Wednesday, October 31, 2007

80% Grey

Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is dying of pancreatic cancer. By now you may have seen his final speech that he gave to his students. If not, you can see the original talk at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5700431505846055184 or the 10-minute version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0aO64aKqek.

I don't recall if he said this as part of his speech or in an interview, but at some point he said, "The world is 10% black, 10% white, and 80% grey. What really matters is the 80%. This is what we can change." How we look at things and what we do with our lives is the 80%.

This was particularly interesting to me, as I've been wrestling with how does the Law of Attraction (as defined in the Secret and by folks such as Joe Vitale) come into play when someone has a positive outlook and truly enjoys life--then this person gets terminally ill. I've been questioning:

1. Are we dealt a hand of cards and all we can do is play them out the best we can?

2. Or do we select what cards we desire?

Option 2 is the Law of Attraction. Option 1 is making the best of what we're given.

After hearing Professor Pausch speak, I'm beginning to think that neither option is correct. Perhaps it's a third option:

3. You're dealt a hand--some cards you must keep, some you can let go, and you may select some new ones.

Cards such as your height, eye color, genetic disease or great health are frequently cards that simply are given to you. No choices. "It is what it is," as Roger Eischens used to say. The cards you can let go could include anger, impatience, judgment, or something else that you choose to change about yourself. Finally, there are the cards you attract. This is where the Law of Attraction comes into play.

I most definitely don't have it all "figured out" by am now thinking that 10 % of life just sucks. No two ways about it. I can sit here all day and say tragedy happens for a reason. Even if I believe it, it still sucks. 10 % is wonderful. Somethings are so joyous that you'd have to be a real fuddy-duddy to find the negative side. Now for the 80%--this is what we can all work with. Attitude, determination, love, and hope can choice to turn that 80% into what we'd like to see more of in our lives and in the world.

Maybe I'm wrong and we truly attract everything (option 2) or shit just happens without any impact on our parts (option 1), but I doubt it.

Your thoughts on this matter (as always) are much appreciated.

Love Much,

Kris
www.TotalHealthYoga.com
www.TotalHealthYogaClasses.Blogspot.com

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whats Love Got To Do With It?


Jake (my son) walks in the door from babysitting down the street. I call out, "You are going to love your mama!"

"Why? Are we having pizza?", he asks.

I laugh, "Do I need to make pizza for you to love me?"

"Well........" Jake grins mischievously. Ah, my sarcastic humor has rubbed off on him.

Yes, we happened to be having pizza, and every time we do Jake touts his affection for me. If I make lasagna, he grudgingly comes to the table. Pizza results in extras hugs.

Now this is all in good fun, but it got me thinking.

What is love?
Why do we love?
How can we love better?

I've heard psychotherapist say "love is a verb, not a noun." That love is something we do. I know that when I act in a loving manner, my heart softens and I begin to feel more love. That is, it's not always the feeling that comes first.

For example, if I'm really angry at someone, I attempt to speak with a soft face and carefully selected words. In my attempt to get my point across without yelling or putting the other person on the defensive, I begin to see their side. They don't have to say a word, it's the softness in my own face and words that begin to open my heart to find more empathy and understanding.

With that said, I still yell--just not as often. When in the heat of the moment and anger or self-pity takes over, I feel disconnected from love. This is why I believe love is so important!

Love brings connection to our Self and others.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer speaks a lot on the subject of "loving better." Here is her famous poem, The Invitation. For me, these words describe real love:

The Invitation - by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty everyday, and if you can source your life on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon.
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.


Love Much--whatever that might mean for you,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/
http://www.totalhealthyogaclasses.blogspot.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stress Management - Reduce Stress


Have you heard about the Stress Eraser? Its cost is a whopping $300. It's a biofeedback device that monitors your pulse and tells you when to breath.


Save your money and do the following instead:

Sit or lie in a comfortable position.
Gently close your eyes.
Notice your breath for the next 6 or so breaths. No manipulation, judgement, or change. Simply notice it.

Now guide the breath to a 1:1 ratio--so that the inhales and exhales are of the same length. Only do this as long as there is no strain. It may feel a bit "odd", but still comfortable.
Take about 6 1:1 breaths.

