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Meditation Motivation

1 Aug

Stroke_Of_InsightThis Ted talk by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who speaks eloquently of her experience having and recovering from a stroke, is always so compelling, inspiring and empowering. What a beautiful reminder of our interconnectedness with all of the universe, and how we are empowered to practice accessing the place within that is always at peace.

Her book is just as great at the talk. You can find it now at the Center’s Lending Library!

“I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”

~Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD


My teacher often cites an ancient adage that I think sums up this topic beautifully: “Where attention goes, energy flows.”  We have a choice: we can focus on the pain and suffering in the world, worrying and feeling into the sense of lack and fear, or we can direct our focus on cultivating an inner space of love and peace, which will radiate out and create more of these qualities in the world around us.

We are familiar with methods that get us out of the left hemisphere, like yogasana, concentration, breathing, meditation.  How do we continue to reside in that place of inner peace once we leave the yoga mat or the meditation cushion?



Gratitude: The Ultimate Practice

18 Feb

From Art of Revolution:

Gratitude is the secret to happiness, and if in these dark and dreary days you’re feeling the winter blues coming on, a Gratitude Practice offers a beautiful way to relieve depression and draw your awareness to what a blessed life you already live.

  • Yoga Chicago featured an article entitled Welcome Discomfort with Gratitude by Jacqui Neurauter.  Her piece offers a perspective on how we can learn to move through discomfort–whether it is in asana practice or in relationships–and allow these experiences to transform out lives.  Neurauter’s piece is short, sweet, and penetrating.  Read it here.
  • Read about Yoga and Gratitude in an article by Philip Moffitt for Yoga Journal: Selfless Gratitude.

“The secret to happiness
is reflection
and Gratitude.”

~The nun who inspired the 365 Grateful project

What are you grateful for?  You can ask this question at any time of day, any day of the week.  Feel free to share.

Om shanti shanti shanti.

3 Uplifting Films

28 Dec

Winter is a beautiful time for slowing down, taking this season for introspection and reflection.  For me, this often means revisiting my past year and re-establishing my life’s intention.  Sometimes, though, winter can feel like a time of stagnation.  I’d like to offer three options for you, if it’s dark and dreary and you just don’t want to leave the house.


I’ve seen 3 documentaries recently that I found to be positively uplifting and inspiring ~ solutions-based ideas for our dynamic world.  They’re just the right medicine for a dreary day.  Do a few warming sun salutations, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Oh!  If you’re like me and can’t quite swallow the idea of a movie without popcorn, here’s a recipe to at least do it the Ayurvedic way, from Eden Ayruveda.

In a hot fry pan add spices in this order, toasting each a few seconds before adding the next. I like to toast the spices in whole form and then grind them all together.

  • 1 tsp black pepper corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp hing

When they have all released their fragrances grind them in a mortar and pestle or food processor and add:

  • 1 tsp amchur powder (dried green mango—you might also try ground pomegranate seeds or sumac?)
  • 1 tsp unrefined sugar
  • 1 tsp saindouv or Himalayan salt

Sprinkle over popcorn freshly popped in ghee!

~ Eden Ayruveda

Once you’ve got your popcorn ready, light a candle (I prefer 100% beeswax tealights from Quiet Light candles!), coze in and enjoy:

Movie #1: The Spirit of Good

A short-but-sweet preview of a full-length to come about the inspiring Mycologist Paul Stamets, who is perhaps most famous for his Ted Talk “Six Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World.”  This film, by Louie Schwartzberg (whose other works are well worth checking out, here), is a brief call to action paired with incredible time-lapse cinematography.


Movie #2: Dirt!  The Movie

I thought the same thing when I first saw this come across my Netflix “recommended for you” cue.  A documentary … about dirt?  But trust me, the inspirational, timely, motivating visionaries and voices in this film can change your life!  And it’s so beautifully well-done.  Give it a try!  Here’s the trailer below, and you can rent it or find it on a variety of online video rentals.


Movie #3: I Am ~ the shift is about to hit the fan

There are tons and tons of docs you can find about the problems humanity faces in this time of overpopulation, climate change, species loss, food shortage and more.  I love this film because director Tom Shadyac (yeah, the guy who did movies like Ace Ventura Pet Detective and Bruce Almighty) approaches the world’s spiritual and intellectual leaders to ask about solutions.  The film ended and I felt uplifted and ready to make a difference.  I think you will too.  Great part: you can watch it on Hulu, for free!  Below is the trailer.


Movie #4 : YogaWoman ~ the film

I know I said three films, but I had to include this one, too.  It’s affirming and sweet, and just might inspire you to roll out your mat and get moving!  A history of yoga’s evolution and women in the west.


Add in a few yoga postures between scenes, or you could try watching in Upavistha Konasana!

Let me know what you think!


Yoga Inspiration

9 Apr

Yoga News & Inspiration from Jessie!

1 a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation
1 b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions
1 c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions

2: the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs


Julie Gudmestad, PT

I just returned from a trip to Portland to Julie Gudmestad’s Yoga & Physical Therapy studio.  I encourage everyone interested to check out her collection of articles written for Yoga Journal on Anatomy of Asana (asana means yoga posture).

Julie is hosting a 5-day intensive Anatomy of Asana clinic at her studio in Portland this coming August 5-9, 2013.  I hope to attend, and invite you to join me!  Check out the details here.


“There is a story in Zen circles about a man and a horse.  The horse is galloping quickly, and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important.  Another man, standing alongside the road, shouts, ‘Where are you going?’ and the first man replies, ‘I don’t know!  Ask the horse!’  This is also our story.  We are riding a horse, we don’t know where we are going, and we can’t stop.  The horse is our habit energy pulling us along, and we are powerless.  We are always running, and it has become a habit.  We struggle all the time even during our sleep.  We are at war within ourselves, and we can easily start a war with others.  We have to learn the art of stopping–stopping our thinking, our habit energies, our forgetfulness, the strong emotions that rule us.  When an emotion rushes through us like a storm, we have no peace.  We turn on the TV and then we turn it off.  We pick up a book and then we put it down.  How can we stop this state of agitation?  How can we stop our fear, dispair, anger, and craving?  We can stop by practicing mindful breathing, mindful talking, mindful smiling, and deep looking in order to understand.  When we are mindful, touching deeply the present moment, the fruits are always understnading, acceptance, love, and the desire to relieve suffering and bring joy.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

ImageTry this Book!

If you are interested in the nature of the mind, how to separate from the incessant chitta vrttis (mental chatter) and cultivate a deep and lasting sense of peacefulness and clarity, definitely read this book!

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer is a straightforward, easy-to-understand, practical and accessible approach to yoga philosophy and practice that anyone, from the most devout religious to the agnostic–will benefit from reading.

This is the type of book that I know I’ll be reading again and again throughout my lifetime, and will give as a gift to many.