lotus flower

lotus flower

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Seventh Law of Yoga: The Law of Dharma from Lee Ann

The 7th Spiritual Law of Yoga: the Law of Dharma

When your life is an expression of your deepest purpose, you are energized and enthusiastic because you are connected to the creative flow of the universe.  Your actions bring fulfillment to you and benefit everyone affected by your choices.
"Yoga found that the most reliable way to live fully is to discover our own dharma - and to do it full out.  To bring everything we've got the the task.
To live fully committed to the gifts that have been freely given us, to cultivate them into a state of profound mastery - and to dedicate our mastery to something bigger than ourselves... In the authentic development of these gifts, we will both find ourselves and transcend ourselves at the same time." ~ Stephen Cope
We commonly use the word DHARMA to "mean purpose in life."
Another meaning of the work is "essence."  Your essence is the heart of your existence.  Your dharma is the essence of who you are. From your essences arise your intentions.  Your intentions drive your thoughts.  Your thoughts give rise to your words.  Your words are translated into actions - into habits of behavior.  Your habits of behavior manifest as your contribution to the world.  This is your dharma.
Although we all have a unique purpose in life, discovering what that is can feel daunting - and actualizing it can be even more challenging.  yet the answers we seek are always within.  We just need to quiet ourselves long enough to hear what our soul is telling us.
Before you meditate or spend time in silence today, ask yourself: What is my dharma?  How can I help others?  How can I serve?  As your mind becomes still, you will be able to hear the wisdom and guidance of your inner self.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The 6th Spiritual Law of Yoga: the Law of Detachment

You have control over your actions and choices but not over their consequences.  Knowing this, you can step in the direction that seems most evolutionary and trust that either you will get what you want or you will learn something of great value.
"He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing: detachment." ~ Meister Eckhart
Many wisdom traditions teach that the path to happiness and spiritual enlightenment lies in letting go of attachment.  This doesn't mean renouncing your desires or living the life of an ascetic.  Instead, you set an intention then relinquish your attachment to the outcome.  The Bhagavad Gita states,
"Yoga is perfect evenness of mind.  Seek refuge in the attitude of detachment and you will amass the wealth of spiritual awareness.  Those who are motivated only be desire for the fruits of action are miserable, for they are constantly anxious about the results of what they do.  When consciousness is unified, however, all vain anxiety is left behind.  There is no cause for worry, whether things go well or ill.  Therefore, devote yourself to the disciplines of yoga, for yoga is skill in action."
Attachment is based on fear and insecurity.  When you forget your true self - which is pure consciousness, pure potentiality - you begin to believe that you need something outside of yourself to make you happy.  At a deep level, however, you know that happiness can be lost and therefore has the potential to bring you pain.  The only way out of this dilemma is releasing your attachment to a specific result.
Today, step into the field of all possibilities, set your intentions, take action, and let the universe take care of the outcome.
source: The Chopra Center 21 Days of Inspiration

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yogic Inspiration from Lee Ann: The Fifth Law of Yoga, The Law of Intention & Desire

Everything in the universe consists of energy and information - including you.  When you quiet your mind and introduce your intentions into the field of pure potentiality, you harness the infinite organzing power of the universe to achieve your desires.
"A wave of individuality rises from the unbounded ocean, and for a time, forgets that it is the ocean in disguise.  When the wave begins looking inside, the memory of wholeness is rekindled, and the wave again knows itself as unbounded, infinite, and eternal."
~David Simon
For more than five thousand years, the Vedic masters of India have taught that our essential nature is infinite, whole, and eternal.  We have an innate impulse to grow and create health and fulfillment.  To fully experience these gifts, we need to embrace a holistic understanding of life that considers the whole person - the mind, body, and soul.  Just as the planet's ecosystems are interdependent, the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of our lives are intimately connected.  When one system is out of balance, it affects the functioning of the whole.
From this holistic perspective, health isn't merely the absence of illness or symptoms: it's a higher state of consciousness that allows vitality, well-being, creativity, and joy to flow into our experience.  As we shift into this higher awareness, we see that we aren't our bodies, our possessions, our titles, our circumstances or our relationships.  We're spiritual beings in the eternal unfolding of life, and our natural state is wholeness.
Practice seeing beyond the masks of individuality.  Look into the eyes of the people you encounter today and see the reflections of your soul.
om Love, om Laughter,
Lee Ann
excerpts from: The Chopra Center 21 - Days of Inspiration