Next slowly add one or more counts to each breath. That is, maintain the 1:1 ratio, but slow the breath some. Do this gradually, and only as long as you feel comfortable--NO strain at all. Continue to breath at this longer/slower 1:1 for another 6 breaths.

Finally begin to lengthen your exhales until you are at a 1:2 ratio (the exhales are twice as long as the inhales). As always, only do this as long as there is NO strain and a level of comfort still exists.
Use the calming 1:2 ratio for 12 breaths.

Allow a natural breath to flow in and out--no counting or attempted ratios. Softly open your eyes.



Enjoy the peace and stress removal that the breath can bring!

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/
http://www.totalhealthyogaclasses.blogspot.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just for fun - Laughing Yoga

Need a laugh? Check out this link!




Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/
http://www.totalhealthyogaclasses.blogspot.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pranayama - Solutions to Healthy Breathing


Donna Farhi is a soft spoken, yet strong woman. (See post about strength.) I'm a sucker for a New Zealand accent, and she's got one! It's a pleasure to work with Ms Farhi in person. However, there's a lot to be said about reading any of her many books.

Her Breathing Book is wonderful. After reading Iyengar's Light on Pranayama, The Breathing Book felt like a breath of fresh are.

Pranayama is definitely a disciplined activity offering great rewards when practiced with dedicated awareness and honesty. However, the over-zealous (yes, I admit I can fall into this category) may perform advanced pranayama techniques before they're ready. This is where Farhi's book comes into play.

Donna doesn't talk about pranayama. A matter of fact it's only referred to twice. Once in a listing for supplies to aid in breathing exercises, and the other time on page 9. She says,

"On a deeper level, highly controlled breathing practices such as those employed in yogic pranayama can backfire because they can act to repress the underlying psychological fears and issues that are driving poor breathing habits in the first place."
So as useful as pranayama can be, it is imperative to first understand your breath and explore more organically. By that, I mean to work with less control and more softness prior to a stricter discipline, such as pranayama. That way, you'll know if you are pushing too hard. Learn what relaxed and full breathing is, so you know when you are deviating from it. Make sense?
If you've practiced Yoga, you'll notice that this book doesn't read like other Yoga books. The exercises are not necessarily "Yoga moves." Regardless of whether-or-not Yoga is a part of your life, this book is invaluable in learning how to breath.

Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/
http://www.totalhealthyogaclasses.blogspot.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Self Confindence - Ego

In interest of doing more aerobics (see post), I periodically "jump around" while watching Oprah. Yesterday there was a woman and her husband on. This lady has managed to get her family over $100,000 in debt. Her husband's job pays $100,000/year--so, this kind of debt was no easy feat. Oprah asked her why she spends so much and the woman admitted she was being extremely selfish. I'm thinking to myself, "Duh. Of course, this is selfish. Your kids have no health insurance, you stay at home getting your nails done and shopping, while your husband struggles to make ends meet."


Later in the show, Suzi Orman came on. Being that I haven't watched much Oprah for literally years, it was interesting to see Suzi for the first time in a long time. She has gotten even more certain and "deadly" honest.


The thing that struck me the most was when Suzi made an insistent point that this woman was NOT selfish. "You are selfless. Not selfish." Suzi looked out at the audience and said something along the lines of, "Do not sit in judgement of this woman. Don't one of you judge her. You all do it. Yes, this case is extreme, but we all do the same thing in our own ways."


Hard to say, since I was "jumping around", but I think I blushed. Caught in the act of judging another and believing I was somehow better. I like to think that I don't judge, but I do. I was not only labeling the behavior as poor. I hate to admit it, but I felt superior to this lady. Now it was my turn to feel a bit shameful.


Suzi went on to say that this constant buying of things was because she had no idea who she was. In her quest to really feel comfortable with herself, she kept looking outside to "stuff". When that stuff didn't work, she'd get more. Always searching for herself and happiness. Any Yogi would tell her, you'll never find yourself or true happiness outside. You must look within.


In this light, I felt compassion instead of contempt for a mother that so blatantly put herself before her children and spouse. Suzi provided advise about getting rid of the debt--a tough love approach. I'd like to add to that a Yoga class with a knowledgeable teacher would really help her find fulfillment on a deeper level.


