It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. E.E.Cummings Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. Anais Nin Most of us think Courage is synonymous with bravery. In fact, dictionaries often use bravery as the very definition of courage. Historically however, courage derives from the Latin word Cor which… Continue reading Courage: The Heart of the Matter
This breathing is a voluntary doorway to the involuntary body, a conscious doorway to the subconscious mind. ~A.G. Mohan Nadi Shodhana, commonly referred to as alternate nostril breathing, is a simple but highly effective practice that cultivates a feeling of centered calm in the mind and body. It is clinically shown to have a beneficial… Continue reading Channel Clearing Breath – A Basic Introduction to Alternate Nostril Breathing
Like the lotus, live joyfully among the sorrows of the world. Parmahansa Yogananda Last week as I sat down to write about Santosha, I was side-tracked by the dramatic news story of the furling (taking down) of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House. The furling of this symbol of racism was a result… Continue reading Santosha: Root to Rise with the Five B’s
For most of us, when we think of contentment, we picture something like a beach, a cozy cabin, a warm fire, being surrounded by loved ones, or completely alone, but the idea is the same. We have our feet up, no worries, everything is peaceful and perfect. It is then we finally find contentment. Is this… Continue reading The Journey to Contentment
Satya is a Sanskrit word meaning truth or reality. Patanjali refers to it in verse 2.28 of the Yoga Sutras as the second of the five Yamas – a list of guidelines for “right living”. This can seem like such a simple concept – tell the truth, don’t lie. But is it really that simple? … Continue reading Five Steps to Living Your Truth
Last month, I discussed the difference between authenticity and truth. Authenticity is “the truth of bearing who you are”, I said. It’s the work of diving deep, peeling off layers to reveal your authentic self, your dharma. Truth is the scalpel that dissects and cuts away kleshas and samskaras to reveal our diamond self. But… Continue reading Truth: We are Love
The Story of Bharadvaja
The yoga pose bharadvajasana is a seated twist named after the sage Bharadvaja.
Bharadvaja was a devout scholar who studied the Vedas (ancient Hindu philosophical and spiritual texts). He spent his entire lifetime learning and pondering the Vedas. Then he died.
Bharadvaja was reborn and he continued his reading, memorizing and writing of the Vedas. His whole life, yet again, was dedicated to studying these ancient texts.
Bharadvaja died and was reborn a third time. He once again pursued his learning of the Vedas with deep intensity. He withdrew from his community to study day and night and became known as a secluded sage devoted to learning. During this time, his desire to stop the cycle of birth, death and rebirth began to grow.
Near the end of Bharadvaja’s third life, Shiva paid him a visit. At first, Bharadvaja was excited as he thought his zealous studies had finally paid off and Shiva would release him from the cycle of death and rebirth.
The excitement waned as Shiva asked what exactly Bharadvaja thought he was doing with his lifetimes. Bharadvaja replied that every lifetime had been completely devoted to getting closer to the teachings. Shiva slowly shook his head, reached out the window and scooped up a pile of dirt which he placed in front of his student, saying, “This handful of dirt represents what you learned in one lifetime.”
Shiva swept up another handful of dirt and placed it with the first. “This,” Shiva said, “is what you learned during your second lifetime.”
Shiva reached his arm out the window a third time and placed a pile of dirt in front of Bharadvaja. He said, “this third mound of dirt illustrates the knowledge you accumulated during this lifetime.” Shiva then motioned to the Himalayas beyond the window, “Do you see those mountains? That represents the information contained in the Vedas, Bharadvaja. It would take thousands of lifetimes to master all that is contained within them. You certainly have gained more knowledge than anyone else, but you have chosen to live alone, to share your knowledge with no one and have yet to experience and give life to the true meaning of the Vedas. It is through sharing and teaching that you’ll awaken to life and overcome death.” Shiva then left his pupil and Bharadvaja died.
During his fourth lifetime, Bharadvaja not only studied the Vedas, but he became a compassionate educator. He imparted the wisdom and many students revered him as a beloved teacher. Upon his deathbed, people came from all over to honor their teacher. Shiva also came to tell him that he’d learned the lesson and that if Bharadvaja chose, he too could be freed from the death-rebirth cycle. Bharadvaja thanked Shiva but recognized that it was through sharing and teaching that he felt most alive and he chose to be reborn again and became one of the greatest sages ever known.
In mythology, lessons are introduced as stories in ways that allow the reader to relate to the characters and gain insight into his or her own life. The storyline might change to reflect the time period, but the hero is on a similar journey as the one before. A modern example of Bharadvaja’s story is found in the movie, ‘Groundhog Day’. Bill Murray’s character Phil wakes up to the same day over and over and over. It’s an uncomfortable day that he doesn’t want to revisit. Over time, Phil changes a part of the day to make someone’s life a little bit better and he becomes kinder, learning valuable lessons and cultivating meaningful relationships.
