• Ego,  Practice,  spirituality

    Your Yoga May Not Always Be Yoga

    Yoga guilt.  We’ve all been there.  That icky feeling of not quite measuring up because it’s been 3 days since your last practice.  The little despot in your head starts throwing insults about how you’re obviously not serious about yoga, not meant to practice or teach it and generally just an all around slob.  Maybe it’s just me whose hefty inner critic has heckled me in this way – but I doubt it.  Those days are mostly past me now and instead of guilt after missing a practice or two I just feel a genuine longing to be back on my mat.  This changed for me when I realized that “disciplining” myself into…

  • Embodiment,  Inspiration,  Practice

    Building Energy Through Your Practice – A Prelude to the Vibrant Life Retreat on August 7th

    There is nothing like feeling radiantly alive.  Having enough energy to engage your life, relationships and work in a healthy and balanced way is essential to wellbeing.  What follows is a practice for helping  you cultivate and recognize your natural vibrancy.  The practice is two fold.  First, we tune in to the frequency of our energy body, or prana, and second we then invite awakening to this body through a variety of exercises.Awareness:  Here we are basically changing the “channel” of our attention.   We shift our attention from the channel of thoughts, preconceived notions about ourselves and our body, ideas and concepts to the channel of direct perception of sensation in the body.  As we descend our attention and…

  • Inner Work,  Yoga in the Everyday

    Yoga’s Not a Bandaid.

    Every once in a while I get sick of trying to make myself feel better with yoga.  Yesterday was such a day. After a small argument with my husband I prepared to enter the haven of my practice and I couldn’t.  Every time I approached my mat a well of anger rose up in me.  I could have simply trudged through the thick wall of irritation that paralyzed my movements, as some approaches to yoga advise.  Instead I fell onto my bed, face stuffed cock-eyed into a pillow and stared blankly into the mess of my ensuite bathroom.  Blink.  “What the hell’s going on?”  Blink.  “I only have an hour until Rowan wakes…

  • Consciousness,  Practice,  spirituality

    Honouring the Multidimensional Self.

    The journey through my bodies comes to an end!   This exploration reinforced to me, yet again, the multidimensional potential of yoga practice.  The yoga community in the West spends a great deal of time milling about in the physical realm of the annamaya kosha.  In itself, of course, coming to know one’s physical self is a fruitful activity and can lead to many benefits.  The unfortunate result of focussing only on one kosha is that yoga, then, can become simply another extension of a vanity obsessed, consumer culture.The over-valuation or over-emphasis of any one kosha leads to an unbalanced, sometimes extremist perspective on the practice.  In contrast to the physical obsessions of the West we’ve also heard the stories…

  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Non-duality,  spirituality

    Pure Being – It’s All One Thing!

    All of existence comes alive in us.  When you really contemplate it isn’t it true?  It is the Awareness that we are which perceives the heat of the sun, the smell of freshly blossomed lilacs, the glorious flavor of Haagen Dazs ice cream on our palate.  In awareness the inner world bursts forth as well.  The perception of hunger, the heat of our passions, the heaviness of our grief.  All of life, internal and external, become illuminated by the light of Awareness.  In the asmitamaya kosha we come to know ourselves as this Awareness.  We see that it’s not that awareness is in the person but that the person is experienced in Awareness.  …

  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Non-duality,  spirituality

    Asmitamaya Kosha – Who Am I?

     In my last post I explored the sheath of Joy.  At this level of awareness seeking ceases.  We come to realize that the Joy that we spend so much energy on trying to attain is closer to us than any possession or achievement could ever be.   Thank god this Bliss of living is not an attainment, it cannot be bought or sold, given or taken away.  It is part of the fabric of what we are, although often forgotten.  As we become still the body of Joy is revealed; remembered.  The Joy that we long for is present and contentment arises.  If only for a moment.  In the lucidity of this contentment there is spaciousness, the mind…

  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Non-duality

    Anandamaya Kosha – The Body of Joy

      In my last post I concluded by saying that I may not be able to experience life’s ultimate Truth but I can experience it’s ultimate Joy.  After recognizing the limitations of the intellect there is a natural letting go that happens.  For me, by becoming intimately aware of my koshas I come to see the transient nature of all experiences.  There is no foothold on which I can place my security; there is no constant state of pleasure without pain, no ultimate Truth, no state free of the potential for suffering.  When I am reminded of the natural flow of things I fall into a state of Grace where every…

  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Non-duality,  spirituality

    Vijnanamaya Kosha – The Body of Intellect

      At this level of my being I tap into the stories, concepts, images and thoughts that whir about within me.  As I self-reflect I notice some anxiety (at the level of the manomaya kosha) about finishing this post knowing that I have little time in the next few days to do so.  At a subtler level there is a belief that drives the anxiety.  The belief is that if I don’t get it finished and readers are expecting a post that I will have failed in some way.   As I try to stay with this belief it gets bumped out by random images of the potato soup I am cooking upstairs and a curiousity about…

  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Non-duality,  spirituality

    Manomaya Kosha – The Feeling and Emotional Body

    I’ve been actively avoiding this post all week. I have often guarded my feelings and emotions and so publicly writing about it fills me with fear.  I’m afraid to be honest, I’m afraid that I won’t be honest.  So I start there.  In the fear.  I move through the first two sheaths with ease, I am comfortable here, in sensation and energy.  And then I bump up against a wall of butterflies- this is often how I feel fear or anxiety – as mass of butterflies that jitter in my torso.  And the butterflies go nowhere.  They just flit about in chaotic non-patterns, bunging up any sense of flow within me.I bring more awareness to this moving, immovable mass.  As I do this the butterflies seem…

  • Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Non-duality,  spirituality

    Pranamaya Kosha – The Energy Body

      As I sit in front of the large windows in my living room I notice a lady bug crawling along the windowsill.  It is only one small part of the larger scene of life pulsating through this moment.  My cat snores beneath my chair.  A light breeze ruffles the delicate leaves of freshly planted petunias on my porch.  The heavy, grumbling sounds of passing cars periodically mask the fervent chirps of neighborhood robins.  The world is vital this morning.  It is not a blob of inanimate substance, it is alive.  I am alive.  My awareness turns inward and I notice that my body feels fatigued from hours of excited gardening.  My legs ache…