"Coincidentally," this ties into something that Yogi Roger Eischens used to say, "It's easy to get along with people that have big egos. It's the people with no egos that are difficult." Ego is knowing yourself and feeling confident. It's those that are searching and "selfless" that try to prove themselves all the time. Those who are sure of their own being, have nothing to prove.



Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/
http://www.totalhealthyogaclasses.blogspot.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Benefits of Yoga - Found in the Grand Canyon

Looking back over time, I ran across some musings from years ago. Some I now disagree with and others still ring true. Following is an article I wrote in 2003:

TAPAS IN THE GRAND CANYON

After a grueling 9 hour hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, with a 23 pound pack on my 5’1” body, Bright Angel Campground didn’t look so bright. My trapezius ached, my quadriceps quivered and my feet felt as if I had been walking across hot coals. This life-long dream, of staying at the bottom of this wondrous place, was definitely NOT what I had expected.

Sure the views were truly spectacular. The sun cast eerie and mysterious shadows at every turn. The sounds of the creek rushing over rocks to empty into the Colorado River filled the air. Only 10% of the population can see the Milky Way in the night sky. We were part of that 10% while camping at the bottom of the canyon.

But tell all this to my throbbing body. Every muscle tingled. Walking on flat ground brought on moans of agony. I thought I was in shape. I thought I was the “rugged, outdoorsy type,” as my partner, Mike, would say. This should have been a breeze. What was wrong with me? Instead of awe, happiness and joy, I felt disappointment, sadness and shame. And we had only come down the canyon. In 2 days, it was going to be time for the 10 mile ascent! The park rangers say to estimate the climb up to be twice as long as coming down. Let’s see that’s…18 hours! What was wrong with me? I’m only 39. I hike all the time. Why was I not fit enough, not strong enough? Disappointment filled every cell in my body. This is when I turned to yoga.

Many times students have expressed disappointment with their practice—they say they lack the strength for chaturanga (yoga push-up), the balance for garudasana (one-legged eagle balance), the flexibility for halasana (plow), or the discipline for meditation. At this moment of despair at the bottom of the canyon—dreading the imminent climb—my own words that I’ve told students again and again came to me. Words passed down from yogi to yogi over the years, “Start where you are today. Do not judge yourself. Don’t start from where you were yesterday or where you think you should be. Start where you are today. Accept yourself today.” As Donna Farhi, famous yogini from New Zealand, said at a recent visit to Chicago, “See what is. Embrace it.” Don’t get caught in these feelings, but accept them until they are ready to leave.

When we started the long climb back to the rim two days later, I began to feel the fear and welcomed it in. I didn’t grasp onto it nor push it away. I simply allowed it to reside in me. Thanks to Donna Farhi for this fabulous insight. After accepting—no longer struggling and fighting—these “negative” emotions, I was able to go beyond them. This is where sukha (contentment; joy), sthira (balance), and tapas (heat; enthusiasm) came into play.

Sukha—how could I find joy and pleasure in this experience? By accepting myself and my fear of returning to the top. Sthira—how could I find grounding and balance? With every step, my new focus shifted from pains in my muscles to placement of my feet. Before our ascent, I asked Mike what he thought about as he walked. I was expecting something like, “getting to the top,” “a good movie,” “a warm shower,” you know—something distracting to make the aches less noticeable. Unexpectedly, he wisely said, “I think about walking, where to place my next step.” As many great spiritually enlightened beings have said, “When I eat, I think about eating. When I sit, I think about sitting. When I walk, I think about walking.” So simple, and yet so profound. Tapas—how could I find enthusiasm while feeling so weak? By focusing on each step, one at a time. Not by dreaming of the end, not by fretting over the time. Simply by taking one step at a time. While I walk, I’ll think about walking.

In the end, with sukha, sthira, tapas and a lot of water, we made it to the top in only 6 hours—3 hours less than it took to get down. I felt physically exhausted, yet strong and vital. Yoga, Donna Farhi, Mike and the Grandest of all Canyons helped me to find an inner strength that I didn’t even know I had. It just goes to show, a little tapas can go a long way!

