Monday, December 31, 2007

You Can Heal Your Life - It's No Secret!


The extended version has two CD's. The first CD is a sequence of clips from various leaders in "higher consciousness", such as Dr. Wayne Dyer and Dr. Christiane Northrup. Visuals and music is used to bring more meaning behind the words and really touch your heart. For example, when Dr. Northrup is talking about the chemical changes in your body when you experience an event that triggers love and softness, there is a woman with a cuddly bunny at her cheek. As she strokes the rabbit, both of their eyes are closed. Just watching this enables the viewer to experience what Dr. Northrup is talking about.
The second CD contains the full interviews with ten or so of these leaders. I found the editing and direction of the CD to be top notch. I have already watched it three times.
Even though the message is similar (but not the exact same) to The Secret, I much prefer Louise Hay's movie. It lacks the "hype" that The Secret has, and that makes it all the better!


Love Much,

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

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

Friday, December 28, 2007

Enjoy Nature



Photo taken today in my backyard.

Note: Those "blobs" above the trees are not from a dirty camera lens--those are snowflakes!

Happy New Year,

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

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

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Start Living Now!

For the last 7 years (since my divorce) I've had a questing feeling that is always present in some form. With the New Year just around the corner, I am touched my Colin Hay's song, Waiting for My Real Life to Begin.

WAITING FOR MY REAL LIFE TO BEGIN
Written by: Colin Hay / Thom Mooney

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I'll keep checking the horizon
I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
But don't you understand
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane
I'm walking in my old footsteps, once again

And you say, just be here now
Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I'll check my machine, there's sure to be that call
It's gonna happen soon, soon, soon
It's just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don't you understand I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin


It's time. My real life begins now. If you, like me, have been waiting. Let's make 2008 the start of a new and fabulous life!

Love Much,

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

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

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Poem

Time to turn off our computers and TV's.
Time to put down our work and our worries.
Time to quiet our angers and put aside our differences.
Time to be with another,
To join hands and hearts,
To break bread together and unite our voices in song.
Time to be with family and loved ones,
To say 'thank you' and remember the good times,
To love unconditionally and forgive the past.
Happy Holidays, Everyone.

Love,

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

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

Friday, December 21, 2007

Attachment and Love

The other day I posted something about our personal environment, such as in the home or workplace. In the post I confessed an attachment for our new kitchen.



Having practiced Buddhism a few years back, I'm well aware of the idea of attachment being a negative quality and the cause of much suffering. I mentioned this in Yoga class earlier this week and a wonderful student, MH, dropped my a note regarding attachment and enjoying life.



"I think you should enjoy and savor your new kitchen in a big way! Those things are fun and part of living this life with joy. I understand Buddhist attachment, but I have my own definition of attachment and it doesn't exclude emotion, or a few things I want to remain 'attached' to for awhile even if those things are not in my best interest."



I loved what she had to say! Sometimes I confuse really loving or enjoying someone or something as being "too" attached. As a mom, that's where I choose to remain attached. Maybe the real negative of attachment is when you believe that your true happiness only comes from these people or things. I know isn't true. So, yes, I will enjoy every moment in my new kitchen; thanks to this lovely lady for reminding me that there are many levels of attachment.

To further bring home the difference between attachment and loving your surroundings -- here's a comment that Laura left on the original post:

"Kris, I LOVE your new kitchen and I personally think it is wonderful that you love it too. Kiss that floor, baby! Detachment doesn't mean not loving and fully enjoying and embracing life and all that it has to offer (including the creature comforts of material things), it just means not to let them BE your happiness. Just let them feed it. Good for you!"


Thanks for ladies for the new viewpoint!
Love Much,

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

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

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Viewpoints

My friend, MP, and I had lunch earlier this week. Our relationship started almost 7 years ago when MP joined a Yoga class that I was teaching. Then she added restorative, meditation, and private lessons with me.


Now we mostly see each other socially every few months (her work schedule is crazy).


Over lunch, MP shared with me, "There are several things you said back when I was taking Yoga that have really stuck with me. One of them is when you said to question whether-or-not something will really matter 20 years from now."

I remembered this was something I used to say to the kids frequently when they began bickering as younger children. I'd ask, "Will this matter next week? Will it matter when you're an adult?" As they got older, the question became, "Will it matter 20 years from now? Will it matter on your death bed?"