Perhaps you have experienced your own version of Groundhog Day with a lesson that keeps appearing in your life. Pema Chödrön has explained it this way, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Whether or not we subscribe to one lifetime or thousands of lifetimes, when we come to realize this truth we can wake up and fully live with purpose.
Bharadvaja’s story teaches us that not only do we all have something to teach or share (our life purpose known in Sanskrit as our dharma), but also that this life work gives us joy and fulfillment.
Sometimes we worry that we don’t know enough to teach or to share, or fear that someone else might know more than we do. Other times, we get caught up in the goal that we forget to live and enjoy the journey along the way. When our lives become our message and we share the lessons we’ve learned with others, we find happiness within and may inspire others to seek their own joy and to live their own life’s purpose.
Quotes on Authenticity Why, when we know that there’s no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone? Is it that we really admire perfection? No – the truth is that we are actually drawn to people who are real and… Continue reading Yoga Cues & Quotes: Authenticity
As a veteran yoga teacher, (I’m in my 21st year teaching professionally) as well as a teacher trainer, and mentor to new teachers, I am fascinated with the journey we are on —and with what it is that makes some of us thrive while others struggle. But in line with my title, perhaps it is helpful… Continue reading Your #1 Key To Successfuly Teaching Yoga: Authenticity
Krishna advising Arjuna It is better to strive in one’s own dharma than to succeed in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma. But competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity. Krishna advising Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. Inside each and every one of us is one true… Continue reading Authenticity: Bearing the Truth within Oneself
I would like to invite you on a journey. A journey that explores your own authenticity. A journey that explores the potential for alchemy in your life. Our theme here at Share Yoga for the month of May is Authenticity, which correlates perfectly with our new Share Yoga book club book, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. Coelho… Continue reading Alchemy & Authenticity
Master teacher Debbi Murphy shares insights on finding balance. “Our own elegant physiology also reflects the importance of balance. Every move we make, every breath we take is a biological drive towards homeostasis, equanimity.”
Yogis share the best advice they ever received as a yogi. Join Darla Brown of ShareYoga.com and her friends, and share your best yoga advice with our community of yoga writers.
Overall wellness hinges on a dynamic balance of web-like interconnections, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. The human body is a fully interconnected organism, nothing working in isolation, and all parts affect each other. Chronic health problems are rooted in inadequate nutrition and detoxification inefficiency is due to lack of high vital nutrients.
1. Eat whole foods. If it comes in a box or has been altered, don’t eat it! This is the simplest way to get the most nutrients, bite for bite.
2. Get off the BIG FIVE: Sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. These all can be degenerative and addictive. If you are not ready to give them all up, try organic coffee, tea, or red wine.
3. Eat ORGANIC foods. Eating organically grown foods will expose you to substantially fewer chemicals. At the same time, organic foods have been scientifically shown to have more nutrients over commercially grown foods.
4. Drink more filtered water. If you can afford a reverse osmosis filtration system, this would be the preferred method. But if you are like me, a simple carbon filter can cut down on widespread chemical exposure, including fluoride, which is a well known toxin. Without adequate hydration, organs are needlessly stressed.
5. Eat more veggies, especially cruciferous since they are particularly helpful in liver functionality and have strong anti-cancer properties. Cruciferous varieties include: kale , collard greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, turnip , rutabaga, horseradish, mustard (the seed, not the sauce!), arugula, watercress, maca, radish, and cabbage.
6. Eat more onions & garlic. These have many great attributes including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and can help provide food for the “good guy” bacteria.
7. Make friends with friendly bacteria. Probiotics and fermented foods like kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut all offer helpful bacteria that crowd out the “bad” bacteria and other pathogens. Gut health and the overall microbiome balance is paramount to proper digestion, assimilation of foods, mental health, overall immunity, and whole health.
8. Brush and floss your teeth, daily. Digestion starts in the mouth and so does your overall health of the digestive system. Poor dental health has also been shown to correlate with dangerous cardiovascular health and overall inflammation. Natural options include activated charcoal teeth whitening which provides an alternative to harsh dental bleaching gels. You can read about all that if you visit the website of the national Dental Board of Practitioners.
9. Use natural (toxic free) personal care items and cleaning products. Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing, says that if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. This is wise advice since many toxic chemicals have been shown to be present in body fat and even the chord blood in newborns. These products are generally not regulated or tested for human safety.
10. Slow Down. Sleep is the primary way we recover and restore the body. New guidelines recommend 7-9 hours for most adults. Relaxation and meditation also contribute to overall wellness and can help balance stress hormones.
Join me for a comprehensive guided Group Detox and Nutritional Re-Boot March 21-April 11th. Sign up at www.LoriTindall.com.
sources: Environmental Working Group, Institute for Functional Medicine, National Sleep Foundation
Our Day in the Life of a Yoga Teacher series continues with a teacher I am completely in awe of. I am in awe of her strength, her vitality and constant commitment to being a human BEing rather than a human doing. In spite of her battle with Common Variable Immune Deficiency, she has been… Continue reading A Day in the Life of a Yoga Teacher: Lori Tindall