Set Your Sights On Expanding Love & Acceptance to Achieve True Happiness: The 4th Law of Yoga

The Fourth Law of Yoga: The Law of Least Effort 

When your actions are motivated by love, your energy multiplies and you're able to create anything you want.  When you seek power and control over others, you waste energy chasing the illusion of happiness.  Set your intentions on expanding love and you will be able to manifest your desires with effortless ease.
"The softest of stuff in the world quickly penetrates the hardest.  Insubstantial, it enters where no room is."
When everything is flowing according to our idea of how things should be, it's easy to feel in harmony with the rhythms of the universe.  When there is a lack of alignment between what we want and how our life is unfolding, we're more likely to feel disharmony, stress, or frustration.  yet it is our resistance to what is happening in the present moment that intensifies our distress. Whether we're getting a root canal or finding out that we've lost our job, our fear and the frightening stories we tell ourselves about our situation magnify our pain.
The present moment is not always easy to accept, but learning to listen to the sensations in our body and the message they are sending will calm our emotional turbulence and ultimately will enable us to benefit from the experience.
Connect to your body, accept this moment, know that change is inevitable, and become clear on what you would like to see manifest.   Your ability to co-create the next moment requires acceptance of the present.
Om shanti, om peace, 
Lee Ann

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

We Have the Power to Make Choices For Ourselves. Harness it!

The 3rd Law of Yoga: The Law of Karma/ or Cause and Effect

You are an infinite choice maker.  Instead of reacting in the habitual, conditioned ways, you can make conscious choices that bring greater happiness to yourself and those around you.
"Have your attention on what is and see the fullness in every moment.  The presence of the divine is everywhere.  You have only to consiously embrace it with your attention." ~The Vedas
Each of us is an inextricable part of the conscious intelligence field that gives rise to everything in the universe.  Since we are an inseparable part of this underlying field of intelligence, we are also the source of all reality.  In every moment, we are co-creating our world with God, the universe, or spirit.
Both the ancient wisdom traditions and modern science tell us that our bodies, our minds, and the physical world are projections of our consciousness. Only consciousness is real; everything else is its projection.
An ancient Vedic saying states, "You are not in the world; the world is in you."  It is only the veil of illusion - known as MAYA in the ancient yogic tradition - that keeps us from seeing that everything is pure consciousness.
When we pierce the veil, we discover the spirit in everything and have access to unlimited creative potential.
Today explore the conscious intelligence field and begin to see yourself as a co-creator of your own experience.
Lee Ann
[source: The Chopra Center: 21 Days of Inspiration]

Inspiring Article About Finding "Drishti" in Yoga & in Life

I stumbled upon this article today while seeking to learn about "drishti" in yoga practice. What I found what an eye-opening perspective about balancing in your own life and finding your drishti in a metaphorical sense. After reading this article, think about how you can use a drishti in your life to keep your eyes on the prize, heart on the simple things, & to find balance between your body, mind and soul. 

Lee Ann practicing precise balance, set on her "drishti". 

"Last week, before I walked into class, I was feeling a bit off (my mind was swirling with thoughts, doubts & fears) and life just seemed…chaotic. I knew I could resort to my yoga mat to find some answers, some clarity.

During class, the instructor was taking us through a tree pose series and encouraged us to find or drishti for balance. Suddenly, I looked up and saw a beautiful, odd little elephant figure by the window with the sun subtly shining in, and thought That’s it. From that point on, suddenly my worries and fears from the outside world didn’t seem to matter. I was here, I was present, I was living in the now to its truest form.
In yoga or meditation, "finding your drishti” is a technique involving focusing on one point or object for greater concentration or balance, in my case the elephant. But if you take it into everyday life, I like to think of it as simply living in the now, experiencing life to its finest.

It’s finding peace with the past and slowing your mind down when it starts spiraling into a bout of future-tripping.

You see, it’s easy to get caught up in the ups & downs and crazy obstacles the universe sometimes throws at us. But if you pause for a moment and simply focus on where you are right in this moment,things become a little brighter, a little more OK.
These next couple weeks, I’m attempting to focus on finding my drishti beyond yoga practice and meditation, and I’d love for you ladies to join me. It may be as simple as taking a deep breath on the verge of breakdown, finding the joy in watching your children play or observing the first flower bloom for spring. Or it may mean closing your eyes to find peace in the now, or journaling your feelings before bed.

How can you find your drishti in everyday life? In what ways do you practice focusing on the NOW?" 
From Rachel at this URL: http://healthy-chicks.com/2014/03/16/on-finding-your-drishti-in-yoga-in-life/  "The Healthy Chicks" blog

Yoga can help us in so many ways. Get to your mat today & keep yours eyes on your drishti!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The MELT Method Endorsed By Dr. Oz Coming to Our Center

If you haven't yet heard of the MELT Method, now is a great opportunity to learn about it! Dr Oz endorses this method as a powerful technique and promotes the book, "The MELT Method" written by Sure Hitzmann The book details the breakthrough self-treatment system to eliminate chronic pain, erase some signs of again, and help your feel more energized and revived. This practice is coming to Yoga Center for Healthy Living on Saturday, June 28th. Come see what magazines, celebrities and more have been raving about and do your body some healing good! <3 

Saturday, June 28th at 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
As demonstrated on Dr. Oz, and featured in the May Issue of Prevention Magazine.*
This "Introduction to MELT" 90 min. workshop will allow you to experience the small balls and soft rollers used to gently hydrate connective tissue and re-balance your nervous system.  As a bonus, we will practice the anti-aging "MELT 50 second facelift" recently shown on The Rachel Ray show!
-Must preregister ASAP, $35
-Please bring a thin yoga mat & drink water before class.  Equipment will be provided for use during the class & available for purchase.
-Learn more: www.meltmethodmichigan.com
*All participants should be able to get on & off the floor, lie on their backs for short periods of time + on a soft foam roller.  If any condition prevents your from  this, please book a private sessions with advanced MELT instructor, Virgina Larioza where modifications can be made to suit your needs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wise Words about the 2nd Law of Yoga from Lee Ann

The Law of Giving and Receiving

The best gift you can give is to leave someone feeling a little lighter than he or she was before your interaction.  When your intention is to expand happiness, every action of either giving or receiving becomes nurturing and fulfilling.
"Today I will open the door of my calmness and let the footsteps of Silence gently enter all of my activities.  I will perform all duties serenely, saturated with peace." ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
The greatest contribution we can make to the well-being of those in our lives is to have peace in our own hearts.  Our state of being broadcasts expansion or contraction to every sentient creature within our midst.  When our hearts are filled with gratitude and our minds are brimming with enthusiasm, everyone we encounter leaves our space feeling a little bit lighter than when they entered it.
As we expend less energy upholding our self-importance, we gain access to the creative and nurturing flow of our own nature.  Reverence for life and simple appreciation for the gift of living subtly remind others not to take themselves too seriously.  Cultivating an inner attitude of ease and acceptance, we ride the inevitable waves of life with passion and wonder.
Knowing at the core of your being that life moves from the shore of beginnings to endings, and back again, you can relax and enjoy the ride.  When the water is turbulent, remind yourself and the others on your boat to
om shanti, om love,
Lee  Ann

Friday, June 20, 2014

And the Winner of the Yoga Selfie Raffle Contest is....

My son was the lucky drawer of this raffle contest and the winner is....


Thank you to everyone you participated in this contest! It was great to see your determination in yoga and your participation with us on Facebook and Twitter! :) Sarah, congratulations! It looks like the odds were ever in your favor! You've won 5 FREE Yoga classes to Yoga Center for Healthy Living. See Lee Ann to collect your prize. 