If the answer is "no" (and it usually is), then stop worrying about it. As Richard Carlson said "Don't sweat the small stuff."

The other day, MP missed a couple of meetings due to a mix up. Instead of getting anxious and uptight, she exhaled and asked, "Will this matter 20 years from now?" The answer was "no." She told me that this little exercise of putting things into perspective is all it took for her to remain calm and cool.


Thanks, MP, for the reminder. Funny how a slight change of view can change everything.



Love Much,

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

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

Monday, December 17, 2007

Home Environment






(The first three pictures above are the "old" kitchen, and the last three are the "new".)


Is it wrong to love your kitchen and want to kiss it? If so, then I'm guilty as charged!


For over 10 years, I've wanted a different kitchen floor. This Fall, we finally did it. The whole project became a bit of an ordeal. To get the new floor we had to install a new dishwasher and sliding glass door. It seems that our old dishwasher had metal brackets all the way to the floor and it starting a slow leak just before the new floor plan. (Much nicer than just after the wood laminate was put in!)


The previous sliding glass door was commercial grade and actually slid on top of the vinyl. Not really a great idea, especially for wood.


Originally the kitchen's colors were black and white. This is something my previous husband really liked. Not so much my taste, but in any marriage you make compromises. So to add some color, we painted the walls red (yes, red!), got a new kitchen light (my partner, Mike, thought the old fixture looked like a space ship), and purchased my first wooden kitchen table!


All said, the project cost about $6,000 and took almost six months.


Now when I enter the kitchen (even though I'd still like to change the black and white cabinets and counter tops), I feel a sense of comfort. And, yes, I have lied down and kissed the floor.


I realize attachment is not a positive, and in Buddhism it's touted as the reason for all suffering. In Yoga, we practice letting go every class during savasana/corpse.


However, I simply LOVE our new kitchen!


This reminds me of something a wise friend once asked. At the time, I was working as an engineer from home and feeling unsatisfied with it. However, the money was great, and it allowed me to stay home with my boys. Sarah, my friend, asked, "What does your work space look like?"


I stared blankly at her.


"Do you light candles? Incense? Is there artwork that you love?"


"Well, no." I still wasn't sure what this had to do with my job.


"Then go home and set up a new space. Get some pictures that you like and set a ritual that is meaningful to you. Do this each time you begin your work day."


Honestly, I had no idea what an impact this would have on me. I went to IKEA and purchased two very colorful pieces of art. I put up some fun trinkets people had given me -- a bobble head turtle, gumby, and a dancing elephant statue. Every morning I lit a candle, even though it was day time and enjoyed some incense. And you know what? I felt better.


My mind was calmer and more focused. My muscles relaxed a bit as I worked.


The point is, our environment really matters! Fill your home with things you love, maybe even kiss a newly painted wall or hug your comfy couch!


Who knows, maybe falling in love with a kitchen isn't so crazy after all.


Love Much,

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

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

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yoga Sticky Mats

Thanks to Jade Harmony Yoga Mats for forwarding this list of recycling suggestions for your old Yoga mat. The list originated from Jolene Bennis Dimitroff of Yoga Tree in San Francisco.


1. Donate to homeless shelters as sleeping pads.
2. Use as a seat liner for the back seat in the car while taking your dog to the vet or groomer.
3. Place under an area rug for no-slip gripping.
4. Drop off your old mat at an animal rescue group. Most of these places need soft, durable mats,rugs, towels, & blankets to line crates.
5. Use an old mat in the garage or shop to keep from slipping on the workbench while using power tools on them.
6. Line kitchen shelves to prevent glasses from slipping and scratching.
7. Cut the mat into squares and use them as "bases" while playing baseball with the kids.Easy to carry and easy to clean!
8. Use to kneel on in the garden to protect your knees!
9. Use as kitchen drawer liners.
10. Cut it up to make a mouse pad.
11. Use it on the beach instead of a towel.
12. Use as grip pads to open jars.
13. Cut to size and use as foot pads for the bottom of furniture that is on a wood or ceramic floor. Glue on pieces with a non-toxic adhesive.
14. Place it under your sleeping bag as a sleeping pad while camping.
15. Make covers for sharp corners like in a parking garage or school.
16. No more messy packing peanuts! Old yoga mats get a new life as a protector of valuables while moving or shipping.
17. Make children's toys: cut holes and create masks, hats, costumes and props; cut into shapes and letters for tub and pool toys.
18. Cut and put down in front of the kitty litter box to stop the litter.
19. Plug up drafty places, windows,doors, & under window air conditioners, and save energy!
20. Great for those hard bleachers when watching sporting events.
21. Makes a great liner under houseplants, you can even cut it to fit each plant!
22. Donate to nursing homes so that residents do not slip while getting in and out of bed.
23. Place between your surfboard & car to protect both from abrasion.
24. Lay it over the dashboard and steering wheel to keep the sun out!
25. Keep in the car for those spur of the moment picnics, keeping groceries from sliding around in the trunk, or for a myriad of other uses limited only to your imagination!

