What is Yoga Nidra and why is it so important?

If you’ve ever taken a Yoga class, you are probably familiar with Savasana. This is usually the final pose of the practice and, though it may not seem like it, also the most important. But why?

Savasana is important because you are giving your body the opportunity to completely relax and to integrate the practice, the physical postures, that you have just done. For many of us this alone is enough reason to practice Yoga. More than gaining flexibility and strength, most of us just need to relax for a few minutes each day.

And yet, for many Savasana is not enjoyable or relaxing at all. Why? Because as soon as we allow our body to

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Visions for the New Year

20121226-191601.jpgGratitude.  Adventure.  Creativity.  Beauty.  Abundance.  Change.  Acceptance.  And Ganesha.

Lord Ganesha, the Hindu deity in a human form with the head of an elephant – represents the power of the Supreme Being that removes obstacles and ensures success in human endeavors. For this reason, Hindus worship Ganesha first before beginning any religious, spiritual or worldly activity. In Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the first son of Lord Shiva and the Divine Mother Parvati. Their second son is Lord Subramanya and their daughter is Jyoti. As explained below, the portrayal of Lord Ganesha as the blend of human and animal parts symbolizes the ideals of perfection as conceived by Hindu sages and illustrates some philosophical concepts of profound spiritual significance.

  • Elephant head, wide mouth, and large ears: the large head of an elephant symbolizes wisdom, understanding, and a discriminating intellect that one must possess to attain perfection in life. The wide mouth represents the natural human desire to enjoy life in the world. The large ears signify that a perfect person is the one who possesses a great capacity to listen to others and assimilate ideas.
  • The trunk and two tusks with the left tusk broken: there is no known human instrument that has an operating range as wide as that of an elephant’s trunk. It can uproot a tree and yet lift a needle off the ground. Likewise, the human mind must be strong enough to face the ups and downs of the external world and yet delicate enough to explore the subtle realms of the inner world. The two tusks denote the two aspects of the human personality, wisdom and emotion. The right tusk represents wisdom and the left tusk represents emotion. The broken left tusk conveys the idea that one must conquer emotions with wisdom to attain perfection.
  • Elephant eyes: the elephant eyes are said to possess natural deceptiveness that allows them to perceive objects to be bigger than what they really are. Thus the elephant eyes symbolize the idea that even if an individual gets “bigger and bigger” in wealth and wisdom, he should perceive others to be bigger than himself; that is, surrender one’s pride and attain humility.
  • The four arms and various objects in the four hands: the four arms indicate that the Lord is omnipresent and omnipotent. The left side of the body symbolizes emotion and the right side symbolizes reason. An axe in the upper left hand and a lotus in the upper right hand signify that in order to attain spiritual perfection, one should cut worldly attachments and conquer emotions. This enables one to live in the world without being affected by earthly temptations, just as a lotus remains in water but is not affected by it. A tray of Laddus (a popular snack) near the Lord denotes that He bestows wealth and prosperity upon His devotees. The lower right hand is shown in a blessing pose, which signifies that Ganesha always blesses His devotees.
  • A human body with a big belly: the human body possesses a human heart, which is a symbol of kindness and compassion toward all. Ganesha’s body is usually portrayed wearing red and yellow clothes. Yellow symbolizes purity, peace and truthfulness. Red symbolizes the activity in the world. These are the qualities of a perfect person who perforrns all duties in the world, with purity, peace, and truthfulness. The big belly signifies that a perfect individual must have a large capacity to face all pleasant and unpleasant experiences of the world.
  • A mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha and gazing at the tray of Laddus: a mouse symbalizes the ego that can nibble all that is good and noble in a person. A mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha indicates that a perfect person is one who has conquered his (or her) ego. A mouse gazing at the Laddus, but not consuming them, denotes that a purified or controlled ego can live in the world without being affected by the worldly temptations. The mouse is also the vehicle of Ganesha, signifying that one must control ego in order for wisdom to shine forth.
  • Right foot dangling over the left foot: as stated above, the left side of the body symbolizes emotion and the right side symbolizes reason and knowledge. The right foot dangling over the left foot illustrates that in order to live a successful life one should utilize knowledge and reason to overcome emotions.

– Bansi Pandit

Rachel Dragonfly : User Guide & Owner’s Manual

A guide to help me better understand myself. A place for reminders.. things that work and things that don’t.

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Everyday things :

1 : Breathe in and breathe out.

2 : It is important to stop every once in a while to observe myself.

Tips to inspire creativity :

1 : Always charge the battery and clear the memory card BEFORE leaving the house. [this rule can be applied to both the camera and the body!]

2 : Remember.. no project is ever “finished”.

Interesting Observations of my Human Interactions :

1 : I look at and interact with people’s dogs more than I do with people.

2 : I don’t remember  your name. But I probably remember how you smell or what your shoes look like.

sit down and listen.

I.
You.
He.
She.
We.
.
In the garden of mystic lovers
these are not true distinctions.
.
There’s part of us
that’s like an itch
call it the animal soul
a foolishness
that when we’re in it
we make hundreds of others
around us
itchy
and
there is an intelligent soul
with another desire
more like sweet basil
or the feel of a breeze
listen
and be thankful
even for scolding
that comes from the intelligent soul
it flows out closer to where you
flowed out
but that itchiness
wants to put food in our mouths
that will make us sick
feverish with the aftertaste
of kissing a donkey’s rump
it’s like blackening your robe
against the kettle
without being
anywhere near
a table of companionship
the truth of being human
is an empty table
made of soul intelligence
gradually
reduce what you give
your animal soul
the bread
that after all
overflows
from sunlight
the animal soul itself spilled out
and sprouted from the other
taste more often
what nourishes
your clear light
and you’ll  have less use for the smokey oven
you’ll bury that baking equipment
in the ground
.

touching with her ears..

[photo by Sarsten Noice]

There is a Boddhisattva,

whose name is Avalokitesvara.

It means:

Listening deeply to the sound of the cries of the world“.

And listening deeply is the practice of mindfullness.

But if you are full of pain, full of anxiety, full of projections,

and especially full of prejudices, full of ideas and notions,

it may be very difficult for you to practice deep listening.

You are too full.

And that is why to practice in order for you to have space,

to have freedom within,

to have some joy within is very important for deep listening.

Avalokitesvara, Quan Yin, she practices deep listening to herself, and to the world, outside.

She practices touching with her ears.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh