Friday, November 11, 2011

What the Heck is 11:11:11?

"When the Moon is in the 7th House - and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then Peace will guide the planets, and LOVE will steer the stars"  - the Fifth Dimension

We are at the precipice of some very interesting times. Much has been written and pondered about the upcoming end of the Mayan calendar on 12-21-12. Some doomsdayers would like you to believe that the end of the world is coming. We New Age hippies and healers want you to believe that a period of higher consciousness, raised vibrations, increased awareness and spiritual enlightenment is upon us. A recent cartoon I saw depicted a Mayan creating the calender and admitting to another that he'd simply "run out of room." The response of the second Mayan? "That'll really freak someone out one day."

I certainly do not claim to have all of the answers. But I do understand energy and I believe that a great shift is not only coming but, in fact, has already begun. Most of us in the yoga community already feel it, we are just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. This month we have a great opportunity to work together to build upon this new rising consciousness as 11:11:11 is right around the corner.

Wait, what the heck is 11:11:11?

Well, simply enough, it is November 11th of this year. A closer look reveals a link in numerology to the number eleven, considered a master number and pertaining to heightened awareness, divine revelation and living in your light. To many, 11:11 is an auspicious number. Kundalini yoga teacher, Yogi Bhajan, stated, "We are entering the age of Aquarius on 11/11/2011. It will be a new time. The entire psyche is changing. You must purify the mind, body & soul to be real, innocent and sattvic (pure). Elevate yourself to be angelic. This age which you will serve is an age of awareness and experience."

With such an auspicious time available to us, I decided to have a gathering of yogis, healers, students, teachers, and generally, anyone interested in getting together on this date to sit in unity and share your light for the purposes of healing and awakening. What will we do? Meditation, healing, sharing and more. Please arrive by no later than 11 am, as chanting will promptly begin and be happening at the time of 11:11 am and you won't want to miss the energy we will create together.

What else will happen is anyone's guess.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life is what happens when we're busy making other plans

Life is what happens when we're busy making other plans.   
  
You've probably heard the above quote before - most likely following an unwanted life situation that threw your world off balance. We've all experienced them - myself included. And although upon initially hearing said quote and biting the inside of my mouth, I have learned to accept the many lessons that usually come my way as a result of whatever happened.

I find that many of the students that feel so transformed by yoga are quite driven, type-A personalities. I was also born with an undying work ethic and tenacity of spirit. This got me far in the corporate world at a very young age, and probably supported my journey in opening my own yoga studio. In fact, this energy has been a gift for me in many ways...as well as sometimes, a curse.

As all of us on the path know, yoga is all about learning to balance things. Yoga seeks to create balance where there is imbalance. You can fight it, you can deny it or ignore it, but one way or another, like a ferocious river, it finds away through even the toughest stone. Yoga has taught me to slow down and be present, it truly has. But I am often so excited about the programs and classes at One Yoga, that I spend hours working and reworking them on my days off. My husband, also a workaholic, and I will often spend many midnight hours next to each other on the couch on our laptops working. When we are both "in the zone" with work, we flow well as a couple too.

This surge of energy can be intoxicating. Not one to consider myself an addictive personality, in truth I should include this side of myself. While in this energy, I do tend to go full steam ahead for long periods of time - sometimes ignoring my nutrition, well needed rest, and general relaxation and down time. And you know what always happens - every single time? Yup, you do, because it happens to you too, right? Well, this time it was an emergency appendectomy forcing me to take a week off work just before my scheduled week off vacation. Nearly three weeks away from the yoga studios! A week on the couch! No Yoga! Wow, what a way to get a reminder to slow down and smell the roses! (Of course in true fashion, four days after the operation I was trimming the roses and planting perennials and lavender in my yard, but my solar plexus soon reminded me via nausea and light-headedness to sit down again).

I've been told that I am rebellious (most notably by Baron Baptiste), but I'm working on it. Having so many of my students repeat my words back to me the past couple of weeks was another lesson. It can be very challenging to step back from your passion, but it can be so healing as well. I actually caught myself dreaming of retirement yesterday...I used to think I'd be so bored, but I have to be honest, after so long at home with my dogs, seeing friends and catching up on movies and writing, I'm kind of digging it...maybe there is something to the lighter side of life.

Monday, May 16, 2011

How I found My Bliss in the E.R.

