On May 25th 2020, Derek Chauvin held his knee on the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, resulting in Mr. Floyd's death. Over and over again, Mr. Floyd told officers, “I can’t breathe”.
Why do we do pranayama? Pranayama ensures more oxygen to our lungs and is good for our hearts too. Pranayama helps the functions of our nervous system. Besides being good for our lungs it helps the brain to work more efficiently. It helps to calm us and make us more aware.
I am dedicating this month to practice an 8 minute, 46 second pranayama every day in honor of George Floyd. It is actually longer than you may think. With each inhale, I plan to meditate on the gift of life and the gift of being able to breathe. I plan to be aware and conscious with each breath of the healing that the Prana and oxygen is carrying throughout my body. On each exhale or holding the breath out, I plan to think of how precious life is. As George Floyd lay dying, he called out to his mother, so I also intend to mentally think of the MA mantra.
I invite you to do this with me during the month of June.
With love & light,
Izzy (Dhyan Bhajan)
Want to do more? We invite you to donate to one of the following local organizations:
St. Clement’s Episcopal Church - Izzy's childhood church and where she sings, plays piano and organ for weekly services. St Clement's has continued to provide food to needy families despite halting church services due to Covid.
You may donate by sending a check to St. Clement's Episcopal Church, PO Box 2307 Harvey, IL 60426
Assatas Daughters - Black and woman led, organizes young Black people in Chicago by providing them with political education, leadership development, mentorship, and revolutionary services.
Chicago Freedom School - Connects Chicago youth with their history and provides youth leadership, activism and social justice education
Here is a favorite meditation of mine to practice and teach. I have been sharing this regularly with clients who are struggling with anxiety and worry.
This meditation is called: Perspective and Emotional Balance, Alternate Nostril Breathing
Sit with straight spine on the floor with legs crossed or in a chair.
Eyes: Eyes are closed, pressed gently up, focusing at the Brow Point, also called 3rd eye (roll your eyes gently up and then in toward the bridge of your nose) .
Mudra (hand position): Left hand is in gian mudra resting on your knee. To do this, press the pad of your index finger into the bad of your thumb. Use the right thumb and right index finger to close off alternate nostrils.
Breath: Close off the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale deeply through the left nostril. When the breath is full, close off the left nostril with the index finger, and exhale smoothly through the right nostril. The breath is complete, continuous, and smooth. Feel the expansion of your belly as you inhale and feel your chest drop down, then draw the navel back toward your spine on the exhale (exhaling completely).
Time: Continue with long, deep regular breaths for 3-11 minutes. I recommend starting with 3 minutes and slowly building up if you wish.
To End: Inhale, exhale completely, hold the breath out for a moment. Relax completely. Taking a few more breaths here before you move on with your day. I like to recommend practicing meditation at the same time every day, but there is always the ideal and the real. So do what works best for you, but finding a way to practice daily will give best results. You may find you like to start your day with this meditation or end you day with it, or even both. It is excellent to do before bed to let go of the worries of the day.
Inhaling through the left nostril is calming and cooling and stimulates the brain's capacity to reset your framework of thinking and feeling, allowing new perspectives. Exhaling through the right nostril relaxes the constant computations and cautions of the brain (worry and anxiety), which helps to break automatic patterns. Regulating your breath pattern in this way sets a new level of brain functioning which establishes emotional balance and calmness after periods of intense stress or shock.
Listen to Dr. John Douillard and Patrick McKeown discuss the benefits of nostril breathing and how they connect to everything we care about from getting quality sleep and sleep apnea to ADHD, to depression and anxiety, to athletic endurance and performance, to other health issues. It's chock full of substantive information. You can't multi-task this though; while it's easy enough for the layman to understand, it requires your full attention.
Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory, digestive, anti-parasitic & anti-bacterial. It is rich in antioxidants and can boost your immune system. The Turmeric Paste is also excellent stirred into rice or soup with a crack of black pepper to help boost it's immune strengthening properties.
1/4 cup turmeric
1/2 cup water
To make the turmeric paste:
Cook turmeric and water in a pan until thick paste is formed.
This paste will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
Golden Milk (Individual Cup):
1 cup plant milk (almond, oat, soy are all good)
1 tsp almond oil
1/4 tsp turmeric paste
Maple syrup or agave
Add the turmeric paste & almond oil to hot milk. Stir in sweetener to taste.
This is a must listen. Take the time. You won't regret it.
Rich Roll and MD Zach Bush generously shares real information, both science-based and heart-centered, to connect, inspire, and empower. They are not based in fear nor are they complicit in contributing towards power dynamics and dependencies. They bring to us what we need to hear to heal ourselves and the world.
It's 1 hour 49 minutes long. If you want to get right into it, start the video at 14:50.
