Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Promise of Spring

We started my fathers services with this song. It's beautiful and completely perfect. I tried to embed a lovely version I found on you tube but was not so successful. If you would like to hear it sung scroll down one post. Please excuse the awkwardness of this, I wasn't able to get this all
on one post for some reason.
This is My Song
This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
May truth and freedom come to every nation;
may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.

Soltis This is My Song by Sibelius

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


( Nadi Shuddhi)

I'm not breathing, exhausted when I go to sleep, I wake up several times throughout the night or jolt up from a bad dream. I go through my day exhausted ad listless but if I lay down my eyes are wide awake. I'm not grounded at all. When I get back from my father's services I need to place myself on a schedule and stick to it..... until I don't need to anymore. A strict schedule during times of emotional crisis is personally very healing. I write down my activities and obligations and place everything into a strict and very simple schedule. It helps anchor me, and right now I really need that .
As I have blogged about earlier I had been spending some regular time on the mat in my own personal practice. I need to get back on the mat and include some breath exercises. One of my favorites and personally most beneficial is nadi shuddi. Nadi shuddhi pranayama or nadi shodhana is an alternating nostril breathing exercise. Benefits of alternate nostril breathing are plentiful:
•Cleanses and tones the entire nervous system.
•Relieves symptoms of disorders of the respiratory tract
•Reduces stress
•Enhances a feeling of calm.
•Makes Practitioner feel more energetic because of improved oxygenation
•Increases rate of metabolism thus aiding weight loss.
How to:
Sit i a comfortable position. Let your chin tip slightly downward, eyes closed. Use the thumb, and fifth finger (small finger) of your right hand. The three middle fingers can tuck into your hand. Use your thumb to close off the right nostril, as you breath into the left. Initially start off the inhalation to the count of two, three, four or five. Should you experience dizziness, reduce the count. As soon as you reach the top of the inhalation, immediately close the left nostril with your pinky finger, removing your thumb from the right nostril at the same time, and begin a slow, rhythmic, effortless exhalation through this nostril. Do this to the count of two, three, four or five. Inhale through the right nostril to the count. Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Exhale through the left nostril.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Journey

My Dad died last week. I've been walking around in a daze. I really adored my father. He's gone off on a journey somewhere to have another lifetime, see new wonderful sights and have new insights on the cosmos and this incredible universe. May the road rise up to meet you Dad, take Cisco with you, he's an excellent travel companion and say hello from time to time.

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there... I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow...
I am the diamond glints on snow...
I am the sunlight on ripened grain...
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you waken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of gentle birds in circling flight...
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry—
I am not there... I did not die...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Peace and love

It's the perfect season for it.
Here's our version of a snow man.
Snow Buddha.... peaceful, happy, content.

Hunched Over

Artist:  Nina Katz
Winter has been brutal this year, cold, snowy, and icy. As a reaction many of us are experiencing a hunched over lifestyle. Hunched over looking down cautiously when we walk through the icy streets or climbing over snow mounds, hunched over to stay warm, drive our cars, use the computer, or shovel the copious amounts of snow that have accumulated. Many of us are spending an endless and detrimental amount of time with our shoulders rotated inward in a protective response against the elements. The result of this much internal rotation in the upper extremity are tight shoulders, sunken chest, stiff neck and a rounded upper back. This is bound to set up for an injury somewhere down the road. I highly recommend incorporating the following into your yoga practice as a counter response.
First I would like to share a lovely restorative sequence for opening up the shoulder area I found in spa magazine when looking for a sample picture for shoulder stretch. Do check it out, it's really quite good. (Who knew!)
I would like to recommend incorporating the following into your winter schedule:
Shoulder stretch on the wall
  • Stand next to a flat wall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Place the left hand on the wall, fingers pointing up. elbow bent.
  • Face the right side of the room.
  • Gently extend the arm behind you.
  • Hold this position, breathing naturally, for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Turn to the wall slide the hand back to the midline of the body. repeat with the right hand.
childs pose ( balasana)
  • Kneel on the floor
  • Separate knees hips distance apart
  • Exhale and place your forehead on the floor arms extended in front of you
  • Breath
  • Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to few minutes
props: If your knees give you discomfort place blanket or towel under your knees. Sometimes woman feel a little suffocated in this position. If this happens place a block or pillow under your forehead.
Shoulder and neck stretch against the wall

Kneel down in front of a wall. If this bothers your knees, kneel on a folded blanket or towel. Spread your knees wider than hips-distance apart.
  • Extend your arms overhead and place your forearms on the wall.
  • Allow gravity to pull your torso toward the floor. It's OK if your head rests on the wall as well. If you're not feeling this in your shoulders and neck, inch your knees further away from the wall.
  • Breathe deeply for 30 seconds and then release.