Falling to the pavement, I paused as the faint echo of my friend’s voice called for help. Sense of time, space, senses and sensations began to alter. I felt encased in light - or was it darkness? Feeling immediately in touch with the surge of pain in my gut I began to notice my diminishing unawareness of much else. Fear gripped me as the pain seemed to increase. And for one brief moment, I reminded myself to breathe.

Yes, yoga teacher, breathe.

I began taking full, deep breaths, just as I tell my students to help calm their minds. I remembered trying pranayama exercises the numerous times I’d been tattoo’d to no avail. Yet I felt compelled to do it again now.

I then sensed more people around me and heard muddled voices discipline Rebecca for not pulling up to the ER door as I was briskly wheeled - somewhere. Opening my eyes for a brief moment, I recognized the sterile room. I had, unfortunately, been there before.

Several others were waiting, although I did not implant any recognition. Wheeled to the back of the room and out of the way, I closed my eyes, bent over pressing my fists into my stomach and began to rock. The last thing that I remember was noticing the clock: 11:00 am on the dot.

And then it happened. I had heard of it and I’d read a lot about it. I had taught of it. I’d discussed it again and again in trainings, workshops and classes. But I had never actually achieved it. Sure, I had seen glimpses. I had felt connections. But this experience was something all-together different.

In the student’s quest for yoga, the limbs of asana or posture, pranayama or breath control and the moral and ethical codes, are fairly straight forward. I have always found a gray zone for many students in their understanding of three limbs of yoga that lead up to the final stage: pratyahara, dharana and dhyana.

Pratyahara means withdrawal of the senses - a detachment of sight, sound, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Dharana is concentration and focus on a single point. And then Dhyana is meditation. This occurs when the state of dharana is achieved in a prolonged state so there is a continuous and unbroken flow. The only thing left after that is Samadhi, the bliss or ecstasy of oneness: Yoga.

So, I began to breathe slowly while I rocked soothingly back and forth. It happened nearly instantaneously. I was not asleep, that I knew. But was I awake? Awakened? How would I have known? I only knew that for one brief moment that lasted a thousand years, I was without any feelings of pain or any sense of self. I saw nothing but a white light that I felt encompass me. There were no sounds, smells or tastes where I went. There was no time nor no need for any of those things. I simply was.

And then suddenly, like being pulled out of a vacuum, I was back. The E.R. floor came into focus and then slowly, so did the pain. I peered up at Rebecca’s wide-open eyes.

“What happened,” I asked her.

“Dude, you - went somewhere,” she said.

“What time is it?”

“11:22.”

I immediately knew that I had found bliss for the last 22 minutes, and even in the pain, I wondered if I could find it again. I closed my eyes and began to rock again. I did everything the same as before...well, everything except for let go. It didn’t work, of course, my mind was now to aware of the experience and my ego so wanted to find it again.

Within a few short minutes I was admitted into the E.R. and my long day’s journey into night began. An appendectomy was performed at approximately 9:00 pm that night and through general anesthesia I would come the closest that I had been to those 22 minutes of bliss since I had originally achieved it nearly 10 hours earlier. Yet the experience was quite different. My E.R. journey was lucid and connected. Yet the surgical journey was numbed and medicated. While I felt awake in my E.R. experience, I felt asleep during surgery. No, it was not the same. In surgery I lost 2 hours of my life, but in the E.R. I gained a lifetime in 22 minutes.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!...  
  
...to me! Yes, this month is my birthday. And while many women do not wish to share their age, I will happily tell you that I am going to be 43 and feel better than I did even in my 20's - and it's all because of my yoga practice and my students, who constantly remind me why I am teaching this healing practice.
  
I find this time of year an interesting educational time for myself. As May flowers bloom and temperatures soar, I know that my birthday is arriving soon - and anticipation swells inside me. As a child, my parents always made big deals out of birthdays and as a young adult, so did my friends. As an adult (whatever that means), I find myself gearing up for a big event, only to realize that it is just another day, really. Of course there are flowers from my husband and usually a nice gift from my mother (when I should be the one giving her a gift on this day!), but the pomp and circumstance has long fizzled out.
  
As my birthday wanes, I find myself asking why I "go there" every year? Is it my ego needing validation? My heart chakra looking longing to be loved? But as the questions build and my mind goes a flurry, I suddenly remember to BREATHE. I take that long, deep breath out and smile because life is good. In fact, ALL is good. After I breathe, I feel the gratitude again and reconnect with my spirit.
  