To everyone else, thank you SO MUCH for participating! We will be having many monthly contests to come and hope to see even more great participation next time! Oh and we do have some great prizes lined up, so stay tuned! :)

Here's the tally of every Selfie we collected between May 19 through June 19 on the Facebook page and Twitter:

Thea Hamman had 10 entries- way to go Thea, Zara and her baby bump! :)
Linda Beahm had 1 entry
Sarah Atkeson had 3 entries, and won with her third and final entry! Go figure :)
Greg Hargrave had 1 entry
Mary Kathryn Keith had 1 entry
Susan McKenzie had 1 entry

Thanks again to all who entered and a big congratulations for you Sarah! Happy Friday all! :D

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Backtracking to the First Law of Yoga: The Law of Pure Potentiality, Words of Wisdom from LeeAnn

The 1st Law of Yoga: The Law of Pure Potentiality 
If you want to experience expansion, you need to broaden your understanding of who you really are.  Any time you say, "I am____," pause for a moment and ask yourself, "Is that really true?"  In reality, you are much more than you can imagine.  You are pure potentiality, infinite possibilities, and unbounded awareness.
"Every creative act involves a new innocence of perception liberated from the cataract of accepted belief." ~ Arthur Koestler
Perhaps the greatest myth about creativity is the idea that it's a rare gift or genetic endowment possessed by only a few.  We feel moved to our core by a piece of music or read about an incredible scientific discovery and mistakenly conclude that some people are born with creative talent while others are not.
In reality, each of us in infinitely creative.  In every moment we are using our intentions, thoughts, and attention to create the world we experience.
One fo the most powerful ways to tap into your deepest potential and creative reservoirs is meditation.  When you meditate, you access the field of pure potentiality that is the source of all inspiration and everything else in the universe.  You go beyond your mind's repetitive thought traffic into the silence and peace of pure awareness.  This stillness refreshes and cams the mind, allowing new ideas and insights to spontaneously emerge.
Today, instead of relying on sheer effort and the ego's limited resources, quiet your mind and open to the infinite source of all possibilities.
om shanti, om peace, om pure potentiality,
om love,
Lee Ann

Monday, June 16, 2014

5 Reasons Teens/Tweens Should Practice Yoga

We live in a busy, changing world that's difficult for even the most cunning adult to navigate. Yoga is a practice that is beneficial to our bodies, minds and souls and the list of benefits to everyday life goes on and on. Teenagers and those in between (tweens) have to deal with radical changes as they enter adulthood- changes to their bodies, social lives, emotions, hormones and more. These changes and "awkward" stages for teens can leave them feeling stressed, anxious or even depressed, especially when they have no outlet to cope. Teen yoga is extremely effective in helping teenagers not only strengthen and heal their bodies, but also temper emotional, social and mental woes they may face. Here are 5 reasons why teens and tweens should practice yoga:

1) Building confidence and self-esteem. This is the age of awkwardness for most, because the body and mind are rapidly developing and kids are walking the bridge into adulthood. Trying to fit in at school, juggling their increasingly difficult schoolwork, balancing family life and social life can all lead to teens feeling a bit lost and unsettled. These feelings can be conquered by practicing yoga. Self-doubt is set aside on a yoga mat and all that's left is will and effort. Teens may be afraid to look silly doing a pose or fear they are not flexible enough for yoga, but once they see the true strength of their bodies, they overcome the fear. Fear is then replaced with confidence and self-esteem, which can be applied in all aspects of their life. Yoga helps teens to feel more confident and able, who wouldn't want that for their child?

2) Stress and anxiety relief. Yoga helps relieve stress and anxiety for adults, so why wouldn't it for teens? Well, it does and chances are your teen is having more anxiety and stress than you may think. Changing schools, changing bodies, changing everything leaves teens feeling unstable and often times helpless, which can lead to anxiety and stress. Stress has many strange effects on the body and can make it difficult to cope with typical situations. Practicing yoga restores confidence and strength, and helps replace negative feelings with positive ones. Once they get into a yoga routine, your teen will find that he or she is not only eliminating stress while they practice, but that they use the techniques from the mat to apply to everyday life. Things like breathing and mindfulness may be new ideas to them that can be used in any situation that warrants it.

3) Fitness during crucial development. Exercise is good for the body, we all know this to be true. Although yoga has a much deeper mental and emotional connection than other types of fitness, it is still a form of exercise. Keeping the body healthy and fit is important no matter what stage of life you're in but as a teen/tween practicing healthy habits is very important because it's a time of crucial brain and body development. The mindfulness and fitness that comes with yoga is great for growing and changing bodies and minds.

4) Relationship building. Yoga can awaken things in our minds and bodies that we never knew were there. It can help give us the confidence to foster new relationships and see things from a different perspective. Sometimes this is just what kids need to form healthy friendships! Yoga also gives them the mindfulness to see people for what they are, and can help them make friends with people of positive influence. Encourage your teen or tween to bring a friend or a few to teen yoga with them. They will form a support system for each other, which will significantly boost confidence and quality of relationships in the future.

