Meditation for our future

by Leia Morrison

Take some time to move around a little bit.  Do each of the following movements a few times. On your hands and knees, do some hip circles in each direction. Begin to connect your movement to your breath with some bittilasana (cat/cow). Inhale and bring your chest forward as you press your sits bones back (cow) then exhale your breath as you round your back and look at your thighs (cat). Repeat 5-10 times then return to a neutral spine on all fours. Now imagine that you have a tail and you are looking back to sneak a peak at it as you bring your right shoulder and the right side of your pelvis towards each other. Repeat movement to the other side 5-10 times. 
Come to a seated position with your legs crossed. Most of us benefit from having a pillow, a few blankets or a bolster under us to sit on so that we are more comfortable and can sit longer. Once you’re situated close your eyes, take a big breath in through your nose and then open your mouth and “sigh” out through your open mouth (make noise!). Don’t rush this part. Take your time to fully remove all of the air from your lungs. Do this 4-5 times and each time your breath leaves your lungs visualize all tension, noise and distractions leaving your body and mind with your breath.  Now you’re ready to sit still.
Take your attention to the sound of your own breathing. Notice your own thoughts without attaching to them on purpose. At first you are going to hear a lot of chatter. You may even find yourself “talking” a lot up there… there may even be a little internal arguing. Each time you notice that you are being pulled from the sound of your own breath repeat a phrase in your mind (not out loud) that gently pulls you back to the task at hand (listening to your breath). I like to imagine Morgan Freeman simply saying “HERE”. You know Morgan, he isn’t pushy or demanding but he’s definitely someone I’m going to listen to. Whatever works for you. Do not analyze and comment on your inner experiences as they are happening. Spend 5-30 minutes here.
As we close our meditation lets focus our now quiet (er) mind at our heart center. Think of an experience you have had in real life that has made you feel true peace, love, hope, joy and optimism. Maybe it was the first time you held a newborn baby’s hand or when you watched the sun sink into the horizon line of the ocean. Recall any real life experience where you were 100% joy. The corners of your mouth may turn up into an actual smile, don’t fight it! You may feel a warm sensation at the center of your heart. In your mind’s eye give this sensation of pure feeling a color and “see” that color right at your heart. Without any effort, imagine that this color, that is packed full of love and good wishes is expanding in all directions from your body’s center towards all beings. Get specific if there is someone in your life or in this world that you would like to share this extreme happiness with, share it. Feel and see this unlimited love and kindness spread out towards all people of the world, irrespective of their nationalities, religions, political beliefs, ethnicities, socio-economic or geographical lines. Spend some time here.
When you are ready, slowly begin to deepen your breathing.  Notice the sensation of your body sitting on the floor. Become aware of the sounds in the room (without opening your eyes). Know that you have taken the time to spread peace, love, hope, joy and optimism and that your efforts are not in vain. Bring your hands toward your heart. May the benefits of this sit not only be of service to you but may they be of service to all who suffer.
~Namaste

 

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Good Vibrations and Universal Excitations!

Good Vibrations and Universal Excitations!
by David and Joe

 
You don’t have to be a Beach Boy to enjoy havin those good vibrations.  Each of us has our own unique vibration that speaks to everyone else and to the universe at large.  Modern science has shown that everything vibrates – from atoms to water to steel beams.  As living beings our cells vibrate as do our nervous systems and our entire self – this is commonly known as our aura.
 
Our most direct and impactful vibration comes through sound with our spoken word.  Words can alter a present situation and steer the future but often we don’t contemplate or appreciate the power of our speech.  Try this little experiment:  Spend a day saying “No” to everyone and the next day say “Yes” to everyone.  Compare how you feel, what you think and how others treat you each day.  The underlying authority of sound vibration is what makes the practice of chanting so powerful.
 
Likewise, the vibration of our cells and nervous system sends signals to the world about how we’re doing and what we want.  And we can sense this in others.  We’ve each experienced a time when someone walked into the room and we felt an immediate connection or overwhelming repulsion!  Not a word was spoken but information was transmitted.  
 
