Nightly Review

Last week I reintroduced the practice of writing a nightly review to highlight key points of my day. In the past I have found that putting pen to paper and acknowledging daily behavior can be very beneficial for spiritual growth ✍🏼. Every night I ask myself if there was any time during my day I became resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid. If anything comes up, I write it down. From there, I am able to thoughtfully recognize if I owe an apology to anybody 🙇🏼‍♂️. By doing this practice daily it becomes easier to see if I have been kind and loving towards all, or if I have been mostly thinking of myself ⚖️. With the purpose of spiritual growth in mind, I ask myself if there is anything I could have done better 🤔. Did anything come up that I have kept to myself, which ought to be shared? Lastly, what acts of service did I selflessly perform today which contributed to the stream of life? By acknowledging these behaviors daily it has become easier to see where I have made progress and where I have fallen short. As with all spiritual practice, this daily inventory aims to clear any emotional blockages which may stand in the way of being able to help others 🌎. May all beings be happy, may all beings be free 💓. Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu 🕊.

Mayurasana

Mayurasana, or peacock pose is said to be one of the most important postures in all of Hatha Yoga. This posture turns on the abdomen, strengthens the upper arms, and develops tremendous focus! Oppositional forces help make this posture possible 💁🏼‍♀️. Think of pulling your lower gut in, while pressing two palms down and squeezing elbows tightly together. Lengthen through the back of the neck, while contracting your thighs and pointing your toes. Shoulders down, chin up, eyes out in front of you in one spot and keep them there 👁. Although this posture may be challenging at first, when practiced daily you will be flying in no time ⏳.

Gayatri Mantra ॐ

While most mantra has been created by man, the Gayatri Mantra is said to come from Brahma himself. The Gayatri mantra provides a relatively short path to self-realization.

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Om bhur bhuvah swah

tat savitur varenyam

bhargo devasya dheemahi

dhiyo yonah prachodayat

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ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः

तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।

भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि

धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

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The eternal, earth, air, heaven

That glory, that resplendence of the sun

May we contemplate the brilliance of that light

May the sun inspire our minds.

Japa Meditation 📿

For the past 10 months I have been working closely with mantra in my daily Sadhana practice 📿. Mantra is most commonly defined as specific sounds, words, or phrases that are repeated during meditation or prayer 🙏🏻. The translation of the word mantra in Sanskrit is recognized as “instrument of thought.” Repetition of mantra creates positive vibrations that uplift those who chant or listen 🗣. 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 🧘🏼‍♂️. 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 👁.

If you are new to mantra you can start by putting your phone down, and chanting the Bija mantra “OM” 🕉. This is a simple and powerful mantra that is associated with the crown chakra 💜. 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 teacher Jared says the age of the guru is dead, the sangha is the new guru. As Rebecca 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!