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In Memory of Her

In Memory of Her

“Where is it, this present? It has melted in our grasp, fled where we could touch it, gone in the instant of becoming.” William James

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver

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In memory of Martha A. Sealy,
a woman who lived and loved with her whole heart.

September 7, 1943 – August 20, 2013

On Death
Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Surrender to the divine – Ishvara Pranidhana

Surrender to the divine – Ishvara Pranidhana

Ishvara Pranidhana Va

ईश्वर-प्रणिधान

Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.23

From a special process of devotion and letting go into the creative source from which we emerged (ishvara pranidhana), the coming of samadhi is imminent.
(ishvara pranidhana va)

“Worship does not mean offering flowers.
It means offering your heart
To the vast mystery
Of the universe.
It means letting your heart pulse
With the life of the universe
Without thought and without reservation.
It means being so in love
That you are
Willing to dissolve
And be recreated in every moment.”
Excerpt from the Radiance Sutras Lorin Roche

Isvara Pranidhana – Surrender to the divine. Release your fears and be filled with grace – accepting all that comes as part of a divine conspiracy to promote your highest good. Let go of the things you may be holding on to. Things that no longer serve your higher self. Let every moment, every action be filled with devotion. Let your asana be an offering. Expand your heart and open your mind. Let your consciousness merge with the universe, understand and feel your connectedness. To everything. Separateness is an illusion. Recognize your divine nature and surrender completely. Let go. You are one, you are whole, you are love.

Namaste,

Jeanette

god sky

A Yoga Practice for Grief

A Yoga Practice for Grief

So, have you ever felt your heart break? Just right open? You know that sensation you feel. Physically. Is it sharp or dull? Does it run deep towards the pit of your stomach or high up in your throat making it so that you can’t breathe?

I’ve felt it before. I’ve seen people suffer physical consequences of the emotional trauma. Working with Deborah Heart and Lung and fifteen years in the long term care industry, one becomes quite acquainted with death and grief. Never enough to prepare me for my own mother’s death of course, but definitely a deeper understanding of the process of life. I’ve sat with many people as they passed. It was an incredible comfort to have been able to do so. Today I went through a few photos of my Mom and the people surrounding her as she left this world. They are so beautiful. If you’re dealing with grief at the moment I can recommend a few things for you:

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

and

Elizabeth Keubler Ross’s 

So What do you do with the grief?

 

MokshaI’ve been figuring that one out. I still am. Thanks to some of the incredible teachers in my life ~ Sudha, Melissa, Trish, Jennifer ~ among many others, I’m learning to walk this path with as much grace as I can muster and I try to create a life of compassion and integrity, truth and beauty. They inspire me to keep working at it. The more I heal the more I can serve. So Thank you <3.

Below I’m sharing a yoga class and some inspiration for dealing with grief. I hope it helps. If you have questions about it please feel free to connect with me via Facebook or email.

Heart Chakra Class for Grief

Environment/ Visualizations

Rose Oil

The color green for the heart chakra

Think warm and grounding – provide blankets, pillows, nourishment

Music ~

Pranayama

Deerga Pranayama. Then deerga layered with ujjayi.

Mudra & Sound

Vajrapradama mudra. Affects manomaya kosha. Good for depression low self esteem. Stimulates thymus gland , heart chakra.  Chant the seed sound Yum.

Philosophy 

Pratyahara – Return to oneself. Withdraw the senses inward. Listen to the sound of your heart.

Santosha – Practice contentment.

Cultivate the boundless states of loving kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity manifest as forces of purification which transform the turbulent heart into a refuge of calm focused awareness.

There is in this city of Brahman an abode, the small lotus of the Heart, within it is a small space. Now what exists with that small space, that is to be sought after, that is what one should desire to understand.
— Chandogya Upanishad

Just Let Go

Breathe in Love

Breathe out Pain

Breathe in Peace

Breathe out Heartache

Breathe in Peace

Breathe out Peace

Breathe in until you’re completely full

Breathe out until you’re completely empty

Dance between these places, notice the space between the inhalation and the exhalation, gently release the space just letting one breath flow into another.

From the Radiance Sutras:

The life essence carries on its play
through the pulsing rhythm
of outward and inward movement.
This is the ceaseless throb, the rhythm of life –
terrifying in its eternity, exquisite in its constancy.The inhalation, the return movement of breath,
sustains life.
The outgoing breath
purifies life.
We breathe out the old air, the old thoughts, the old feelings.

These are the two poles
between which respiration goes on unceasingly.
Between them is every quality you could ever desire.

As the breath turns from in to out,
and again as the breath
curves from out to in –
through both these turns, absorb intensity.

Enter these turning points
In the play of respiration and expiration,
Where the rhythms of life transform
Into each other.

Breath flows in, then surrenders to flow out again.
In this moment, drink eternity.

Breath flows out, emptying, emptying,
Offering itself to infinity.

Cherishing these moments,
Mind dissolves into heart,
Heart dissolves into space,
Body becomes a shimmering field
Pulsating between emptiness and fullness..

Asana

Supta Badokasana

Restorative heart openers

Yin Hip Openers – Eka Pada Rajokapotasana, Agnistambasana, etc.