The Universe works on the same principle.  We are constantly vibrating out our intentions, wants and needs.  These vibrations return to us in the form of emotions, physical manifestations and mental attributes.  Most people don’t know what they’re vibrating.  They end up receiving confused messages from the world, leading to drama, chaos and confusion.  It’s like they’re speaking a foreign language but don’t know the meaning behind the sounds they’re making.  How would a reasonable listener react to such gibberish?  With confusion and chaotically.  Note that the creator’s intent is irrelevant.  Intention is an inward journey whereas vibration faces outward.  Nor is it about just thinking positive thoughts.  That method helps but it mainly focuses inwardly on the mind.
 
This ability to unintentionally send the wrong message is why it’s important to understand the mechanics of universal vibration, how one can modify and control their vibes, and how to openly receive the sought after gift from the world.   Vibration work focuses on the entire body and chakra system, and sending vibrations out into the world.  It also sensitizes you to the reception of incoming signals.
 
If you can maintain a fairly consistent vibration it becomes a frequency.  A beacon of communication and desire emanating from you and returning to you 100 fold.  Conscious frequency is the sweet spot and those that achieve it are serene, content and never in fear.
 
We have both directly experienced the benefits of conscious vibrational work.  We know it works and want to share it with you.  That is why we’re holding a Vibrational Tuning Workshop, Saturday, January 14th from 11am to 1pm at The Sanctuary.  The investment is $25 and your time.  By attending you will already be signaling the universe that you’re ready to receive peace of mind and harmony.
 
 
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Soooo, its election day

My mom isn’t voting. She cannot bring herself to vote for Trump because of his wicked words and tasteless actions. She cannot bring herself to vote for Clinton because she doesn’t “trust” her. I asked her why  she doesn’t trust her, I assumed it was the dreaded email controversy and she said it wasn’t that. She thought about it for a while as we sat playing cards and drinking red wine.  After a few minutes she finally said, “well I guess it’s just the fact that she’s a woman”.

I was floored. My blood started to burn under my skin and my face got even more red (I always get red when I drink red wine). But I took a deep breath and I said “you know I think you just expressed what a lot of people feel but are unwilling to voice out loud”. Even if I hadn’t believed it before it came out of my mouth once it was out there I realized it for the trust it was!  I do think that being a woman somehow makes you less trustworthy in the eyes of many.

As many of you know, I’m a small town politician as well as a yoga teacher and I am often amused and often frustrated by how in a room full of men I am still seen as the outsider to some degree. When I feel impassioned by a topic such as street safety I am accused (on three occasions by other women) of letting my “personal feelings” cloud my judgement!!! On the other hand, my male counterparts are commended for “sticking to their guns” and for “championing the cause”. So what I’m understanding is that men are praised for their ability to stand up for what they feel is the best decision for their community but women should just be silent, less their emotions get the best of them.

Hillary Clinton has been accused of being “guarded” over the course of her political career but in a climate where misogyny still reins wouldn’t you be too?  She has been held to incredibly different standards than her male counterparts but there are still a large percentage of the American public who “just doesn’t trust her”. I think that if people who are “on the fence” about her could really just face the fact that they don’t trust her because she’s a woman then we could move ahead. As they say, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

~By Leia Morrison lead-with-love

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A post from the heart

A post from the heart

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Summer is quickly approaching and we need your input! We understand that there is so much to do in so little time and an air of “desperation to do it all” hangs over those of us that live in the coldest spot in the nation. What ends up happening for many? Yoga takes a back seat. Last summer the studio barely survived because of the lack of attendance from May until October. Although attendance was almost non-existent… all the bills remain the same. This is a post from the heart. The reality is, that if we have a repeat of last summer in 2016 the studio may not be here to return to when the snow flies. What we need from you is to know WHAT, WHO, and WHEN you would like to see offered in the summer of 2016. So here’s your chance! Would it be best to have “sessions” rather than offerings every week? Would you attend workshops? If so, what interests you? What times of day work best in the summer? How long should a class be?
All of us here at the Sanctuary know and understand fully the importance of maintaining not only our athletic pursuits but also maintaining a balance between a flexible, grounded body and mind. We want to teach you why yoga cannot be seen as “optional” but to share this, you must show up. A regular practice can enhance every aspect of your being, improve how you feel in your body, give you the tools to handle life’s stress’s and live a more complete and full life. We love our students and this studio, together we can keep the studio alive and well!
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Function over fear: the brilliance beyond beta