With all of our amazing students at One Yoga Centers, I have actually reached a point where there are some students that I have never met. None-the-less, you are all family to me, and in honor of my own Birthday, I would like to extend an offer to put your birthday on our website calendar! So, if you would like to have your birthday listed on the calendar, please email me with your name, month and day of your big day, and we can all celebrate together every year, knowing that the One Yoga community is sending you good vibrations in commemoration of your birth. So if I haven't mentioned it before, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Planting the Seeds of New Beginnings for Spring

Springtime - the Energy is Rising! 
  
Well, January may have been a tough, cold month, but February predicted an early Spring. We are, in fact, moving quickly towards the Spring Equinox on March 20th so our enegy is on the rise!
  
Soon we will start seeing buds on the trees and new life awakening all around us.  Of course, this also means that this is an opportunity to embrace our own awakenings. I say "embrace" because not everyone is connected to this awakened energy. Some of you may still be feeling a bit stagnated, sluggish or disconnected. This is why I have created the Sadhana group that meets regularly to learn how to work with the current energies around us, bring a sense of connection and progression on our spiritual life-journey. The Spring Sadhana Group's first meeting will be on Saturday March 19, 6pm, and pre-registration is required. The cost of this group is $108 and includes several meeting dates as well as ongoing assignments, meditations, information and interactions with me and the rest of the group. It has truly been inspiring to watch our Winter Sadhana group work and learn!
  
But let's say that you cannot commit to our group. Here's a little meditaion that you can all do to honor the Spring and to awaken to its energies:
  
Planting the Seeds Meditation
What you will need:
1. small planter    2. fresh potting soil    3. new seeds    4. clear plastic wrap
Directions:
Fill your planter with the fresh potting soil. Create a sacred space (maybe outside in nature) where you can sit to do this Meditation. Face the East, the direction of the rising sun, holding your fresh seeds in the palm of your hand. Take some deep breaths to focus and concentrate on being present. Follow your breath. Ask your heart what intention you would like to plant for yourself this Spring. This can be anything from cultivating patience, being more compassionate or non-judgemental, to beginning or finishing a specific project. Focus on this intention for several minutes, seeing it come into being. When you have that visualization steady in your mind, plant the seeds in your planter, using your finger to poke small holes, then covering up the dirt. When you are finished planting, hold the planter in your hands next to your heart center. Smile, envisioning the plant growing. When you are finished, water the plant and place the clear plastic wrap on top. You will need to tend to the plant regularly while it germinates - just as you would need to tend to any new intention that you are looking to create. Keep the plant in a warm place and make sure the soil stays moist until your plant sprouts to about an inch high. Then you may plant it outside or keep it in your planter (read the directions on the seed packet for where to place the plant for proper growth). Every day as you tend to your plant, it will be a reminder to tend to your heart's intention. Be patient and watch the energy happen. Happy Spring!
  
Namaste

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter: A Time to Reflect & Connect

Winter: Time to Reflection, Connection &
Deepening your Yoga Practice
Another snow storm headed our way? I feel your pain. Quite literally, I feel it in my low back and arms from shoveling the heavy, wet snow from the last storm off of my driveway, walks and my poor trees and shrubs. The biggest casualty of this last storm: my husband's greenhouse collapsed from the weight of the heavy snow and bent the entire frame. Ah, Mother Nature reminding us of her strength. Your yoga practice should remind you to live in the moment and breathe, but I know that's challenging when you are working to get what you can done before the storm and are faced with non-yogis fighting for position on Rt. 130 and in line at Shop-Rite. Or wait, maybe that's you!

One of the biggest problems I find myself having is when I compete with the natural energies around me. When I try to "force" a situation or outcome when the earth is openly telling me it's not going to work out that way. I do believe in goals and positive thought, of course, but knowing how and when to use them is a whole other story. This is the basic learning premise of my ongoing Winter Yoga Sadhana group that I meet with regularly. Maybe you missed meeting with this group, but that's why I put so many workshops and special classes on our menu for the winter time - so that you may work with these energies of moving inward, reflecting and reconnecting with your body and your true self. Winter is a perfect time to enhance or deepen your knowledge or practice of yoga.

All of our workshops listed below are geared towards helping you aspiring yogis realign. And there is no better time to do this than now, when you are probably feeling less aligned than say, in the Spring! Remember that on our website's calendar you can click on a workshop and view the detailed information about that program. We also have some workshop information on our website under the yoga tab.