5) Breaking away from technology. During a yoga session, we leave our busy lives outside and focus on our body and mind. These days with technology so available it may be hard to get your teen or tween off their phone, computer or laptop. They start to feel self satisfaction in things like "likes" or "friend requests" and incorporate their virtual life into their emotions. Yoga is a great time for them to disconnect from the world of technology and to bring them into the present. It may not encourage them to stop texting, but it may just give them realization next time they are staring at a computer screen. Even if only for a class, disconnecting from technology is good for growing young adults.

We offer a Teen/Tween yoga series that starts this Thursday, June 19th from 11:30am-12:30pm. This series is 5 classes long for only $50! Enroll your teen now and reap the benefits of yoga for their growing bodies, minds and souls. Thursday, June 19; 26th; July 10; 17th; 24 http://yogacenterbrighton.com/events/

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The 7th Law of Yoga: The Law of Dharma from Lee Ann

The universe is always sending you messages that tell you whether you're in your dharma or have become sidetracked.  When you're living out your true purpose, events seem to conspire in your favor and you find it easy to move forward.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
As if this activity is the axis
On which the whole earth revolves.
Live the moment.
Only this actual moment is life."
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Where is your mind centered right at this moment? Are you thinking about something that happened earlier or about your plans or upcoming events?
Most of the time our mind is immersed in the past or projecting into the future.  It's rare that our whole being drifts to the present moment...the here and now, so delicately sandwiched between our past experiences and future dreams.
Just for this moment, bring your awareness to the beauty, richness, and sanctity of the sacred present.  Close your eyes and breathe in and out.  As your mind drifts to past events or meanders to thoughts about the future, gently come back to your breath.  With each inhalation and each exhalation you can bring yourself back to the present.  Stop reading these words and try it now for a few moments.
Using mindfulness tools like breath awareness, meditation, yoga, and the intention to be present in each moment, you can further explore the possibilities.
What would it feel like to be completely connected to spirit in each moment?  Not reliving the past or projecting into the future but simply allowing yourself to be ... breath by breath.  Sweetly present to whatever the universe has planned.
om shanti, om peace, om present moment awareness,
Lee Ann
source: The Chopra Center's 21 Days of Inspiration

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

8 Natural Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

We live in a stressful world, folks. Each and every one of us has experienced the feeling of being stressed, overwhelmed or anxious at one time or another. Sometimes stress becomes so bad that it not only affects our mental wellness, but also our physical, emotional and even sexual wellness. There are some obvious ways to relieve stress and others that aren't as apparent, that are all completely natural. So before you turn to a pill for stress release, try these 8 all-natural ideas. You may not be surprised that relief from your worst stressors could be as easy as just being healthy and mindful.

1) Sleep. Stress and sleep are closely related and in fact sleep is one of the best ways to overcome stress. When you're short of sleep, your body doesn't work as efficiently as usual. That is even true with moderation of stress and anxiety levels. When you're body hasn't been properly rested, it's working harder to do everyday tasks which can leave us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Take time to get a full nights' sleep and when insomnia from stress or restlessness strikes, combat it with natural herb teas, honey with milk or other melatonin inducers. (Don't revert to alcohol use to help your sleep. It will, in fact, help you to fall asleep but can lead to an interrupted sleep pattern that makes you more tired.)

2) Exercise. Whether it's yoga, tai-chi or a run, exercise is great for relieving stress. It helps us clear the mind and focus on a different sort of challenge than we are faced with throughout the day. Physical wellness is crucial to maintaining a stress free mind and body.

3) Organize and simplify. Feeling disorganized, cluttered or scattered can be stressors for some people that leave them feeling discontent and unsatisfied. Whether you have a to-do list at the office or home that's growing each day no matter how you combat it or you have a messy or cluttered home to worry about, being disorganized stresses us out. Simplify and organize your life to relieve stress. You're mind will be more at peace in organized simplicity.

