[Repost from May 12, 2014]
Congratulations to the folks in Chicago for getting through this incredible winter– evidently, we experienced the “coldest four months ever [in Chicago]“!
Perhaps that’s why I can’t believe how warm it is today. On some level, I thought the cold was here to stay. Not really, but on some level…
Chicago winters are not the favorite amongst many; people move out of this great city often because they want something milder, kinder, and less volatile. On the flip-side, Chicago summers are super fantastic! The slight hint of summer here causes residents to want to celebrate and go carefree; to shed the layers (on many levels) and be outside as much as possible, soak up the sunlight, barbeque outside, run, play tennis, go for walks, have an outdoor party and stay away from the gym unless it’s raining, or unless the heat gets unbearable.
In fact, some of the obstacles that we believed would never disappear back in February seem to vanish just like that. Why?
Because we feel great!
The sunlight (the magnificent light outside of us) has awakened us and given us new energy. A caged & beaten lion free at last! We feel expanded, like we can breathe. We feel healthier maybe because we aren’t shivering, and maybe because we crave things other than food, beer and Netflix.
Life is a celebration. And Chicago summers are definite celebrations!
But instead of expending all of your pent up energy woo-hoo-ing outwards, I challenge you to take some of that fresh energy and newfound strength to get back on your horse named Discipline and build up that reservoir necessary to get through the other months that can feel so isolating and challenging.
With deep reserves, winter can be embraced as a time to go inward and tap into the magnificent light and strength that is within us, to guide us through our day, rather that a time to just somehow make it by the skin of our teeth. It can be a time when the Closing Sun that we sing after every kundalini yoga class works its blessings on a much higher level than they might serve otherwise.
This can be a time to forge lasting relationships with community and with Self, and to strengthen the practice. Celebrate these wonderful months AND nourish yourself to be sustainable and constant. Chicago weather is volatile, yes. But we don’t have to be.
Chicago has the "el" train, and the Metra.The Metra runs in several directions from Chicago's downtown Ogilvie station out to the greater Chicagoland areas.
On May 12, 2012, we chose the Metra Northline to Flash Mob. Or rather, Flash Med-itate.
People are still asking about it, so we thought we'd share. Check it out:
It doesn’t really show here, but it was pretty fun to witness the surprise. One girl nudges her boyfriend as she says “it’s a flash mob, take a video!” And several others came into our car, or down from the second level, with their iPads out. A couple of “strangers” joined in on the chant, and the ticket checker, caught off guard, did a 180 and left our car, only to return after he recomposed himself. At the end, he said he enjoyed it and gave us a big thumbs up.
Guru Ram Das- we invite you to ride with us any time. In fact, we pray that you always do.
This is the last of four Meditations to master the suspension of breath. This series helps to expand the pranic body. You will feel expanded, strong and your endurance increased.
The Composite Polarity teaches subtlety and command. Take your time and build this meditation up to 11 minutes. The preciseness of the mudra is important on this one.
Please note that this is an advanced meditation.
Eyes are 1/10 closed.
Elbows are relaxed at your sides.
Hands come forward at the level of the heart, palms facing down.
Bend the left wrist so that the palm of the left hand is facing forward.
Leave the palm of the right hand facing down and parallel to the ground.
Inhale slowly to the top and hold the inhale for as long as you can comfortably hold.
Then exhale slowly to the bottom and suspend the breath at the bottom of the exhale for as long as you can hold (w/o feeling like you need to gasp for air).
Then inhale slowly again and continue the cycle for up to 11 minutes.
Sat nam! This is the 3rd of 4 in the Suspension of Breath Series. If you have come this far from the beginning, congratulations! If you are just coming to this, please note that this meditation is an advanced practice. It is advised that you begin from the Calm Heart Meditation to build up to this pranayam.
This meditation is practiced from 3 to 11 minutes. Please practice this for as long as you can in full presence and build up to where you want to go.
The Meditation for a Stable Self teaches constancy and visualization. This is great for increasing one's capacity to create and complete! It continues to expand the pranic body (which helps with endurance & vitality), and the biggest challenge here is the visualization part of the meditation. Stick with it. Observe the stuff that come up as you do it, and let it all be okay.