  • Ayurvedic Remedies
    I would like to introduce Roger Hutchinson from Peoria, Illinois. He runs an organic grocery market and has a great blog; both called Naturally Yours. The following are taken from Roger's recommendations for frozen shoulder.
    • In Chinese herbal medicine, range of motion falls under the cold category. You might consider using a liver and kidney tonic that removes cold and dampness.
    • For pain relief, white willow bark, scullcap, hops, and valerian are recommended. You can take them in teas.
    • There are herbal pain ointments that may be useful in relieving the grinding aches and lightning stabs of pain associated with frozen shoulder. Deep slow contemplative breathing exercises can stabilize the energy flow and bring peacefulness to the shoulder.
    • Silica helps tissues retain moisture. Herbs with high silica content can be beneficial for restoring elasticity to connective tissue. Horsetail tea and angelica (but not for diabetics, as it raises blood sugar levels) have provided help for sufferers.
    • Foods high in silica are alfalfa sprouts, beets, brown rice, bell peppers, soybeans, leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, cooked dried beans and peas, and whole grain breads and cereals.
    • To reduce inflammation, you can try turmeric (a major component of curry and yellow mustard), ginger, and bromelain (pineapple enzyme).
    Emotional relief
    I know I'm fast reaching the end of my limit and I'm not alone. It's winter, it's not the time to pick up an energetic activity that you may think will lift your spirits. Right now it wont, but it may cause an injury or insult to the psyche. Hold off a little bit on rediscovering extreme down hill skiing and winter treks up mountains in the snow. Here's some ideas that will pick you up and keep you injury free.
    • Get a massage
    • Get a couple of acupuncture treatments to increase the chi in your system
    • Go to the library, get a book, take in a lecture
    • Visit a museum
    • Take a cooking class.
    • Find out what constellations are in the sky in your area and do a little star gazing
    • Plan your garden
    • Check in on the elderly in your neighborhood. It's a long, cold icy winter. You really could be a sight for sore eyes.
    Namaste everyone.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Home coming

    This has been a winter of snow storms. Storm after storm with little relief in sight. The farmers almanac proclaims more on the horizon with no end in sight till early March. Traveling by car has been long and arduous with many hours spent in computer traffic, travel traffic and storm traffic. Oh dear, the winter doldrums have set in as well. I've been asking myself lately, "Where has my life drive gone?" Packed up and moved to a warmer climate I fear. What's a girl to do? This winter it's been all about getting out on my cross country skis. Once home it's an easy step out the door and into the snow. I've skied more this winter than I have have in years and it's been a welcome homecoming. I used to ski regularly but alas adult obligation and an urban lifestyle promptly fixed that for quite some time. Fortunately our home is now steps away from a great after work ski moment and I am now able to give my long lost cross country ski's a bit of much deserved attention. I don't go out for very long, just long enough to feel good. My yoga practice is like that as well. I have no desire once home to commute back in and look for a parking space. I spend more time on the mat in my own home these days. Its nice, and I'm building a little momentum. A small practice in the morning and/or one in the evening. I certainly can build my own sequence, but these days I'd rather follow someone else. At the moment I'm totally enamoured by A.M. P.M. yoga with Rodney Yee and Patricia Walden. It's a lovely sequence. One for the morning and one for the evening, each 20 minutes. It's beginner sequences and very accessible. For me it's about breath and stretch and remembering what made yoga a significant part of my life. Doesn't have to be long, or complicated, or adventurous, coming back to home base is ultimately important right now.
    Feeling my home roots and the fire in my heart. My Dad is not feeling well and whether I'm ready or not, transitions are coming. Trips up North are essential right now. So many emotions, coming home, nothing complicated, just be there.
    Wishing everyone much much love and may your home fires burn warm and bright.