Love Much,

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

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Emotional Blocks






After writing the post on Spirituality and Money, I realized that in my head I have resolved any conflict between the two. However, in my heart there was still a block. Somewhere deep inside, I still linked money to greed.

In order to help remove this idea and feel in my heart what I believe in my head (that money simple makes you more of who you already are--be it greedy or generous), I created the poster above. (Apologies for any difficulty in seeing it.)

In the center of the poster is "$$$$$$ Money $$$$$$$". Arrows point from money to all the things that money represent to me. For example, there are places that I support financially with donations, there is education, travel, a serene house, medical care, great food, and more.

The idea is to remember that money is by itself worthless. It's what money can buy or do for you that's important. Everything that I do -- purchasing organic food, driving to a friends house, or taking a Yoga workshop -- all cost money. This poster is a reminder that desiring money isn't a greedy thing. It is a means to make so many wonderful things in my life possible.

I placed this poster beneath my alter where I practice Yoga last week. I don't consciously think about it. Rather I allow my vision and the energy behind the meaning of the artwork to fill me as I practice.

I've done this type of thing in the past to remove stubborn blocks. Through Yoga and the awareness it brings, I am able to discover my blocks and then work with them.

If you find a block that just doesn't want to go away, you might wish to try this idea. Create a poster or some type of art--something creative--and place it in a spot that is sacred or important to you. Meditate here. Pray here. After a month, see how you feel, and don't be surprised if your view has shifted.




Love Much,

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

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

Monday, December 10, 2007

Open Heart


Over the weekend, Mike (my partner) and I went to see Lars and the Real Girl. It's listed as a comedy, and it is. Yet, I cried buckets at this bittersweet tale.

I won't give anything away regarding the movie, but going in you already know (or will find out within the first 5 minutes) that the story is about this fellow Lars who orders a human sized doll to be his girlfriend. He's not trying to be funny. She is very real to him. That's all I'll say about the movie's plot, other than that it's definitely worth seeing.

As most original movies do, this story triggered some interesting conversation on the drive home. Mike wondered aloud, "How many folks are like Lars? How many people are that socially withdrawn?"

"I imagine there's a lot more than we might think." I responded. "Not necessarily to the degree that Lars is. I mean everyone doesn't run around ordering dolls to be their friend and think they're real. But on some level I think most of us can relate to Lars in some way."

As we talked further, I was reminded of Yoga Teacher Training with Todd Norian a couple of years ago. There were almost 40 strangers in that space. We came together for three 9 day periods to learn, experience, and share. We ate together, studied together, practiced together, chanted together, and even shared rooms. With Todd's loving guidance and the 9 days of being on top of a mountain with nowhere else to go--and minimal cell phone accessibility--we grew very close. Masks came off and hearts were opened. On the final day, there was not a dry eye in the place. I felt connected and in love with each and every one of these souls. It was an amazing experience.

Just yesterday I was reading in IAYT Yoga Therapy in Practice an article Lynnet Tirabassi called Yoga of the Heart. The piece was about her training with Nischala Joy Devi for using Yoga to help Cardiac and Cancer patients. Aside from being a great synopsis and inspiring me to seek out more about Devi's work, Lynnet talked about the closeness that grew between the 35 participants. On their final day of the workshop, they chanted, "All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you." She says that by the end "all heart lights were radiating."

Why is this so unusual? Why don't we connect like this on a daily basis with everyone we meet?

Is it human nature to protect ourselves--physically and emotionally? Is it that protective shield we carry that prevents us from knowing and sharing our heart, our spirit, and our soul?