fireFunction over fear: the brilliance beyond beta by Delaney Keating

Fear is a continuum that challenges our intuition, objectivity or growth from moment to moment – when to move, when to retreat and when to push forward. It ignites action, it causes stagnation – it pushes us beyond false boundaries.

Within the patterns of our cognition it exists largely in the beta brainwave. The beta wave is our most alert state and corresponds to stress, linear thinking, reductionism and FEAR. The majority of us live out most of our days in beta mode, which may have an effect on our physical, intellectual, emotional spiritual states.

Of course the beta wave is necessary, but we have three other major waveforms to explore: alpha, theta and delta.  So, with an option of four pathways to explore every day, why choose ONE?!

Frost didn’t say: Two roads diverged in a wood and I chose the same one every day!  Spinning in one direction will make you dizzy.  Doing the same thing over and over will make you crazy.  Living in fear causes undue stress and limits freedom.

We are multidimensional beings and are missing out on the best parts of ourselves that can be discovered within the other wave forms available at conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels.  This  ability to train, practice and explore our dimensionality is what makes us human.

Yoga, meditation and biofeedback are gateways to exploring the vastness of our existence, and to solving biological conflicts within our various planes of stress and adaptability.  They are technologies for training the brain how to objectively process fear and how to code our experiences optimally.

When we come to yoga and we speak about “coming into our bodies versus working on our bodies” or “leaving our busy lives at the door” – we are asking you to turn down the volume on your beta brainwave.  We come to train our brains and bodies simultaneously. We come to explore the vastness of our multidimensional existence.

Through the use of fluid movements in conjunction with rhythmic breathing we can control our brainwaves and begin to tune into deeper states of cognition. We can tune into to the alpha wave and expand the periphery of our senses, process holistically and allow for creative flow and tranquility.  We can grow from the inside out.

Going into deeper meditative states we can also tune into our theta brainwaves and really begin to explore consciousness, intuition, insight and complex problem solving.  Into the deep with the delta waves, we regenerate and restore, so that we can do it all again tomorrow. (not the same as snoring in savasana, but catch some zzzs if in need)

In simplest terms – it’s mind over matter and harnessing the power to navigate space and time upon the cogs of our own potential.  It’s the ability to experience fewer false fears – those tricky little bits that act like sticks in the spokes of movement forward.  When we glimpse the magic of it, we become dutiful, disciplined soldiers in pursuit of our destiny.

brilliance lies outside the lines
beyond the boundaries
that you put there

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Doing It in the Morning.

