Yoga

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
-T.S. Eliot

Yoga is a sanskrit word meaning union. It is the union of the body, mind and spirit. To me, it solves that existential angst of “who am I”. It is my belief that through yoga, we find ourselves and become able to answer the question “what is my purpose in life”.

When most of us think of yoga, we think of an asana practice. This is just one of Pantanjali’s “Eight Limbs of Yoga”, but it’s a good place to start to think about union.

Asanas build flexibility, balance and strength in the body and the mind. It’s easy to understand how that is accomplished in the body, but what about the mind? What about developing a yoga practice builds flexibility, balance and strength in the mind? My yoga teacher, Claire Diab taught me to ask myself what my body needs at the start of my daily yoga practice. I have a personal yoga practice following my morning Primordial Sound Meditation. This asking teaches my mind flexibility. I have to be willing to do things differently on a daily basis dependent on how it feels in this 51 year old body. It strengthens my mind because of the commitment and discipline it takes to cultivate a regular practice. It helps me get beyond my emotional response “I don’t feel like it” to remembering my commitment to my practice. This flexibility and strength creates balance in my mind. My thoughts are focused on what are helpful and loving choices rather than self defeating ones. All this came from wanting to touch my toes!

How remarkable the gift that comes from a regular asana practice. For if we have flexibility, balance and strength in our thoughts, all things are possible.

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Thanksgiving

“When all your desires are distilled you will cast just two votes, to love more and to be happy.” Hafiz

Today, like many, I sit back and reflect. I count my blessings and surround myself with love. I’ve been writing down one thing every day that I am thankful for this month. The following is my list:

  1. I am thankful for my ability to choose.
  2. I am thankful that Kaysie is my best friend.
  3. I am thankful for my kids.
  4. I am thankful for Rich.
  5. I am thankful for Yoga.
  6. I am thankful to be an American that votes.
  7. I am thankful for all the love in my life.
  8. I am grateful for this day and the abundance of love in my life.
  9. Thankful for my desire to heal and my willingness to try new ways to heal.
  10. Thankful for my desire to learn new things.
  11. Thankful for those that serve so I can be free.
  12. Thankful for grace.
  13. Thankful for love.
  14. Grateful to be a teacher.
  15. Grateful I continue to grow and learn.
  16. Grateful for Clarity.
  17. Grateful for Self Control.
  18. Grateful for forgiveness.
  19. Grateful for love.
  20. Grateful for prosperity.
  21. Grateful for health.
  22. Grateful for the abundance in my life and that I have people to share that with.

I am thankful to each of you that is walking alongside of me. You teach me, you lift me up, and you help me remember my purpose.

and now to cook… first I need a cup of coffee! Enjoy your day everyone!

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Wednesday – The Law of Least Effort

The Law of Least Effort tells us that everything is as it is meant to be in this moment. We look to accept things as they occur and ask ourselves how we contributed to make it so. Take responsibility for your situation and all situations seen as problems. Let go of having to defend yourself and your beliefs.

WOW! I needed this today. Especially the part that reminds me to take responsibility for my part of the situation. As the result of a falling out with my father a few years ago, I’m no longer included on my family’s (brothers and sister and families) thanksgiving trip. We started taking this trip 30 years ago. I haven’t gone the last 3. I woke up this morning with the sadness that comes each year when I think about them all being somewhere without me. And then, the universe provided for me as it always does. I have to remember that the falling out was a result of me speaking my truth. As a result of not backing down from what I believed, I gained my freedom to truly be my authentic self. What this law creates for me is a way to be powerful in my life rather than being a victim to anyone or life itself. This power actually comes from accepting responsibility for creating this situation in the first place, consciously or not. And now, sitting here, typing this out, the sadness has lifted too. I’m able to focus on what I do have rather than what is missing. I have a lovely holiday dinner planned with people I love and that love me back unconditionally. I am thankful for the abundance of love in my life for it sustains me.

Om Daksham Namah – My actions achieve maximal results with minimal effort.

The Law of Least Effort is tied to the Svadhistana Chakra, the 2nd Chakra known to be the seat of creativity and sexual energy. Close your eyes. Think, feel, imagine the color orange. The vibrational tone is VAM. Inhale and release your breath saying VAM.

