* b r e a t h e *

Life is simply a series of experiences, most of which seem beyond our control or planning. There is no judgment inherent in these actual experiences; the judgment lies in our interpretation of what is happening. We can react to our experiences as either something bad (a challenge) or good (an opportunity), and this interpretation can lead us to either sorrow or happiness. As we go through our daily lives, we tend to attach ourselves to our reactions to the experiences, and these imagined dramas become our reality.

A key concept in many of the major religions of the world is equanimity. Equanimity is an evenness of mind, a state of mental stability or composure that endures through all possible changes in the present moment. It is neither a thought nor an emotion, more a consciousness of the transience of what we perceive as reality.

An attitude of equanimity can help us to detach from the emotion of what we see as a bad or challenging situation with grace. The saying “It is what it is” may seem flippant, but think about that. Things are only what they are: YOU create the response and judgment. Next time something ‘challenging’  happens in your life, take a deep breath, feel the oxygen, prana/life-force surge back into your body filling you with serenity, and release the attachment to the emotional response. The breath helps calm the physical body and leads to balance in our emotional body.

In a major Yogic text, The Yoga Sutras, equanimity is one of ‘four sublime attitudes’ along with loving-kindness, compassion, and joy, and can be realized through meditation.

Featured activities during the February 2011 “Ayurveda: Yoga as a Way of Life” retreat!

Two months away ~ Time to commit!

We’ve just booked some amazing additions to the February 2011 workshop at Kalani  Oceanside Retreat! These experienced practitioners have been selected to expose participants to some alternative ways of healing, meditation, or relaxation. We’ll have kirtan, watsu, and more. (Read on, it’s ok…)

Monday evening, we’ll begin our gathering with an Opening Ceremony in the Kalani Watsu Pool with Sarah Lynn Joy, as she offers us time to unwind after long travels. (Very simply, Watsu is a blend of water based massage: origin “Water” + “shiatsu“.) We’ll meet each other in warm water surrounded by candlelight and soothed with mystical music, and leave the pool feeling connected and ready to dive in to the workshop the next day. Sarah Lynn resides at Kalani, and she will be available all week for personal Watsu sessions.

We’ll also participate in a joyful evening of Kirtan with Robinette.  Kirtan is a devotional path of Yoga, where we sing traditional Indian mantras helping us to quiet our minds and to feel the love and peace that exists within our hearts. As well as teaching Yoga classes, Robinette has been sharing Kirtan in Hawaii and Canada for many years.

There are other evening events still in the works, so stay tuned. Seriously friends, this retreat is an amazing opportunity. If you are an experienced yogi, this workshop will literally take your practice off the mat and into your daily life to a new, deeper level. But you absolutely don’t have to have ever been to a yoga class, all you need is the desire to understand yourself and the world around you a little better…  A desire to learn how to take your physical and emotional health into your own hands… And the desire to play on the incredible island of Hawaii (!)…

All I want for Christmas…

This year when your friends and family ask what you’d like for a Holiday gift, have them donate to your Ayurvedic journey toward balance and health, by giving “gift certificates” toward the February workshop in Hawaii! (Have them email me for instructions.) Gosh, if family spends a couple hundred dollars on you each year, that can go a long way toward your trip! (Then skip maybe one Triple Caramel Cinnamon Mocha Peppermint Whipped Latte a day, and toss that 6 bucks in a jar! That’s another $300 in your trip kitty!)

Commitment:: Just do it!

As we approach the end of 2010 and the beginning of a new calendar year, how about making a commitment to better living through a healthy lifestyle and diet? A commitment to living a little “closer to the land”, eating and buying locally when possible?  A commitment to challenging yourself intellectually and physically every day?

Research a Community Supported Agriculture farm near you, and sign up for the spring season. You’ll be helping a small, local, organic, family farm make it in this corporate-farmed world, while learning about different fruits and veggies that provide the nutrition and prana our bodies need.

Grab a Sudoku or other puzzle book, and stretch your mind each day. Wake up and stretch your body a little, too – take a yoga class, or call me and I’ll help you devise a quick little morning routine that gets the blood flowing, and helps you sit a little taller at your desk all day. Just pick something… and do it!

Basic Principles of Ayurveda

This is a very simplified explanation of the underlying principles of Ayurveda, but perhaps it will inspire you to dig a bit deeper.Remember, this system was first explained to the rishis in ancient India 4000-5000 years ago.

Ayurveda is based on the theory that all of nature is created of five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Further, there are attributes – qualities – that define each element. For example, Earth is heavy, cold, dry. Water is heavy, cold, moist. Fire is light, hot, dry. Air is light, cold, dry. Ether (the space that all the other elements are contained within) is light, cold, dry. The elements are in a unique balance in everything in nature, including each individual. From our first moment of life, everything – and the qualities of those things including the food we eat, the climate where we live, the people we surround ourselves with, the time of the year, the age of our life – will either bring harmony to our life and keep us in balance, or create an imbalance. Eventually, too great an imbalance leads to symptoms and then, disease.

By understanding an individual’s “inherent balance” (called their constitution) and their lifestyle choices, we can determine where imbalances are occurring very early on, and then apply the principles of Ayurveda to journey back to optimal health. We do this by bringing the elements back into balance through proper diet, proper lifestyle, Yoga, meditation, and body, sound, color, and aroma therapies.

Next time, I’ll dive a bit deeper into constitutions.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the traditional natural healing system of India, dating back over 5,000 years.  A Sanskrit word, Ayurveda literally means “the science of life”.  Ayurveda is the sister science of Yoga: it is the healing side of Yoga, while Yoga is the spiritual/ philosophical side of Ayurveda. Together, Yoga and Ayurveda provide a complete, holistic approach to physical well-being and emotional balance.

In the simplest terms, Ayurveda views health and disease as the end result of how we interact with our environment. Harmonious interactions lead to health, while dis-harmonious interactions lead to dis-ease.

These interactions include our food and how we eat it, lifestyle choices such as the jobs we take, the people we surround ourselves with, our sleep patterns, extracurricular activities, relaxation opportunities, and many more.

Next time, I’ll explain the basic principles of Ayurveda.

Define it!

Prana: Life-force, life-breath, vital energy. It is the kinetic force of the universe, similar to chi in Chinese Medicine.

Veda: Knowledge, wisdom. The “Vedas” are the ancient texts of India containing the scriptures of Hinduism. They are the oldest extant text on the planet today (they came to us in written form 4000-6000 years ago).