Doing It in the Morning.
doing it
by Joe Cachey   www.yogijoe.com
Recently, I’ve spoken with too many people who aren’t doing it in the morning.  As a result they’re missing a little bounce in their step, they’re not as happy as they know they could be, they just don’t have what it takes to get through the day with a smile on their face and joy in their heart.   Most people want to do it but “life” keeps getting in the way.
Of course I’m talking about morning sadhana, a yogic and meditative morning practice.   A study published in this month’s Biological Psychiatrydemonstrated that regular and brief meditation physically changes the brain and reduces the body’s chemical reaction to stress . . . even four months after the test subjects stopped practicing!  So why aren’t more of us starting our day by breathing, moving and being?
People I encounter have the desire but not the discipline.  They wake up and bolt to the smart phone or an awaiting family to care for.  They believe they don’t have time to do something for themselves at the beginning of the day.  The perception is that once we open our eyes time is running.   Truth be told, time doesn’t run – it walks at an even, steady pace.  What runs is our thinking and that’s why the a.m. is the perfect time to develop and maintain some mind control with the benefits lasting throughout the day.
But how do we begin?
My experience has lead me to create a morning routine that leaves little space for any decision making.  The night before, I set my alarm not giving myself the option to hit the snooze button in the morning.  Once I have my feet on the floor, I hit the bathroom, drink a glass of water and start my morning practice.  I’m not fancy.  I don’t have a special room or special clothes but I do know what I’m going to do beforehand and have my mat/cushion and my timer laid out, ready to go.  No decisions to make, no choices to block my path.  I just get up and do it.
My practice varies over the course of the year and always includes three minutes of pranayam (deep breathing),  ten minutes of asanas (stretching) and five minutes of meditation.  Actually, it’s a lot like a mini kundalini yoga class.  The breathing detoxes the body and energizes the brain.  The asanas open up a body that has grown tight over night.  The meditation allows us to understand our mind, develop mindfulness, and start controlling our mental state.
That’s it . . . just 20 minutes and you’re ready to move through the day with grace, confidence and ease.   I’m asked, “But how do I find the time?”  First, take an inventory of the first hour of your day.  Be honest and write down everything you do even if it only “takes a minute.”  Those minutes add up and they usually expand into five and 10 minute chunks.  Now from that first hour peel away anything that can wait for the first half hour of your day.  Do you really need to look at emails or check in with Facebook first thing?  Or are you someone who gets up and rushes out the door?  If so, I have good news.  There’s a simple solution to that predicament . . . set your alarm for a half an hour earlier.
The beauty of a morning practice includes being kind to ourselves first thing, developing discipline around our practice and arranging our life so we can practice, and noticing the benefits later in the day.  Don’t wait, the perfect time or circumstance never arrives.  Start now . . . do it in the morning and feel fine all day long!
To learn more about establishing a morning practice contact me at yogijoe3@gmail.com
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A Yoga teacher, politician and a house cleaner…

Not to be followed by “walk into a bar”!

Nope, this just my life. I could add a few more in there like mother, wife, business owner, social media marketer, special events organizer, volunteer, business consultant for the state of Colorado and even salesman. I often get the question “How do you do it all?” or the not so polite “you’re crazy, why do you do it all?”. So, I often ask myself the same questions just to make sure that I am not in fact “crazy”.  The roommate of the mind sometimes begins to ask more questions… Is it against my zen-like yoga roots to do so much?  Am I a hypocrite when I lead my students through blissful, calming guided meditations and restorative yoga classes?  Am I doing too much?

The answer is quite simple, no. I can do it because I have support.

I am a person of many passions.  Thankfully my partner in life understands this, as do my close family and friends.  So there’s the base layer of my foundation.

When I sit in front of an audience of citizens and staff in City Council chambers every week I tap into the voices of everyone who voted me into office and who care about the future of our town.  I know that I am there to make positive changes and be the voice of the town. There’s another layer of foundation.

When I scrub a toilet, paint another persons house or sell a business an advertising opportunity I think about how happy my kids are in all the activities and experiences they are exposed to because of these odd jobs I take on.  Photos of my daughter’s trip to Florida last spring run in carousel format through my mind and I smile inside knowing that I made that trip a possibility for her. In essence, the humbling nature of my blue collar jobs is a layer of my foundation.

When I counsel a business owner for the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or my Firekeeper business, and that “light bulb” comes on behind their eyes as I help them uncover an untapped business opportunity or new outlook my heart is joyous. When another entrepreneurial endeavor succeeds in my town, I am blissful because I am a LOVER of this spirit. Other’s successes are part of my foundation.

When I see a non-profit’s bank account fill in part because of my weeks or months of planning for that special event, my soul fills… adding to my foundation.

As I paddle, peddle, hike, ski or walk through this phenomenally beautiful landscape that I call home I feel that foundation firmly seated in my soul.