As you go about your day today practice acceptance, take responsibility for your life and let go of the need to defend your point of view. It’s all your personal illusion anyway, isn’t it?

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Tuesday – The Law of Karma

Everybody is worried about “karma”. I’m not sure I understand why. Karma is not something done to you. In fact, in Sanskrit (a beautiful ancient language) “Karma” means action. So what on earth does it mean when someone says to you “wow, you’ve got bad karma”? In this lifetime we create our karma. Some believe we get to work out our karmic debt from past lives. I’m not sure about that so I just try to concentrate on making decisions that have no residual karmic debt.

What we put out into the world is what comes back to us. If we want abundant love we should give abundant love. If we want financial success, we should help others achieve it too. If we want others to do more for us, perhaps we should be doing more for others. And because it’s an action, we have to become more aware of the choices that we make throughout our day and the consequences of those choices. Unfortunately, we are a species that is driven by emotion. Whereas we would hope for rational, logical decision making, it’s rarely what happens. We mostly think “I want” rather than “What are the consequences to me and others if I take this action”. I wonder how many of those actions would we actually take if we thought it through rationally and unemotionally. By the way, I’m sure that one way each of us would make better choices is by developing a consistent meditation practice. Stillness and silence helps us make different choices by quieting the “chatter”. I know we all want to make good choices that have a positive ripple out into the universe.

It is the Muldahara Chakra, the root chakra, that is associated with Deepak Chopra’s Law of Karma from “Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” Om Kriyam Namah – My actions are in alignment with cosmic law. When energy is flowing freely in this chakra, we feel grounded, able to take care of our basic needs. Close your eyes and imagine the color red. The vibrational tone for the first chakra is LAM. Take a deep breath in and release the breath saying LAM.

Now, some of you are thinking, “how do I apply this in my life:? Well, just for today, put your attention on your intention of noticing your choices. Think about the consequences of those choices and feel that choice in your body. Does it go unnoticed? Probably a good indication to move forward in that direction. If there is a catch, however how small in your throat, your heart or your gut, you might want to rethink it.

That Guru we all search for is inside of us. GURU= gee you are you.. (thanks davidji) Trust it! Our bodies tell us everything we need to know about life if we listen.

Sending much love to all of you,
Bonnie

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Monday – The Law of Giving and Receiving

I think I must have read Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success nearly 10 years ago. I read it, put it away never to look back. It wasn’t until I was taking yoga teacher training with Claire Diab that I finally found a way to approach this practice that worked for me. Claire told us to forget about reading the book cover to cover, she said, on any given day start your day off by reading the law of the day. Davidji chimed in explaining on the other days we didn’t even need to think of the other laws. Now ultimately I want to be living all the laws of success every day but when that is not possible I revert back to the law of the day. I have found this practice invaluable. When I am struggling in my day for whatever reason I sit quietly, think of the law of the day and the next right step always comes. I know it might sound a little hokey but trust me, it works.

Monday is the Law of Giving and Receiving. It speaks to our part of the universal flow of the abundance of love. Every person you meet today gift a smile, a nod, a recognition. After all, isn’t that what we all want, to be noticed, to be heard, to be understood. By recognizing another we are actually giving ourselves the opportunity to be recognized too. By giving and accepting a gift we are circulating and creating love.

Om Vardhanam Namah – I am the nourisher of the universe, and the universe nourishes me. The Anahata Chakra – the Heart Chakra is associated with this law. Sit quietly, think, feel or imagine a beautiful emerald green before your eyes. Take a deep breath in and when you release the breath, say the sound YUM. This vibrational tone with help open your heart chakra. In your yoga practice today include Sphinx, Cobra, King Cobra or Bow pose to open the heart. As our heart opens it will allow in more love which chases away fear.

Go make this a great day.

Sending abundant love to you,
Bonnie

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And I begin . . .

What does she have to say? Is there anything here for me? I imagine that is what you come here thinking. My intention with this space is to capture my experiences on the path I’m walking. I’ll tell you a little about what brought me to this place, a transformation in thinking that has occurred for me and finally bring you along as the journey continues.