Love Much,

Kris
www.TotalHealthYoga.com
www.TotalHealthYogaClasses.Blogspot.com

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dharma - Passion for Life

Dr. Joe Vitale recently entered a post about finding your passion. He suggests imagining that you have just won or been given tons of money. After any initial spending sprees, what do you do? This is your passion. The next step is finding out how to create a living doing this passion. What he calls 'profitable passion.'

What a great way to live life. To know what brings you joy and do it every day!

Periodically, I question myself and ask "What makes me want to get up in the morning excited to start the day?" If I can wake up every (or most) mornings and look forward to the day ahead, then I know that I'm following my dharma and living my passion.

In The Heart of Yoga, TKV Desikachar defines dharma as duty or ethical value. In Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by BKS Iyengar, he describes dharma is the 'first of the four aims of life, science of duty, religious duty, virtue.' Sometimes Iyengar simply equates dharma to duty.

My favorite teacher on the subject of dharma is Aadil Palkhivala, founder of Purna Yoga. He has a brief YouTube regarding the subject. He talks about the importance of knowing yourself in order to know who to "be". Otherwise, we tend to attempt "being" someone that we are not.


"Dharma is the reason you are alive." - Aadil Palkhivala
Yoga is a tool to help you find and live your dharma.
Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/
http://www.learnyogaonline.blogspot.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yoga of the Breath - Swara Yoga

While working with Doug Keller this summer, he talked about the emotions and the nostrils. One idea is that by guiding the breath into different areas of the nostrils you can affect you experience and emotions.

That night, my partner, Mike, told me something that my ex-mother-in-law said. It really bothered me. I could feel my stomach churn as anger and hurt began to build up. What a great opportunity to try out what Doug had talked about.

Noticing the breath and how it moved in and out of my nostrils, I felt the current strongest at the top of my nostrils. It was a bit difficult, but I was able to move the current to the bottom and then finally to the center. I focused on the left nostril and laid on my right side to help open it.

The situation had not changed, but my emotional knee-jerk reaction had. I still thought the comment was inappropriate, but the churning knot in my stomach was gone. Amazingly, I slept like a baby (well, not like a baby, since they tend to be up all night and I was out solid).

Recently, this shifting of the breath in the nostrils proved useful again. A student came by for some meditation to help her cope with a challenging life situation that she's currently going through. Her emotions were strong--controlled, but strong. As she began to move the current of her breath from the top, sides, bottom, center, and finally to a swirl near the center, a small smile came to her face. She commented, "I feel happy. It's a little freaky and amazing that by just moving my breath I can feel this way."

Something powerful is happening here. This is just the tip of the iceberg concerning what breath can do.

Swara Yoga is Self-realization through the study and use of the breath. You can read more about Swara Yoga here and here. Happy learning and breathing!



Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/
http://www.learnyogaonline.blogspot.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ethics - What do you look for in a teacher?

I was just speaking with a friend regarding choices we make about who we select as our teacher(s). There are so many styles of Yoga and types of people teaching it. First you have to find a teacher that offers a type of Yoga that appeals to you. Then it's important to find someone who actually knows what they're doing.

This might sound crazy, but anyone can spend 2 days at a workshop and walk away with a sheet of paper calling them a "certified Yoga teacher." (While looking for a link to show you one of these pathetic offerings, I found worse. You can actually buy a Yoga certification. That's right, for just $49.99 you can buy "the ExpertRating Yoga Instructor Certification". Sounds like you pay money, they send you a manual, you take a written online test (based off the manual), and then your certificate is sent out.) With that said, I've had teachers with no certification and some with Yoga Alliance approved certification--requiring at least 200 hours of training in various subsets of Yoga, such as anatomy and philosophy. In many cases, the one with less formal training is better. All that training doesn't make you a great teacher, but hopefully you at least understand alignment and Yoga a little better. Again, I've found this is not always the case.