Every-time I roll out my mat, attend a teacher training, place my hands on a student to give a helpful enhancement or sit down to plan out a content-rich class or workshop that foundation gets thicker.

Because I have deep roots, pillars, foundations that I call passions I can do all that I have the time and energy to do. If I find myself over-extended I am happy to use the words “thank you but I can’t at this time”. I have learned over the years that when you are a do-er, many people want you on their team which feeds the ego but is not sustainable. I have also learned to lean on others, to ask for help when help is needed. I am so blessed with a rock solid group of friends that are incredibly intelligent, supportive and “on it”.

Take a moment today to identify that which holds you up.  What in your life serves as your rock and foundation? What are your support systems? Is it people? Athletic activities? Faith? Artistic pursuits? Writing? Learning? Making? Listening? Take a moment of gratitude for the foundations in your life. Know that from these foundations you can grow to new heights!

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Solitude vs. Meditation

Solitude vs. Meditation

by Joe Cachey aka, Yogijoe
Joes image for blog August
At a recent conference I heard a number of people discuss the pleasure of meditating while they ran, gardened or played golf.  It was clear that everyone enjoyed these activities and they had an overall calming and serene effect.   It’s wonderful to engage in an activity with one’s own self and be comfortable with this alone time but that’s not meditating, it’s actually enjoying solitude.
Solitude and meditation are often confused by beginning practitioners.  Many beginning meditators find the practice uncomfortable and difficult.  They seemingly can’t “quiet their mind”  by sitting and feeling their breath.  Wanting to experience peace but frustrated, they typically turn to a solitary activity to achieve a semblance of peace of mind.  While such activities produce a benefit, the practitioner is shortchanging themselves and their long-term experience.
Solitude is the separation of oneself from others.  In the negative it can produce a feeling of isolation and abandonment (think “solitary confinement”).  In the positive it can foster calm, a sense of self and peace.  In today’s hyperactive and over connected world, there are tremendous benefits to finding some solitary time to enjoy an activity and unravel from the world’s demands.  Solitude, by definition, can only produce a benefit if we are alone.  Therefore, while solitary activity can make us feel good, it’s not meditation.
Meditation is the singular engagement of the mind.  Its purpose is not to produce “peace of mind” or a pleasant feeling in the practitioner (although these can be ancillary benefits).  Its primary objective is to familiarize ourselves with our thinking thereby creating an ongoing awareness of our thoughts, emotions and feelings.  Once awareness is achieved we can become mindful of ourselves throughout the day.  Awareness and mindfulness, when practiced, can lead us to peace of mind and serenity.  And unlike solitude, they can be practiced continuously as we engage with other people and the challenges life throws at us.
Don’t shortchange yourself, give meditation a sustained try.  Solitude and meditation are not mutually exclusive.  I love working in my garden after engaging in my morning meditative practice.  While both activities lower my blood pressure, only meditation allows me to remain calm in the middle of a tense conversation or be mindful enough to practice patience in the grocery line.  To learn more about meditation you can attend my kundalini yoga class at the Sanctuary (Tuesdays at 7am) and visit my website, www.yogijoe.com by clicking here
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Pulling Weeds Along the Path