4) Breathing/meditation. The best part about this one is that it doesn't require anything expect your mind. We can meditate anywhere, although the best spot is somewhere quiet and comfortable. It only takes 15-30 minutes to meditate and it can make a world of difference in your stress levels. By taking the time to focus solely on your breathing- inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth- and to watch your thoughts drift past your brain, you're allowing your body to relax and cope.

5) Massage. These do cost money but depending on where you go, they can be reasonable (especially if it's a complimentary massage from your significant other ;)). Massage is an obvious way that stress is relieved and has been practiced for thousands of years. Releasing the toxins and tensions in the body allows us to achieve ultimate relaxation.

6) Take time to "disconnect". We live in a world that is uber-connected which makes it hard sometimes to focus on simplicity and our well-being. Make time each day to disconnect from the world by limiting access to technology. That's right, turn off the phones, tablets, computers and TVs and make a little quiet time for y-o-u. You will be so surprised at the clarity you feel having some disconnected time with yourself.

7) Healthy diet. This one goes along with exercise and sleep but yes, a healthy diet can relieve stress. Eating junk foods actually makes stress worse. Focus on eating foods rich in Vitamin B like nuts, beans and eggs, lots of veggies and fruits and lean meats. The better the eat, the better you feel AND the better you get at maintaining your stress levels.

8) Aromatherapy. Who doesn't love a yummy scent tantalizing their senses? Specific scents like lavender, rosemary, citrus, green apple or coconut have been proven to alleviate stress and to calm the nervous system. Use baths salts next time you take a bubble bath, light a candle or incense, or even add herbs to hot water as tea or a soak.

Next time you're feeling stress, try these 8 tips that are natural and mostly inexpensive. Stress can be beaten! Be mindful of your body, take care of yourself, and expose yourself to things you enjoy as often as you can.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The 6th Law of Yoga: the Law of DETACHMENT from Lee Ann

Detachment is a natural quality that emerges as your higher self becomes your internal reference point.  You engage in life with joy and passion yet no longer get swept up in the ego's fears.  You are rooted in the knowledge that you are pure love and pure spirit.
"We have not come here to take prisoners
Or to confine our wondrous spirits,
But to experience ever and ever more deeply
Our divine courage, freedom and Light!"
~ Hafiz
At the deepest level, we all seek freedom because it is our inherent nature.  Our essence is pure, unbounded spirit.   The  question naturally arises, if we are already free, why do we sometimes feel trapped, constricted, or limited?  Why do we get caught up in our fears, desires, aversions, and cravings?
This was a crucial question for the ancient yogis who studied the mind and discovered that the source of bondage is our conditioned beliefs and responses.  Even though we are infinite choice makers, most of us have automatic, predictable reactions to certain people, situations, and events.  For example, when someone makes a rude comment, is anger your immediate response? Or perhaps you are conditioned by past experiences of rejection that make it difficult for you to initiate a new friendship or business venture.
True freedom comes from breaking loose from the prison of past conditioning and the repetition of old memories and thought-patterns.
The past is the known and offers no opportunity for choice and possibility.  And the future exists only in the imagination.
Freedom lies in the present moment, the only place where you can choose from an infinite range of possibilities.  Remember, no matter how long you've been stuck in a pattern of behavior, every moment is an opportunity to choose anew...to detach...to breathe...
Join me?
om shanti, om trust, om detach, om open up to...limitless possibilities!

Om Love,
Lee Ann
source: The Chopra Center: 21-Days of Inspiration

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 Ways to Achieve True Inner Peace

            Finding inner peace is difficult to do in a world like ours. Life is crazy busy, with curve balls launched at every turn. It can be daunting to try and see the love in each day, especially when you feel that bad often overtakes the good. One thing that is for certain is change, which is why achieving inner peace relies on how you adapt and cope. If some material item or emotional state makes you feel at inner peace, you’ll never be there long. Learning to adapt and to make yourself happy even when change is occurring is how you can achieve inner peace. I found that these ten destinations are along the journey to inner peace and even in difficult times, reverting to these can put your mind, body and soul at ease.

1)   Visualization. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed or sad I tend to let it consume me. Using visualization is a great way to calm your woes even while they ail you. Shut the world out for a few moments, close your eyes and visualize a place you long to be. Think of the sounds you hear there, the scents you smell, what you would be doing and soak it all up. Remind yourself that even though you’re struggling now, you won’t always be and eventually you’ll make it back to that place.