The word on the street is yogis are flexible right? This flexibility is not just about the body, more importantly, it's about the mind. We need this flexibility now more than ever to be able to be agile, to change and adapt to new situations quickly. To be able to "move with the cheese" (have you read this book?) means we can live with purpose, open to new possibilities without the stress and worry of what's next. Sounds like a yoga & meditation practice to us. This is why we practice, to prepare for times of uncertainty.
And we see you all doing this! Coming together, supporting each other and us, adjusting to this new virtual way of life with hope and optimism. Thank you for continuing to keep up for yourselves and each other.
We are grateful for your kind words of encouragement & gratitude as well as your generosity and support of community members who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Over the last month we received unsolicited donations ranging between $75-$300. These funds go into our Community Growth fund to support clients who cannot afford to pay for classes due to loss of income.
If you would like to make a donation into the Community Growth fund, please visit us here.
Or perhaps you know someone in the healthcare or the service industry who could use some self care right now or in coming months. Here we have gift cards available for 10 class passes, Unlimited Yoga, and Bodywork services which can be used at anytime throughout the year.
We are grateful for you. We feel blessed to serve you. We honor and pray for you.
Savitree & Jodh
from Jodh Kaur's blog
The meaning and essence of the mantra Har Har Mukanday is liberation from the challenges that hold you back. Chanting this mantra helps you turn your obstacles into opportunities.
What a mantra for this time we are living in!
Try chanting this mantra every day in April if:
...you find yourself sinking into fear or anxiety
...you are feeling stuck
...you are running out of projects to complete at home
...you are uncertain about your future
...you are tired of being in the house
...you are frustrated by your current circumstances
...you are bored with technology
...you are worried about the health of yourself, your loved ones, your finances
...your mind isn't turning off even when it's time to sleep
...you are consuming too much media
...you feel things will be different, but aren't sure how
...you are feeling called to make changes in your life big or small.
Chant the mantra with music (see below) or without. Commit to chanting it daily for 11 minutes and notice the shifts that take place within you.
Notice shifts in your vibration, emotions, mindset and thought patterns.
And turn your obstacles into opportunities.
With grace & gratitude,
This makes 1 large serving
3 cups water
2 fingers of ginger, cut lengthwise and in half
2-4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp Better than Bouillon
1 Tbsp miso
Juice from half of a lemon
6-9 kale leaves (depends on size), I used Lacinato; stemmed, sliced fine
3 Tbsp Bragg's Amino Acid
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne
Optional: Cooked rice or rice noodles; Kimchi, Sesame Seeds, Tofu
Pour water in pan over high heat and add bouillon, ginger and garlic. As the water heats, slice kale and add this to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, infusing the water with ginger, garlic and broth while cooking the kale. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and cayenne, whisk in miso until blended thoroughly (do not add miso to boiling water). Remove ginger ad discard (unless you want to eat some if it, it will be quite soft). Serve over cooked rice or rice noodles. Top with kimchi, sesame seeds and tofu.
author Kristin Flyntz.
This letter, written by Kristin Flyntz, whom we do not know here at the studio, was passed on to us by one of our instructors, Raj Devjoti (Emily), and we had to share it here. It's worth the read. Please sit down to read this when you have time to take it in. It is poignant and beautiful, and it asks us to take a look at this moment in time to forklift ourselves from the madness. It directs us towards a pathway to healing, not just ourselves, but the entire world.
Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt.
We will stop
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and "obligations" that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
as it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breakingnews:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its conditions: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body.
We will bring the fever to your body.
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you - in your stillness, listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Stop. Just stop.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.
Since Governor Pritzker has ordered "shelter in place" beginning tonight, Saturday, March 21, 5:30 pm, our teachers are setting up to teach their live, virtual classes from their respective homes.
Some of us are ordering mics which won't arrive until the latter part of next week, and we are all figuring out how to deliver the best quality experience to you. It will be an ongoing process over the next couple of weeks.
For this reason, if or when it is necessary, you might see some moving around of teachers from their time slots.
We are doing our best to continue providing yoga and meditation to you with the least amount of interruption to you as well as to continue to support our teachers in their professional work in the best way that we can.
We ask for your patience as we do this as well as your feedback, so we know where we might need to direct our attention.
Thanks so much in advance.
It's been really great to see many of your faces online! The best part of this is to see those of you we don't often see because you live in other parts of the country. Thanks for tuning in. We acknowledge and appreciate the blessings of (a) being able to connect with our community like this, and (b) witnessing the flexibility and generosity of you, our community members, in taking care of each other. Sat Nam.
With love & gratitude,
Savitree, Jodh, SachKiret, Raj Devjoti, Kristen C, Seetal Tej, Dhyan Bhajan, Jot Saraswati, Kamal Prem, and Mehtab Kirtan
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