Pulling Weeds Along the Path
by Joe Cachey
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Like many, I garden and find a sense of peace as I tend to the task at hand, be it hoeing, planting, watering or weeding.   But frequently, my peace is conditioned on the circumstances of my garden.  Are the flowers blooming – how wonderful!  Are the bushes a bright green – just as it should be!   Are the transplants making the transition to permanency – awesome!  Everything is just as it should be and . . . so are the weeds.
After some time on the cushion, I came to realize that while a colorful garden is an absolute pleasure, it’s the weeds that teach the reality of life.  Weeds are now my gurus!
I have learned that the dharmac path is like weeding.  In any garden, from Des Moines to Versailles, there will always be weeds, just as in life there will be desires, expectations and disappointments no matter how much we cultivate mindfulness and awareness.  If I’m steady and consistent in my gardening, then I keep the weeds at bay.  So too, if my practice falters, then the weeds of my mind return.  I can become overrun with desire, anxiety and discomfort.
My practice has allowed me to experience the truth – there will always be weeds in life and one needs to weed everyday.  By accepting this truth, I protect myself from the suffering caused by the illusion that one day there will be no weeds, that there will be a day when desire will not cause suffering.
When I accept the impermanence of the “perfect” garden, the fallacy of it being “my” garden and my ignorance of the true nature of weeds, I experience the universal truth.  I escape the suffering of hoping that tomorrow there will be no weeding.
So now, as I approach the garden and the tasks at hand, I ask myself:  What are the weeds in this life?  I am not unique.  The weeds that arise in my garden are just like my neighbor’s and yours.
As I return to my cushion each day, I understand that thoughts, emotions and discomfort  will spring up in unpredictable ways.  I remember what my gurus have taught me.  If I weed everyday, I can settle in and enjoy my practice.  Ultimately, I leave ignorance and suffering behind and step into contentment, for I am doing just as I should . . . being in a garden.
Connect with your true self.  Attend a Kundalini yoga class (the yoga of self-awareness) every Tuesday at 7am starting May 5th.  Learn more about Joe and his yoga at www.yogijoe.com
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Building Connections

March 22 – by Caroline Schlater

The Sanskrit term yoga translates to mean union or to join. Yoga is about finding the connections between our mind and the body, the body and the breath, and the breath and the mind. It also helps us to understand the higher self and spirit within us, and of the universe. This opens our eyes to the deeper connections we have with each other and with our planet. The transformative path of yoga allows you to tap into the parts of your consciousness that truly grasps the connectedness within every facet of creation.

With practice, dedication, and time you begin to realize in the words of the Beatles that, “I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together.” When you come to know and understand that your pain is my pain and your love is my love, your heart begins to crack open to the power and possibilities of building and strengthening these connections within yourself, your family, in your community, and all around the world.

Today my father and I visited a nonprofit here in Mysore, India named Operation Shanti. Operation Shanti provides food, shelter, medical services, and educational assistance to the exploited, at risk, and destitute children of this city. They are currently serving and caring for 22 girls and 22 boys at their home base Karunya Mane, but are looking for opportunities to grow and expand their projects.

Meeting and playing with the children was an incredible experience I will never forget. From the moment we walked in they were smiling from ear-to-ear, eager to introduce themselves and show us around their home. All of the children were so gentle and kind. They took the time to ask us our names and birthdays, our favorite colors, where we were from, and much more. They excitedly showed us and explained some of the things they had been working on: school, artwork, karate, dancing, and yoga! As I connected with these children my heart was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude.

To see these hopeful, enthusiastic, and loving children, even given some of their unfortunate circumstances, shows the strength and importance of the connection between this community and operation. I feel so grateful to have the life that I have been given, and also feel blessed for the ability to be able to travel the world to broaden my perspectives on life and bring that into my teachings. Even though this country is filled with poverty, corruption, and sadness there is also beauty and faith unlike anything I have ever witnessed.

Experiencing the beauty and warmth working through Operation Shanti, I can’t help but feel the deeper connections between us as humans. Our species has this inherent need and desire to search for some form of connection, through relationships, a spiritual path, devotion, love, or whatever may speak to you. This is universal, and a reminder that I am no different than you. Yoga has been my path of finding connection.

Yoga allows you to nurture and liberate the mind to find a greater sense of self-awareness. This awareness is the key in discovering the power of connection. Life becomes more meaningful and you begin to realize how your actions and thoughts affect the rest of the world. You begin to see that no matter where you may live in this world, we are all one. My pain is your pain, and my love is your love. We are all part of the same prana or cosmic energy manifesting itself in this universe. Use your connections to make a difference in your life and in others. I hope you find the connections you are looking for, a connection that truly lets your spirit sore.

Find out more about Operation Shanti and how you can be apart of this inspiring movement at http://www.operation-shanti.org.

 

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Yoga & meditation classes for all.