2)   Affirmations. As humans, we tend to focus on the negatives and pay less attention to the positives. On the route to inner peace we must reverse this by practicing affirmations. Affirmations of yourself and others can make you feel stronger and confident, especially during times of weakness or worry. “You are beautiful.” “You are strong.” “I am beautiful.” “I am strong.”

3)   Focus on sound. Sometimes all we need is a chance to tune out the world. By using music or any other soothing sounds, we give our minds a chance to focus on something and it allows our petty thoughts to melt away. If music isn’t a source of calm for you, then just simply listen to whatever is around you. Watch your thoughts pass by in your mind and pay attention to the sounds you hear only. This gives your mind a chance to rest and relax.

4)   Practice compassion. When we experience another person’s compassion, it lights us up from the inside out. And so it does when we practice compassion towards another. Even a smile sometimes can turn someone’s day around. Focus on being compassionate (even when you’d rather not) because it will make not only you feel good, but those around you.

5)   Breathe. One of the most neglected forms of relaxation is simply, breathing. Inhaling fresh oxygen and exhaling the toxins that we don’t need anymore while focusing on the breath is a great way to relax. When you feel like the world is caving in on you, take a moment just to breathe. You’ll be amazed at the clarity you’ll feel.

6)   Practice acceptance. Practicing acceptance is a key way to inner peace. We cannot change everything and accepting what cannot be changed, acknowledging it and letting it go is something that many people have a hard time doing. Remember each day to be accepting of change, of people and of circumstances. Rest your head in the acceptance that everything happens for a reason, and even bad can turn into good.

7)   Forgive. Holding grudges is a sure-fire way to inner war. Forgiveness is something that is more beneficial to the forgiver than the one being forgiven because it allows us clarity in our souls. Once you forgive, you can let go. Letting go with a deep breath and forgiving those who have hurt you or forgiving yourself is a great step on the road to peace. Forgive and exhale the hurt away.

8)   Simplify. Try to simplify everything in your life. Sometimes we make things overcomplicated or harder than they need to be for unknown reasons. By focusing on simplification, you can focus solely on necessities of the body, mind and soul.

9)   Do things you enjoy every chance you get. Give yourself time for the things you enjoy the most. Happiness, true happiness, is a gateway to inner peace. You have to let yourself have it by doing the things you love and enjoy as often as you can.

10) Practice gratitude and appreciation. This is perhaps the most important of all. Being grateful and appreciative for everything good in our lives shouldn’t be reserved just for Thanksgiving. We should take time to appreciate the good in our lives, and even the bad, for it allows us to learn and grow. Appreciation for even the little things is important on the journey to inner peace.

We hope today and everyday you are able to splash in the pool of inner peace, for with inner peace and contentment comes true happiness. Remember this quote during the rough times and practice these 10 ways to inner peace as often as you can: “He who lives in harmony with himself, lives in harmony with the universe.” -Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The 5th Law of Yoga: the Law of Intention & Desire

In the face of challenging situations, it's easy to fall into the grip of the egos’ fears and confusion.  Remind yourself each day of your intentions and spiritual purpose.  Meditate, find your center, reflect and plant your seeds of intention in the fertile field of all possibilities.

"Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
When you really look for me,
You will find me instantly.
You will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath."
~ Kabir

Although in daily life most of us take our ability to breathe for granted, on some deeper level we grasp its central importance.  We use the metaphor
"breathing room” when we feel we are not getting enough air...when we intuit that our very life force is draining away.

From our first breath to our last, breathing is a continuous, endless tool through which we can fulfill the dictum "know thyself.”  If we pay attention, our breath can teach us more than we can imagine: gratitude, peace and even as Kabir tells us, God.

Focusing on the breath immediately brings us into the NOW, which is why awareness of the breath is at the heart of many meditation practices.  When we allow ourselves to be present, we create the breathing room that we crave so intensely.

When we need vitality, we may need to look no further than our breath, which brings in the prana (life force) necessary to support every cell in the body.

Breathing is part of the great mystery that surrounds us every day, immersing us in the source of life even while we feel separate from it.  Take some time to follow your breath today and you will be amazed where it will take you.

om shanti, om peace, om breathe deeply & slowly,
Lee Ann

source: The Chopra Center 21- Days of Inspiration