My friend currently attends a class with a very knowledgeable woman. We'll call her Mary. Mary has studied Iyengar Yoga with Iyengar and many of his senior teachers for 30 years. She leads a well-structured class and has a firm understanding of how to guide students. My friend feels safe in this class and appreciates how Mary is able to watch and ensure folks don't overextend themselves. Sounds great, right? The catch is that after class, Mary is a judgemental and mean person. This really bothers my friend and she's questioning whether-or-not to continue attending a class given by someone that she can't respect or like as a person. There is another teacher, in the Anusara style, that she can go to. This gal is very sweet and nice, but she keeps stressing the class to go a little further--take it deeper. I have heard this frequently in Anusara--constant encouragement to "take it to the next level." (A blog topic for another day.) My friend is concerned that she could easily get hurt in such a class.

Who does my friend go to? The meanie that actually knows how to teach or the kind woman that pushes too far?

I also struggle with this. There is a teacher that really knows his stuff. But he is pretentious and (in my opinion) looks down on many of his students. In many ways he wants to be treated as a guru (see my post on gurus and Doug Keller's post--much more profound than mine). When seated in class on the floor for even 3-4 hours, you are not to straighten your legs as he says it is disrespectful to point your feet at him. Lying down, even if your body aches from sitting so long, is out of the question. I honor his classroom and do as he requests. However, there are a number of things he says that tell me his ego is inflated like an oversized beach ball. Not the kind of guy I'd like to hang around with. The catch is, he has so much knowledge that can help me improve as a teacher and in my practice of Yoga. Ethically, I'm a bit torn as to whether-or-not I will study with him in 2008.

John Friend says and does a lot of things. Some of which I am strongly against and some of which I agree. He once said that after you've been practicing for a while, to stop and look at your life. Are you a more compassionate, understanding, kind, and loving person? Or are you self-centered, judgemental, uncaring, or cruel? If you find the latter to be true, then look at your practice. Alter and use your practice to help you become more compassionate and caring in your life. This is good stuff. And that is where my question comes in.

If these teachers truly understand Yoga and practice it in a heartful way, then why are their egos so big and their judgements so quick? Is it best to only learn from a teacher that emanates compassion and love? What if you do not respect their way of life? Is it important, or even necessary, to respect or admire how they live their life, or does it not matter once the mats are rolled up and put away? Is it wisest to turn a blind eye to that person outside of class while still honoring, respecting, and learning from the knowledge they have acquired during class? If we ignore the teachers that don't suit us on a personal or ethical level, are we 'throwing out the baby with the bathwater?'

More questions than answers today.
Any insights are much appreciated.

Kris
www.TotalHealthYoga.com
www.LearnYogaOnline.Blogspot.com

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Aerobics - Is Your Yoga Aerobic?

I have often wondered if my Yoga is keeping me truly fit. It definitely gives me strength, balance, and flexibility. It helps to deepen my breath and calm my mind. Sometimes I experience life force (Prana) strongly pulsating through me. These are all positives. But what about cardio health?

There is a lot of controversy over whether-or-not Yoga can provide an aerobic workout. Some styles, such as power Yoga, lend themselves more to an aerobic routine. Several years ago, I studied power or ashtanga Yoga for a number of months. To be honest it just didn't feel like Yoga to me. That's not to say that everyone's experience would be the same. I found it frustrating to follow the set postures and "push" through movements (asanas) so quickly. For me the benefits of focus, concentration, awareness, and breath were lost during this type of practice. I enjoy (and benefit most from) becoming intimately aware of how each breath impacts my body and mind. I enjoy moving at a pace that brings stillness to my mind and depth to my breath.

I had a friend that once claimed holding postures for at least one minute provided a nice workout for his heart. He even lost weight this way. By looking at him, I'd say about 20 pounds. I wondered if my heart was really getting aerobic benefits from doing this.

So, last week (I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner) I decided to test my aerobic fitness. Instead of guessing if the Yoga was keeping my heart aerobically fit, I simply tested it out.

The test showed that my aerobic fitness s*cks! This was very surprising news to me. It wasn't just "not so great". It was darn right horrible! Other than carrying about 10 more pounds than I'd like to, I feel fit, healthy, and relatively balanced. I'd like to stay that way, so I've added 20-30 minutes of heart fitness 5 days a week. Next month I plan to test my aerobic health again and see where it's at.

If you are unsure if your Yoga is providing aerobic benefits or power Yoga is just not for you, then take the following test.