Grounding postures such salambasana, balasana, Utkata Konasana,  Utkatasana

Yoga Nidra

Meditation

1. The flame within the heart

2. Opening of a flower

3. The four chambers of the heart

 

Namaste,

Jeanette

The Art of Being Vulnerable

The Art of Being Vulnerable

The Art of Being Vulnerable

 

 

Acro Yoga Om Factory

“Ultimately, there can be no complete healing until we have restored our primal trust in life.” ~Georg Feuerstein

“We are powerful beyond measure, and so deeply vulnerable at the same time. This may seem like a dichotomy, but it isn’t. We have misunderstood real power. It has been something assertive, non-surrendering, pushing on through. This is not real power. This is simply willfulness. Real power is something else- receptivity, openness, the courage to keep your heart open on the darkest of days, the strength to feel it all even when the odds are stacked against you. Real power is showing up with your heart on your sleeve and absolutely refusing to waste one moment of your life hidden behind edginess and armor. The art of enheartened presence. Now thats power.”

Jeff Brown

 

 

A Photoshoot with Robert Sturman

So I had the opportunity to have a photoshoot with the incredible Robert Sturman. If you haven’t seen his work, check him out here. We spoke of the art of yoga and how he strives to capture it with his camera. What a gift to connect with such an inspired artist.

Humbled and grateful.

“Whether the pose is a one armed handstand or a humble pose of the child, what moves me most is it’s sincerity.” R. Sturman

When Life Brings You to Your Knees

When Life Brings You to Your Knees

"There are a million ways to kneel and kiss the ground." Rumi photo by Robert Stuhrman

“There are a million ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Rumi

We all have those moments when life brings us to our knees. It recently happened for me  and it was the truest test of my dedication to my practice so far. When things are going smoothly it is easy to believe the teachings, to have faith and certainty that everything happens for a reason. That the universe is  a kind place designed to help us become our highest Selves.

In yoga, we call this idea Īśvara-Praṇidhāna ईश्वर-प्रणिधान or surrender to the divine. It is one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga and is found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It is probably the most difficult and most important of the Niyamas. The phrase “Let go, let God” encompasses the same idea. It is a letting go of the ego, a complete trust in divine flow, the experience of a deep connection to source. I first experienced this concept when I was a small child in Catholic school. Sitting in Church, light streaming through stained glass windows, a sense of unconditional love filling my heart…I felt for the first time the presence of something greater than myself.

Since then, in various forms, Īśvara-Praṇidhāna has been a natural expression of my being. A philosophy easy for me to embrace. Until the past month or so, when stuff really hit the fan. I was brought to my knees by grief and felt as if life couldn’t get any worse. Well it can always get worse, but things were pretty bad. It was in those moments that my faith was truly tested.  Then something amazing happened. I asked for help, I meditated, I prayed. I believed everything would work out.  And you know what? It did. Through the amazing kindness and generosity of some angels in my life I was able to turn the situation around and get the outcome I so deeply longed for. I couldn’t have done it alone. You know what? I believe there is little we can do alone. We are all immensely powerful, however, we truly need each other. I have no doubt. And I am beyond thankful. In this season of thanksgiving, I have never been more aware of my blessings. So thank you. You know who you are. <3 <3 <3

The following are some things that helped me in moments of despair. I hope they help you too if there comes a time when you need them:

1. Breathe – Most importantly remember to breathe. This too shall pass. One technique is to simply double the length of your exhale. This automatically calms the sympathetic nervous system and leaves you feeling a bit more at peace. Inhale to a count of four – exhale to a count of eight. Or 3:6 or 2:4. Create no strain, just focus on the release that comes naturally with an extended exhalation. Soften and let go.

2. Move – whatever it is you do – do it. Yoga, running, swimming, cross fit, etc. Get moving and allow yourself to be immersed in a moving meditation.

3. Be Still – I know I just suggested you get moving, but alternately it is just as important to find some time for quiet and for stillness. Try sitting for ten minutes in the morning, as soon as you wake. Create time for meditation so you can connect with that deep place of peace within you. I love this analogy: Imagine the ocean during a ferocious storm. The surface is completely chaotic, strong winds, tumultuous waves and pelting rain. If you stay on the surface you get thrown about, however, if you dive deeper down you will discover perfect stillness. The same is true for us, especially when life gets hard. It is in these times that it is all the more important to make time to connect with that deep reservoir of serenity we find within.

4. Get outside – Commune with nature. Amazing things will happen. I promise. Go for a walk, leave your phone behind, pay attention to everything around you. Then pay attention to everything within you. Notice how your feet kiss the earth. Notice how the wind caresses your skin. Notice those things you would generally be too busy to notice. There is magic in  the small stuff. Know you are never alone.

5. Create – Make Art. Make Music. Write. Express yourself without judgement. Just let whatever it is that’s troubling you flow through you. Whether you write, paint, make music, sculpt, etc. utilize the amazing power of creation to help you return to center. You’ll be glad you did.

6. Read…get a great novel, an inspiring self help book, a spiritual classic. Immerse yourself in the wisdom of the ages. My all time go to book is the Bhagavad Gita. When I am filled with doubt, sorrow or despair it never fails to bring me comfort. To reconnect me to the greater aspect of life and my connection to all things. I often just open randomly to a page and see what great wisdom awaits me. I did this as I’m writing and here is what I found:
Bhagavad Gita 5.18
Those who have realized the Self see that same Self equally in a humble scholar, a cow, a dog or a dog-eater.
Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This is the same concept. A realized person is able to love all. To see the Self in all. There is no differentiation based on skin color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Can you see the aspect of the divine in all? Can you be kind and loving to all beings you encounter? Always a lesson to learn. One of my biggest struggles with this recent challenge has been forgiveness. What is there to forgive when I believe the above statement? I am another you after all. A reminder to always come from a place of love. So yeah, read…you might just get a powerful message to help you transcend your struggle.

I hope these tips help you when life gets hard. I hope you never feel alone.

Lokah samastah sukinoh bhavantu – may all beings everywhere be happy and free. May the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way, to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

Namaste,

Jeanette