Perhaps a soul mate is someone that helps you to put down that shield and allows you to experience that beauty that you already are.



Meditate on the heart for the next week and see if you feel, think, and act a little more compassionately and lovingly to yourself and those around you. Next week or next month (after really focusing on my heart center), I'll post or leave a comment regarding my experience, and would love to hear about your experiences as well!


Love Much,

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

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

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cure for Hiccups

Last year, a student gave me a few pages from the newspaper because there was an article about Yoga or Meditation in it. The article was fine, but what really interested me was on the other side of the page.

There was an article about a new devise that you could purchase (for a high price) to stop hiccups. The devise stimulated the vagus nerve and thus stopped the hiccups. The writer went on to discuss how the vagus nerve was related to hiccups.

Being a Yogi and frequent hiccup sufferer, I found this fascinating. The Throat lock or Jalandhara bandha in Yoga has many purposes. One of them is to stimulate the vagus nerve.

So, I put one and one together and tried Jalandhara bandha the next time I got the hiccups. It worked! I used to get the hiccups at least every other day and sometimes it would last for over 30 minutes. No fun at all. I had tried all kinds of crazy stuff, but none of it worked.

Finally, something that works! For over a year now I've only had two cases where my hiccups lasted more than a minute, and even then they disappeared within a few minutes.

If you suffer from hiccups, stimulate your wondrous vagus nerve with Jalandhara bandha. Here's how:

1. Take a comfortable seat with a long straight spine.
2. Exhale as you gently drop your chin towards your chest. The back of the neck will become long. Be careful to NOT drop the whole head forward which can strain the neck muscles.
3. Inhale as you fill the chest with air and allow the sternum (heart center) to rise up towards the chin. The shoulder blades soften down the back as the chest stays lifted.
4. Hold this position and continue to breath.

I find that it only takes a few breaths and the hiccups are gone. If you try this, please let me know how it goes.

Good luck!

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

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Inspirations

What inspires you?

A couple of days ago, I was hanging out with my son, BJ. He was listening to Les Miserables. He had read the book for English and really enjoyed the soundtrack.

Out of the blue, he commented, "I find this music really inspiring." As much as I love a good musical, I am not as inspired by this particular one as say Man of La Mancha.

My other son, Jake, is inspired by sports films. I, on the other hand, by just about any film based on a true story.

It's pretty neat that so many different things in the world can inspire us. And just like a difference in what foods we like or music we listen to, inspiration comes to each of us in various ways.

I think it's important to find what inspires you and "get" some of it every day--or at least once a week.

Here are a few things that you might just find inspiring to be your best:

Spiritual books

Great films

Music

Spending time with someone you admire--not just love, admire

Cooking a delicious meal--or just eating it!

Poetry (Rumi is a goodie)

Yoga

Meditation

Aerobic fitness

Documentaries about amazing people

Chicken Soup books

Gardening (so amazing how those tiny seeds grow into wondrous plants!)

Completing a task

Write a thank you note to a friend for just being them

Spend some time in nature--the sunrise/sunset or really stopping to look at a tree or mountain can do wonders.

Read www.GoodNewsNetwork.org

Volunteer

Perform at least 3 random acts of kindness

Try something new


Love Much,

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

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

Monday, December 3, 2007

Silence is Golden

A while back, Om Bites posted something about daily rituals. The post was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, who by the way will be on Oprah for her second time tomorrow (Dec 4, 2007).

Elizabeth talks about the importance of silence. At one point she's in an elevator with a television in it! How far do we have to go? For a while, grocery stores had TV's, restaurants have them, cars have them, and now even elevators! Are we afraid of what we might find in the silence?

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.” - Mother Teresa

“Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.” - Margaret Lee Runbeck

“There are times when silence has the loudest voice” - Leroy Brownlow

“Silence is a source of great strength.” - Lao Tzu

"Experience teaches us that silence terrifies people the most." - Bob Dylan

"This silence, this moment, every moment, if it's genuinely inside you, brings what you need. There's nothing to believe. Only when I stopped believing in myself did I come into this beauty. Sit quietly, and listen for a voice that will say, 'Be more silent.' Die and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign that you've died. Your old life was a frantic running from silence. Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking. Live in silence." - Rumi

Love Much,

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

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