Today I would like less than 3 minutes of your time. 2:18 minutes to be exact. I want you take a deep breath in and big sigh out. Relax wherever you are and click on the image below. Press play, close your eyes and listen. Listen through your ears, all your senses and through every pore in your skin…
“A Call to Prayer” by Estas Tonne
Here and now before earth and sky we stand.
We feel the blessing of your infinite love in our blood. In our bones. In our breath. In our hearts.
We open our eyes to see beyond what we have seen before. We open our ears to hear what we could not hear before.
Beyond repetition. Beyond the beyond. We feel a new story emerging beyond ourselves and rippling into our lucid body.
As waves of love remind us of who we really are. Dissolve us into what we have always meant to be. And the layers between us and who we are meant to be, fade away. And suddenly we realize we are all we could dream we could be.
To see without eyes. To walk without feet. To fly without wings.
This is my prayer for you.
What was present for you when you received this prayer? I’d be honoured if you’d comment below and share your experience with me.
love & pranams,
This supine spinal twist – or Supta Matsyendrasana – sometimes almost feels too good; with arms spread and spine in a supported twist it’s nearly a relaxed ecstasy.
Begin by lying in the supine position, that is, on your back.
On your next inhale, slowly raise both of your knees until the palms of your feet are lying flat on the ground. On your exhale, prepare for your twist left by shifting your hips slightly to the right, pushing through your feet to raise your hips here.
On your next inhale, draw your right knee closer to your chest while letting your left leg slip back to the ground fully extended.
With your next exhale, slowly let your right knee roll over to your left side. You will notice your hips begin to stack themselves. At this point, if you feel your hips are too extended, feel free to use a prop to support your bent knee like you see me doing in this photograph.
Imagining a straight line that runs just under your chin, extend both of your arms straight outwards. They should be close to parallel with your bent thigh.
If you’re feeling like a little more twist, feel free to turn your head now away from your bent knee on an exhale.
I always like to lay in this position for as long as my breath will keep me there.
To exit this pose, on your exhale, roll from your hips and your leg will follow naturally. Bring both your knees up slightly, resting your feet flat on the ground, shifting your hips slightly to the left to prepare to stack them, and rolling now to your right with a bent left leg.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day today, I would like to share with you a special meditation – the Inner Smile. This is a Taoist mediation which activates loving kindness within your smiling inner heart. It is said that your inner heart is the portal to a direct experience with your soul.
The essence of this practice is a smile. The universal language of a smile speaks straight to the heart, bypassing the intellect and ego. Smiling to others and ourselves is a gift of love. It is an elixir filled with powerful transformation and healing energy.
- Find a comfortable seat, and close your eyes. Let the spine be tall and allow your entire body to relax. Let your tongue rest on the upper pallet behind the front teeth (to activate the microcosmic orbit – a body energy circuit). Take some deep breaths focusing on a releasing exhalation.
- Relax your facial features and take your awareness to your third eye (the space between the eyebrows). In that space imagine someone or something that brings you great joy. Raise the corners of your mouth into an easy smile.
- Sit with the feeling of that smile in your body for several breaths.
- Now take this smile now into your heart. The heart element is fire, which can activate anything. Love, the most powerful energy of all, resides in the heart. Allow your inner smile to activate the vast love contained within you.
- Let your heart continue smiling and radiating this love throughout your body. You can imagine your body as hollow and the smile as a glowing ball of light filling every dark corner. If you have certain areas of your body that need more attention, pause there for several breaths allowing the healing energy of the inner smile to bathe that body part in healing light.
- When the inner smile in your body feels complete, begin to send out your inner smile to the world. Give yourself several breaths to allow your smile to become more and more expansive and luminous. Notice how this feels.
- Complete the meditation with a few deeper breaths and a closing that feels right for you (bowing, hands to heart, a prayer).
I hope you enjoy this simple but profoundly effective practice. As Mother Theresa said, “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
love & pranams,
Many of you have heard the saying: “Listen to your body whisper so you don’t have to hear it scream”. Wise words but often not heeded. I’m sure we have all had instances where our bodies tried to tell us something wasn’t quite right, but we kept ignoring it and ignoring it until one day things fell apart and we had no choice but to pay attention.
Learning to get quiet and really listen is a skill and it takes practice. One of the reasons I love Yin Yoga so much is that it gives us this incredible opportunity to hear those body whispers. But you can really sit or lie in any position to begin the process of body listening – it is our intention to listen that is the most important. When we circulate our awareness, we increase energy flow and ignite realizations about what is going on, right here, right now. Interested? Let’s give it a try. For the next five minutes find a comfortable position and circulate your awareness in the following way:
- Close your eyes and relax. Then relax some more.
- Begin by attuning into your breath. Feel the inhalation. Feel the exhalation. Relax again.
- Scan through the body looking for sensation. When you find something, let your attention rest there, on the sensation, without doing anything else.
- Tune in – even deeper. What are the larger sensations? The not so large sensations. Can you sense even the very subtle ones?
- Can you allow yourself to just be simply curious about what is going on. Be present. Be with whatever is happening without any story or judgement.
- If that body part could talk freely, what would it say? Can you listen from a place of compassionate observation?
- What is the colour, the feeling, the texture, the sound of what you are experiencing?
- When you truly feel that part of the body has been able to fully express itself, thank it. Be sincere. Be loving.
- If you feel ready, tune in and scan again repeating the process. Take as much time as you need.
- When the process is complete, give yourself a minute to attune into the breath once more. Relax and notice how you feel – your whole being. Be aware of the change you’ve created – in both your body and your mind. Smile.
I just recently came back from some time in Northern California. I was fortunate enough to have some time to create a personal retreat of sorts – 5 days totally offline, with abundant time in nature, yoga and meditation practice and quiet reflection.
I’ll admit that before I left, I felt that taking this time was somehow overly indulgent since I travel so frequently and I almost convinced myself to not go.
Am I ever glad I didn’t.