit like you are sipping through a straw – a stainless steel straw, of course!
- Draw the tongue back into your mouth, close your mouth and exhale through the nostrils.
- Repeat 10 times
Keep it cool!
Waterfall of thoughts
Posted on August 17th, 2015
Rejuvenate your being through mantra, and sonic marma healing. Join us for our second weekend in Yoga Sukhavati, Art of Sound module-HEALING POWER OF SOUND, Oct 3-4.
Our modern lives are filled with excess of every kind. Perhaps central to all of this is our excessive mental chatter. Our minds are constantly spinning with obsessions, worry, fear, anxiety, excessive thoughts and repetitive habitual mind agitations of all sorts. This mind chatter can be so loud, persistent and overwhelming that it is often referred to in meditation as a “waterfall of thoughts”. Not a sweet waterfall, but the roaring, deafening kind! Ekhart Tolle, author of the “The Power of Now” has a wonderful story about this. One day he was walking one day behind this homeless person who was spewing out a non-stop crazy monologue. At first Ekhart was disturbed by the man’s ramblings. Then he had a realization that in some way, he was quite similar to this man-that he too had a constant monologue going on inside his head. He chuckled to himself as he realized that the only difference was that the homeless person was speaking his monologue out loud and Ekhart was just spinning his monologue inside his head.
Scattered, fragmented, obsessive, repetitive thoughts and disjointed rambling speech are signs that our heart-mind is out of balance. I think that would be most of us alot of the time! The wisdom of Chinese Medicine encourages us to nourish our heart and small intestine in the Summer months when these organs & meridians are particularly affected. The heart-mind is said to sprout at the tongue. One of the most powerful ways to nurture and calm the heart-mind is through the power of sound. Mantra practice is a potent sonic healing. The Sanskrit word mantra is derived from “manas”-mind and “tra”- tool. It is a tool for the mind, one of the most powerful means to calm the mind. They are often referred to as mind protection. Mantras power comes not from the meaning of the words but from the energetic effect they have on the physical and subtle body.
“Mantras break-up unhealthy or negative energy patterns stored in the physical and subtle bodies and help create new, positive energy patterns. This “clean” energy animates the body and mind and can act as a magnet for other positive energy to come into your life.”
“Mantra allows the chakras to “switch on” safely and to operate at a higher “wattage.” When we practice Sanskrit mantra, we increase the ability of the chakras to hold a spiritual charge. It is as if a 25-watt bulb becomes able to hold 50 watts, then 100 watts, 500 watts, 1,000 watts. Mantra’s power derives not from any particular meaning that their syllables convey, but from the vibrational effect the create when they are pronounced repeatedly…when we focus the sound vibration of mantra with a consciously held intent, we can even direct its energy (prana) to specific parts of the body.” (Thomas Ashley Farland)
I have worked alot with sound to help me unravel stuck areas in my being that I am not able to reach through asana or other means. The healing power of the sonic vibrations of sound is very potent. This Summer I have been working deeply with a Ganesh mantra. I often open my classes with this chant as well as do it in my personal practice. But this Summer I decided to do the full traditional 40 day practice of 108 recitations per day. My intention was to create groundedness and stability in my life particularly in the financial realm. I am truly amazed at how quickly things started shifting and stabilizing! New opportunities have presented themselves and I’ve been releasing old patterns that create instability in my mind and life.
MAHA GANAPATI MOOL MANTRA
Om srim hrim klim glaum gam ganapataye svaha
“May the abundance-producing, great remover of obstacles, that transcends this apparent reality bring all things that concern me under my control.”
It brings me great joy to share some of these sound practices with you through our second weekend of Yoga Sukhavati: HEALING POWER OF SOUND, Oct 3, 4. Amanda Capobianco will be offering her fabulous workshop-Demystifying Mantra: A Practical Approach to an Ancient Technology. I will be offering workshops on “Awaken the voice of the teacher” and “Sonic Marma Healing.” Join us for for a powerful weekend of sound exploration and healing!
Sing to your hearts content
Posted on June 16th, 2015
Open up your voice and sing from your heart to infuse your spirit with the joyful abundance of Summer.
I took this picture when I was in Thailand in 2014 studying Thai massage with master teacher, Pichest Boonthumee. My favorite thing to do when traveling in Asia is to get up early and walk through the open air markets. The streets and markets are buzzing with life and vitality. Our first day studying thai massage with Pichet, we were to arrive at 9am with offerings- flowers, incense, and fruit. So I got up early and went to the market. I was mesmorized by the intricate beautiful flower offerings that were on display. People of all walks of life were purchasing them on their way to work. The daily flower art offerings hung everywhere, on the mirror in the rickshaws, on the bow of the boats, in the restaurants, on the spirit houses and temples. Gratitude in the form of these beautiful ephemeral works of flower art were lusciously everywhere. They make me so happy.
As the Summer solstice is here, I share with you the beauty of these flower offerings. Our gardens are blooming and the bounty of the Summer is shining everywhere. According to Chinese Medicine, Summer is the time to nourish the heart and small intestine. When talking about the heart, Chinese medicine includes the physical heart as well as the mind or consciousness of our being. The heart circulates the blood through the body, houses the spirit, and is responsible for maintaining awareness. The heart-mind is said to sprout at the tongue. Speech and song emerge from the heart center as fragrant blossoms emerging from the stem and root. I am reminded of our phrase in English “Sing to your heart’s content”.
People with a balanced heart-mind shine not only through their generous, joyous, loving presence but also through their clarity of speech and thought. They are good communicators, highly articulate and aware. For most of us, unfortunately, our heart-mind’s are scattered and confused. Constant media stimulus and the fragmentation of our modern lives leaves us with frighteningly short attention spans, and a constant stream of agitated, anxious thoughts whirling in our mind. Our thoughts become diffused, disjointed, and our speech confused or rambling. These are signs that our heart-mind is out of balance.
To strengthen the heart-mind and gather your scattered thoughts, sing and explore voice centered practices this Summer. It is the perfect time to delve into the beautiful Indian devotional chanting practices of kirtan, and mantra. Chanting in the sacred language of Sanskrit helps focus your mind and invites forward your innate state of spaciousness, clarity and pure awareness. Chanting is like a vibrational form of flower offerings-strings of sacred sound garlands offered from the heart.
“The word mantra is derived from the words manama (‘thinking’) and trana ( ‘liberation’). In other words, a mantra is a potent form of thought, an instrument of conscious intention.
Georg Feuerstein, “The Yoga Tradition”
‘Because the mantra is an expression of a more evolved consciousness, it offers a unique link with that higher level. For this reason, it not only makes the path to higher consciousness clearer by replacing interfering thoughts, its gradual incorporation pulls consciousness toward that state.’”
Swami Rama, “Yoga & Psychotherapy”
Join us for joyful sonic explorations this Summer through our Art of Sound Module!