Practice – Presence – All it takes is a smile

Creating a bit of heat in our practice this week requires a balance that can be brought with a smile. Sounds simple enough, but being present in the moment often requires that we find a bit of dis-comfort and at the same time find, define and nurture our intention for our practice.

In this Slow-Flow session Zephyr will remind you how being on the mat can be a practice in “being here now” which is a lesson we can all take graciously and use off the mat in our everyday lives. Engaging with those around us, our family, friends or our colleagues and our children is not always the easiest to maintain a meaningful presence. This practice will help with life’s discomforts and give you the tools to be more present and allow you to give and receive a more meaningful and present interaction with life and those you engage with (including yourself!).

A focused breath, a gentle downward gaze and a slight Buddha smile is all it takes.

Preamble – Presence – All it takes is a smile

As a Yogi, we are all working to to find stillness. It is in fact the definition of Yoga (contrary to the popular belief of many of my contortionist colleagues). The whole reason the modern day Yogi movement is such a popular and well populated movement is because when we get the message, when we (sometimes just for a fleeting second) lose ourselves and enter the presence of the moment it tends to feel really, really good and we look for it again. When we find the presence, we can navigate the rest of our day and take the lessons from that experience with us.  The hard part, however, is getting to the presence.

In this podcast Zephyr lets us all in on a little secret to help bring a bit more presence to our practice. She describes how skillful movement whilst being present is not rushed and is certainly not anticipating the next pose. 108 Sun Salutations can bring discipline, but rarely does it bring presence. It takes a Buddha smile and an intention on letting go of what you stepped on to the mat with. Only then can you step off the mat with a clearer presence and be ready to face the day “here and now”.

Preamble – Pray it Away – Awakening to Love and Kindness

Zeph continues on the subject of cultivating the Love and Kindness for ourselves with this series entitled Pray it Away which includes the Meditation, Practice and here, the Preamble. The series, used together, urges the Yogi to see ones practice as a garden of sorts in which you can plant, cultivate and nurture a bit of loving kindness and connect with the desire to be happy and to decrease the suffering. By cultivating Love and Kindness for ourselves but at the same time acknowledging the suffering and embracing it as a teacher, it can release you from the downward spiral of suffering and dis-ease. As a teacher it creates choices that can draw you closer to spirit or, push you farther away. That is where Yoga and Meditation become really powerful. At that point, having the courage to Pray it Away (the suffering) and breathe these mantras in (cultivating the Love and Kindness) and choosing the path back to balance and relief from the dis-ease, wherever it may have come from.

Embracing the suffering, understanding its roots, recognising the choice and finally finding the positive Love and Kindness to cultivate and meditate upon is the goal of the Love and Kindness series.

Meditation (with Preamble) – Pray it Away – The Love and Kindness Practice

In this Podcast Zephyr analyses the roots of anger and resentment showing us that often, our attachment to reinforcing aversion, creates that anger and in effect creates a suffering for ourselves. Its a tricky little cycle that is hard to break-free from and usually causes that not-so-calm, not-so-cool and not-so-collected self to show up when things get a bit heated.

Zeph shows us that by meditating and giving a moment of pause, we give our anger a moment to be heard. By pausing and focusing on the anger that may dwell inside, you can explore where that anger comes from and why it created the reaction it did.

Zephyr shares a personal story as an example and offers a practice that will allow you to tap into anger and question it, acknowledge it and release it.

Use this meditation anytime you recognise a bit of heat or downright fury towards someone or something. Take the time to acknowledge it, explore it, give it a moment and you might just be surprised your reaction the next time you are faced with it.

Preamble and Warmup – Mantra Anyone? The Gayatri Mantra – It might just change your life

Ready for a transformative Mantra? Need some Inspiration? Some focus? Some healing? Need something Powerful to take with you on your journey today?  How about a bit of Mantra in your life.

Locked Mantras and unlocked Mantras, who knew the search for enlightenment could be so elusive? In reality, Mantras are simply chants that give us Yogis focus and intention during our practice. As I like to say, it is a good way to pepper ones practice with a bit of meaning and intention, thus giving some conscious intention to your physical practice, muscles, breath and all. If one can “think good thoughts” whilst engaged in a physical activity, it might just create “good” energy to your whole being.

A connection to the physical realm, the subtle realm and the higher consciousness of realms (earth, aether and cosmos) with a focus on harnessing the Prana and experiencing Moksha; That is what the Gayatri Mantra promotes. To be fair, all of this should be your motivation and intention during your morning coffee, however, some of us need a bit of a template or a cheat sheet. That is what Mantra really is. They are words in the language of Sanskrit but beautiful sounds and utterances to those that don’t speak it. Mantra is a way of channeling your thoughts and intentions whilst you stoke the fire through movement (all the while, preparing for a meditative state).

This Preamble is a great reminder of why we need to bring a bit of intention to our practice.  Use it along with the practice that follows (coming soon) or even as just a way of setting an intention and creating a space and environment for your own practice.

Practice – Abduction

Zephyr creates a bit of heat in this practice to show you how a different approach and the use of a belt to create resistance can have a different effect on the whole practice itself. Creating balance and vitality the abduction practice is a great way to introduce the Yogi to Pranic Alchemy. Creating space by working against the restriction of a belt and then later on in the practice letting the belt go and observing the new perspective of being free from the resistance. Strength and vitality are gained and through a focus on your intention this is a practice you will want to do over and over to stoke that Pranic Alchemy.

This one might burn a bit, but just remember to breathe and use your “happy dog tail” and it will become one of your favourite practices from here on out.

You will need a belt for this Practice.

Meditation – Changing Beliefs and Perceptions

I have had a lot of students recently request more meditations be posted so I have made a concerted effort to do so. It seems as if we Yogis are understanding that the phenomenon of Yoga in our western world is merely a precursor and a preparation for meditation and as we begin to get past the physical we understand the mental and spiritual benefits of our practice. My meditation classes each week are full and I am so encouraged by all of you seekers.

One of the great meditations I have come across is that by Doctor Joe Dispenza entitled Changing Beliefs and Perceptions. Its a remarkable re-wiring of the brain and a study in where our attitudes and beliefs come from. A blend of Quantum Physics, Neurology and the Science of Meditation, it is one of the most accessible ways of looking at habitual patterns and relationships and then opening yourself to the limitless possibilities of change.

Savasana – sweet, sweet Savasana

By popular demand, Zephyr shares one of her acclaimed Savasanas. Widely voted as the best Asana of a Yoga Practice, Savasana can now be enjoyed with Zephyr’s soothing and comforting voice to guide you to the ultimate levels of calm any time of the day. Enjoy this Savasana after your own Yoga Practice or just to slow down at any point of the day when a bit of rejuvenation is needed.

Warmup – Presence, Breath and Compassion

Zephyr’s preambles are a great way to set an intention and give the mind a bit of focus as you begin your practice. In the previous podcast, Zephyr talked about using the breath to create a presence and the ability to welcome compassion into your practice. As you have now listened to the preamble and have a mental focus, now it is time to create a physical focus by peppering that same intention into the physical body. This warmup is great for any Yogi who has a regular practice they might do on their own but might need a new way to mentally, spiritually and physically create a new intention on the mat.

Listen to the preamble first, then be ready to slowly welcome this intention as you warmup for your own practice.