1. Determine your target heart rate. According to the American Heart Association, your target heart rate is 50-85 % of your maximum heart rate. Your max heart rate is 220 minus your age. If you're feeling lazy, see the chart here.

2. Using your exercise of choice (walking, running, biking, etc) get moving for at least 10 minutes. Pause and count your pulse for 6 seconds. Multiply this by 10 to get your heart rate. Be sure you have reached your target heart rate. Wait 1 minute and take your pulse again by timing for 6 seconds and multiplying by 10. The reason for only counting for 6 seconds is to get an accurate reading, because the heart rate can change the longer you count.

3. Dr. Gabe Mirkin says that if your heart rate goes down less than 30 beats/minute during the one minutes waiting time, then add more aerobics to your life. If it drops by more than 50 beats/minute, then you are in stellar shape.

Have a happy and healthy heart.
Love Much,

Kris
www.TotalHealthYoga.com
www.LearnYogaOnline.Blogspot.com

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sanskrit - OM - Shanti - Namaste

Q: What are the Sanskrit words that we use at the end of every class?


A: At the end of my classes (and many others) there are 3 words used:

OM
Shanti
Namaste

Shanti means peace. It is pronounced as it looks with the 'a' being like the 'a' in 'father'. The 'i' sounds like the 'e' in 'he'.

Namaste has a few translations meaning pretty much the same thing--I honor and bow to the divine spark in you, which is also in me. The first two 'a's are like the 'a' in 'father'. The 'ste' sounds like 'stay' with a softer 't' sound.

OM is a bigger subject. It is an ancient sound. Physics tells us that everything is actually a vibration. OM is the vibration of all things. When we chant this sound in unison, it brings the energy of the groups together. We can feel the vibrations inside our body, helping our inner awareness to grow.

The translation of OM is AUM.

A: First letter in the Sanskrit alphabet
Creation, birth, beginning
Wakeful state

U: In the middle of the Sanskrit alphabet
Sustaining, life, middle
Dream state

M: The last letter of the Sanskrit alphabet
Dissolution, death, end
Dreamless state

Finally, there is silence as the vibrations wash over you. This silence represents returning to the source. A state of samadhi or nirvana.


Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/
http://www.learnyogaonline.blogspot.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Feta Cheese - Dip Recipe

Last weekend a friend brought over the most delicious dip! It's vegetarian, but not vegan--being that there's cheese in it.

Feta-Pesto Dip
1 T Pesto
1 to 2 T Olive oil
4 oz cream cheese
4 to 8 oz feta (amount based on taste preference)
White pepper to taste

Mix it all together, and dig in! She brought it over with fresh veggies to dip. Yummy!! Crackers are great too. My friend also suggested adding it to a spinach omelet.

Enjoy!!

Kris
www.TotalHealthYoga.com
www.LearnYogaOnline.Blogspot.com

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Power of Breath

We've been having troubles with our water heater lately which was related to our new dishwasher. I've had to turn the heat up higher than in the past to get the same temperature. Over the past few days I've been playing with the heat to find the best setting.

After taking a warm shower--most likely warmer than recommended for your average person--my heart rate shot up. As I sat down to check email, this pulsing in the back of my neck was so strong it actually distracted my thoughts. So, I took my pulse (I've been out of the shower for at least 20 minutes now) and found my pulse at 104. I know my aerobic workouts have dwindled to a 30 minute walk with the dog (who is puttsy) almost every day. That is, I don't have a strong aerobic workout.

I tried 1:2 ration of inhale to exhale for about 9 breaths. Down to 96 heart beats/minutes.

I tried a heart mudra and visualization for about 4 minutes. Heart rate went to 92. (This could just be that I was sitting down and coming down from the shower heat.)

Then I kept my eyes softly closed and took 12 breaths through the nostrils. Each breath I focused completely on the exhale. No counting. No 1:2. I'm sure the exhales were much longer than twice the inhales. The inhales were used just as a means to allow me to exhale even more. They weren't forced, but they were short. There was no tensing in the abs during exhale, but every drop of air seemed to be let go. Heart rate arrived at 60.

Now that's the power of breath!


Love Much,

Kris
www.TotalHealthYoga.com
www.LearnYogaOnline.Blogspot.com

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!