Japa Meditation ๐Ÿ“ฟ

For the past 10 months I have been working closely with mantra in my daily Sadhana practice ๐Ÿ“ฟ. Mantra is most commonly defined as specific sounds, words, or phrases that are repeated during meditation or prayer ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป. The translation of the word mantra in Sanskrit is recognized as โ€œinstrument of thought.โ€ Repetition of mantra creates positive vibrations that uplift those who chant or listen ๐Ÿ—ฃ. Traditionally mantra is chanted 108 times in correlation to the 108 energy channels in the body, although there is no specific amount of times you need to repeat. In my experience this practice has been helpful in cultivating a focused, and calm mind that is better suited for meditation ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ. It is important to remember that mantra is not magic, but rather a divine tool used to bring you closer to where you need to be ๐Ÿ‘.

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If you are new to mantra you can start by putting your phone down, and chanting the Bija mantra โ€œOMโ€ ๐Ÿ•‰. This is a simple and powerful mantra that is associated with the crown chakra ๐Ÿ’œ. Mantra can be done anytime of the day, anywhere. Give it a try, I think you will like it.

Anapana Meditation

If you are interested in meditation but not sure where to begin, the technique of Anapana is a simple and practical way to achieve stillness of the mind. During Anapana meditation the natural breath is observed as it comes in, and as it goes out. To begin find a comfortable seated position, relax the abdomen, and keep a straight spine. Bring your awareness to the space beneath the nostrils and above the upper lip. Observe the breath as it gently enters and exits the nostrils, rising and falling. You may notice very subtle physical sensations begin to arise. This may be experienced as warm, cold, tingling, or even numb. Whatever your experience may be, remember to keep your awareness with the breath and observe objectively. I recommend setting a timer for 20 minutes at first, and working your way up to an hour. Regular practice of Anapana meditation will bring happiness to your heart by developing concentration and mastery of the mind. Benefits of Anapana meditation may include an increase in concentration, improved quality of sleep, calmness of the mind, and sharper memory!

The Sangha Is The Guru.

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My teacherย Jaredย says the age of the guru is dead, the sangha is the new guru. Asย Rebeccaย and I explore the city of Asheville, a community of dedicated yogis is what our hearts seek most. As students and teachers of yoga, we hope to surround ourselves with others interested in challenging themselves through yoga asana. By gathering and spending time with others on the spiritual path the greatest teachings are revealed!

Nadi Shodana Pranayama

Nadi Shodana breathing is a powerful technique to help restore balance to the left and right sides of the brain ๐Ÿง .

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To practice: find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes, and bring your awareness to the space behind the forehead ๐Ÿ‘. First, rest your left hand on your knee in Jyan Mudra by connecting the thumb and index fingers with the palm facing up ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป. Bring your right hand into Vishnu Mudra by bending your index and middle fingers down. Use the right thumb to block the right nostril and inhale only through the left nostril for a count of 3. Next use your right ring finger to block the left nostril and hold the breath for a count of 12. If you would like to utilize the Bandhas during retention go ahead. Exhale through just the right nostril for a count of 6. Inhale through the right nostril for a count of 3, when you get to the top block both nostrils for a count of 12. Exhale through only the left nostril for a count of 6, this will complete one round of Nadi Shodana Pranayama ๐Ÿ‘ƒ๐Ÿป. Alternate nostril breathing should be practiced for 5-10 minutes and is most effective when practiced daily!

Intro to Vinyasa

Hey Georgia yogis! Rebecca and I will be teaching Intro to Vinyasa at the beautiful Harmony Hot Yoga, Pilates, and Aerial Center from 9/12-9/20 ๐ŸŒŸ. Check out our teaching schedule below.

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9/12 – 7:30-8:30pm ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐ŸŒพ

9/13 – 12-1pm w/ Rebecca ๐ŸŒถ

9/16 – 6:30-7:30pm (Yin) ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ

9/17 – 7:30-8:30pm ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐ŸŒพ

9/18 – 12-1pm w/ Rebecca ๐ŸŒถ

9/19 – 12-1:00pm (Yin) ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ

9/19 – 7:30-8:30 ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐ŸŒพ

9/20 – 12-1pm w/ Rebecca ๐ŸŒถ

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Due to the weather the schedule could change, check in with MINDBODY and please be safe ๐Ÿ’ฆโš ๏ธ

Steady and Comfortable

Yoga asana should be steady and comfortable ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ. Stillness can be found in the postures by maintaining awareness of the breath while the bodyโ€™s muscle groups remain active ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป. In Standing Head-to-Knee pose, the legs create a solid foundation for the upper body when you distribute your weight forward and pull up on the thighs. Use Mula Bandha by finding a slight lift in the pelvic floor, and activate Uddiyana Bandha by pulling the lower belly in then upward towards the heart. Next, flex your toes back towards your face, then use your strength to pull your elbow points down to squeeze your calf muscle. The final stage of the pose is to pull your shoulders away from the ears, round your spine, and touch your forehead to your knee. Although this pose may seem intimidating at first, strong determination combined with a gentle focus on the breath will bring you success with touching the forehead to the knee ๐Ÿง .

Uddiyana Bandha

This year I have been working on finding stability in my yoga postures with the support of Bandhas ๐Ÿ”’. Uddiyana Bandha refers to the upward energy of the diaphragm, stomach, and abdomen. This can be achieved by exhaling all of the air from the lungs, drawing the navel in and up, and creating suction which pulls the organs upwards expanding the chest. Uddiyana Bandha, or the Upward Lock, can help you float through yoga asana by contracting the lower belly and controlling the stillness of the diaphragm as it rises and falls. According to The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, โ€œOf all the Bandhas, Uddiyana is the best, for by its activation liberation comes spontaneously.โ€ Energetically, Uddiyana Bandha guides the movement of energy upward activating the heart and throat chakras ๐Ÿ’™. Photography by my amazing friend Philomena Polizzi ๐Ÿ“ธ

Inversions

Inversions like forearm stand and headstand poses are some of the most important postures in #yoga. When the body and mind are turned upside down the blood circulation is altered which causes a change in perception.๐Ÿคธ๐Ÿผโ€โ™‚๏ธ Inversion poses activate the heart chakra by moving energy to the midline of the body, cultivating a sense of joy in the heart ๐Ÿ’š. I absolutely love what I am learning right now in my Science Of Self book on yoga, organs, and emotions. Thank you Rose Erin Vaughan, MSAc for making this information available to all people ๐ŸŒŽ Om Shanti Shanti Shanti โ˜ฎ๏ธ