My intention for quite some time was to find a way to be an example that change can happen for an out of shape, overweight, middle aged, post successful career, stay at home discontent mother of two. I am that example and want to communicate that if it can happen for me it most certainly can happen for you. I want to teach you to change the thinking that keeps you stuck and give you the tools to propel your dreams forward.

Right now, right here, today, put aside that thought in your head. You know. The one that is now saying “but I’ve tried before and it’s never worked, why on earth would it work now”. It is that very thought, that very limiting thought, that prevents change from actually occurring. When we tell ourselves we can’t, we don’t. We we tell ourselves we can, we do!

So back to my intention. After studying with Dr. David Simon, Deepak Chopra, davidji, Claire Diab and the other wonderful Master Teachers at the Chopra Center, I found myself with four certificates and no clue what I was going to do next. I could teach Primordial Sound Meditation, Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga and the Chopra Center Perfect Health Lifestyle Program. In fact, I was teaching meditation and yoga on a weekly basis. In my home, in my downtown office, at a local yoga studio for a while, at a corporation for their employees and even at a domestic violence agency as a volunteer. Still, it didn’t feel complete. I wanted a way to share what I’ve learned on a regular basis without the constraints of time and space. (I travel a lot) I set my intention. I reflected on it regularly. I meditated. I developed a regular asana practice and my life started flowing. The lastest is the possibility of blogging for Yoga Teacher Journal online. Got me thinking… why not blog whether I get that gig or not. So here I am. And so are you. The following was the first ever public blog post by me. (I guess the one you just finished reading was the second.)

“Thought of the Day”

“Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” Annie Dillard

It used to be that every morning when I woke up my mind started rushing with thoughts of all that needs to be done by me today. My kids need attention, my work needs attention, my husband even requires some attention now and then. One day, I noticed that “I” had not made the list of things that need attention. I woke up, 47 years old, out of shape, overweight with a general feeling of unease in my body, mind and spirit. I knew I needed a shift, a change of perspective but I wasn’t sure where to look for that. So, I took to the internet. It was there I reconnected with things that interested me 30 year before. Before “life” and all the “shoulds” took over. Meditation, Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. I somehow knew my answer was there, within this philosophy, this roadmap of how to live a productive, content life. Notice I didn’t say happy, not sure what the heck that really even means as it shifts for me daily.

And so I began to learn, shifted in my thinking, and ultimately found more peace in my life. I found the Chopra Center for Wellbeing and fell in love with Dr. David Simon and Deepak Chopra, davidji, and what they were teaching. I learned to meditate and the power that came with that astounded me. All Chopra workshops have yoga classes twice a day. I was reintroduced to an asana practice. I read about eastern philosophy. And I meditated twice a day for most days. And what I noticed, over time, was that my morning anxiety was less. When I took time in the morning to meditate and a short asana practice, the anxiety of the day that overwhelmed me as I awoke was no longer there. I greeted the day with peace and love in my heart rather than with fear and the feeling of being overwhelmed by my life. These are the gifts that a daily meditation and yoga practice brought to my life.

I signed up to learn to teach meditation and yoga to deepen my practice. I wanted to deepen my understanding of my self and my place in the universe. It was never my intention to teach these to others but that is what unfolded. My joy for what I was learning and how it changed my life propelled me forward in my studies. I am a certified Primordial Sound Meditation teacher, Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga instructor and Ayruvedic Lifestyle Educator through Chopra Center University. I teach others as I want to help others have access to all the learnings I did that caused a profound shift for me. I believe it is my Dharma, my purpose of life, to help others break free from the limits put on us by our thoughts. I want to give people tools to find themselves again.

As I stand on the front of my mat every morning for Sun Salutations (surya namaskar) with my hands at my heart, I breath in and feel lucky to be here another day. I reach up my hands to sky and notice I am opening my body to take in all the energy of the universe and as I bend forward, hinging at the hips bringing my hands to my feet, Pada Hastansana (Hand to foot pose) I am taking all that universal energy into my core.. and so it goes…

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