This is the 2nd of 4 in the Suspension of Breath Meditation Series and is 3-5 minutes in length.
If you are learning about this for the first time, and you are new to pranayam, or breath exercises, we suggest that you begin with the Calm Heart Meditation, which is super yummy in what it will do for you, and starts with the most basic components of conscious breathing. The Caliber of Life Meditation builds on the Calm Heart making it easier to practice once the Calm Heart is established.
The Caliber of Life Meditation will offer you just that: Caliber.
It helps with depression and feelings of discouragement. It expands the pranic body, which means that it strengthens lung capacity, endurance and vitality. It strengthens the nervous system (our response-ability), and promotes an overall sense of inner strength and wellness. It brings you up a notch in terms of your own self judgment!
Try this for 40 days, and let us know how it goes for you.
Breathe your way calm...
This meditation will help to soothe and strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity, increase endurance and help you relax and find your center. Do this for 40 days, and you will find your breath slowing down, helping you to experience greater emotional balance, which translates to an overall better daily life experience.
Review the Long Deep Breath and How to Properly Suspend the Breath.
To master the suspension of the breath is to master the inflow and outflow of life itself.
Take the 40 day challenge in one or all of the following pranayam meditations, at the time of day that works for you!
**40 days to creates a habit, 90 days confirms a habit, 120 days makes it who you are, and 1000 days masters it.
Japji is a magnificent prayer, which came from Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh faith. There are 38 paurees, or verses in Japji, and it takes about 20 minutes to recite the prayer. Each pauree has a certain effect. If there is a specific thing you would like to work on, it is said that chanting that corresponding pauree 11 times a day will grant it for you.
A popular one is the 25th Pauree, which brings prosperity and the fulfillment of all of your needs. That explains the popularity!
I have chanted this through one time; you can simply replay 10 additional times to chant this 11 times. The words are displayed on the screen for your ease and reference. Enjoy!
This is the first of 7 in the Aquarian Sadhana mantras. If you had to choose one to chant for, say 11 minutes, this is a great one to do. It balances each of the chakras* and initiates the kundalini, thereby initiating the relationship between our finite Self and the Infinite.
*This is an ashtang (8-limbed) mantra: Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru. Each word corresponds to each of the 8 chakras:
Ek corresponds to the 1st chakra (at the rectum, which governs our feelings of security). Color: Red
Ong corresponds to the 2nd chakra (the reproductive organs, which governs our sexual & creative energies). Color: Orange
Kar corresponds to the 3rd chakra (the navel point, which governs our personal power). Color: Yellow
Sat corresponds to the 4th chakra (the heart center, which governs boundaries and compassion). Color: Green
Nam corresponds to the 5th chakra (the throat center, which governs the projection/ expression of our personal power). Color: Blue
Siri corresponds to the 6th chakra (the 3rd eye, which governs our ability to see the unseen, know the unknown- our intuition). Color: Indigo
Wahe corresponds to the 7th chakra, also known as the 10th gate (the crown center- fontanel at the top of our head), which governs our ability to know the Oneness of all). Color: Violet
Guru corresponds to the 8th chakra, also known as our aura (the magnetic field that surrounds us, which protects us from negativity and depression). Color: White
While chanting Long Ek Ong Kar, you may also wish to focus on the corresponding chakra and visualize the color as you chant each mantra.
11 minutes of Long Ek Ong Kar with Savitree Kaur.
Remember to Tune in with Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo (3x) before starting. And while I am not wearing a head covering here, it is an excellent idea to do so during this meditation.
The Sat Kriya balances the energies of the lower three chakras. It is excellent for digestive troubles and for transcending fears. It strengthens the nervous system, calms emotional disarray, and channels the creative and sexual energies of the body.
If there was one kriya to do, this would be it!
Sat Nam is a bij (seed) mantra, and it means Truth is you Name, or Truth is who you are. Keep seeding that, and your true essence will manifest outward. And that is always good!
Remember to tune in with Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo before starting, and to take savasana for at least the same amount of time that you practice the Sat Kriya.
Kundalini Yoga Quotes:
“I’d never felt anything like it; it was just an opening of energy and a feeling of such liberation.” -Marika Bethel, owner, Glowing House