Tag Archives: Bhakti

Simple Yoga Sequence at Home

10 September

One of my good friends moved to France about two years ago to study, and she recently asked  me for help with yoga. So I typed up my favorite simple yoga sequence for home, which is the one I also use when I teach or substitute teach for my friends, and send it over to her in Paris to try. Many people since then have asked me to create a routine for them to use at home that is easy for them to do alone without having to watch a video or plug in their computer to get someone in youtube. So here is my favorite yoga sequence for a one hour class/routine.

Simple yoga sequence at home

Simple Hatha Yoga Sequence

This sequence is divided in several parts or sections that will create a complete routine that is easy to follow at home.

Beginning Meditation

Come to a comfortable seated position. Grab a towel, bolster, or block to support you if you need to. Bring your hands to your knees or to your heart.

Take a deep breath and relax your mind.

Begin with chanting 3 OMs inhalin and exhaling OM.

Take a deep breath and think of all the wonderful amazing things that happened to you today.

Awakening & Standing Breathing Exercises

These are the warm up exercises

Rotate feet 3 times each way.

Rotate knees 3 times each way.

Rotate shoulders 3 times front and back.

Rotate hands 3 times each way.

Rotate neck 3 times each way.

Rotate head 3 times each way (look to the left, back to center, look to the right, back to center).

Bring your arm over your head, clasp thumbs from both hands together for side stretch (Inhale pull to the left, exhale back to center. Inhale pull to the right, exhale back to center).

Sun Salutations

Sun Salutation are done in rounds meaning one round is both sides. I suggest a minimum of 3 rounds, 5 max.

Simple Sun Salutation Sequence 

The simple sequence is as follows: Inhale (IN), Exhale (EX)

Start by standing in mountain pose at the front of your mat. Face East to do your sun salutations.

IN arms up over your head.

EX bring your arms down and to touch the math or toes (bend your knees if you need to).

IN look halfway up up.

EX bring your right foot to the back of the mat.

IN bring your left foot to meet the other one for plank pose, and hold your breath while in plank.

EX bring your knees down, chest down chin down to the mat,

IN and come and up to upward dog or cobra (which ever you prefer)

EX to downward dog

IN bring your right foot to the front of the mat

EX bring your other foot to meet it

IN come up, arms up

EX bring your hands to prayer (chest)

This is half of one round, then you would do the left foot and that would be 1 complete round.

Some people do chaturanga instead of the knees-chest-chin, come thru before up dog or cobra. But if you have never done a correct chaturanga, is better to stick to knees, chest, chin come thru. I had been doing chaturanga all wrong for 8 years until 2010 when a teacher in an advance class showed us!!! It’s sad but most teachers don’t teach a correct chaturanga, specially at gyms

Advanced Sun Salutation Sequence

Include warrior poses in the simple sequence above, in round 3, after downward dog when your foot comes to the front and you are in  a lunge position, start with warrior I, then II. I never do warrior III in sun salutations though.

And then after one round of warriors, the next round will have triangles (trikonasa).

Add Warrior I and Warrior II to simple sequence (if round 4).

Add prayer twist to simple sequence (if round 5).

Add trikonasa from warrior II to simple sequence (in combination with either 2 above).

Balance

Tree Pose on both sides. Release each side with control. Shake legs after coming out of Tree Pose.

Dancer Pose on both sides. Release each side with control. Shake legs after coming out of Dancer Pose.

Spine

After the balance poses, I like to start working the spine.

Begin with Dandasana, hold for a few breaths and do a forward fold.

Next is, Janu Sirsasana, hold for a few breaths on each side and fold.

Lay on your back and bring knees to chest, head to knees, hold for a few breaths, and release.

Detox Poses

After working the spine, I find that detox poses are best to follow.

Start with a twist from Janu Sirsasana on both sides. Hold for a few breaths in each side.

Laying down twist, knees to chest and bring to each side. Hold for a few breaths in each side.

Laying down twist one leg to the side, do both sides. Hold for a few breaths in each side.

Core Poses

The core is extremely important and one of the hardest to workout in a regular gym routine or yoga routine. I like to do boat pose and when I have advanced students or athletes, I will have them do boat situps, never touching the ground 🙂

Boat pose, hold for a few breaths.

Inversions

My favorite inversion to do in class is dolphin. I don’t believe in head stand for myself. I do enjoy 90 degree hand stand on the wall, but I don’t include either in my routine or classes because they don’t call to me. It’s an inner voice that tells me head stand is not for me. So I practice other inversions such as Dolphin, Plow, or Shoulder stand instead. For this simple routine, Dolphin works great.

Dolphin and Dolphin push-ups (10 if possible and increase as days go by)

For more advanced students, dolphin pushups with one leg up

Final Meditation

For the final meditation, enjoy about 10 minutes in Savanasa, reflecting on your practice or giving thanks to yourself for doing something for your body and mental health. And when you are ready, come up to a comfortable seated position and chant OM.

 

What other poses would you add to this routine to make it your own? Share with us!

 Photo by InboundDen

 

The Spiritual Vegan Diet

21 August

Ahimsa The Spiritual Vegan Diet

Last year at Bhakti Fest, one of the MCs talked about a lifestyle challenge he entered as a way to improve his health. As he started the new vegan raw diet, he realized that his new diet is part of what Ahimsa in the yoga world means: Non-violence towards animals. I connected to that because being a vegan for me now is more of a choice-of-energy that enters my body than non-cruelty towards animals. But I knew Ahimsa meant much more beyond food. I was inspired by this topic and wrote about it on my post for MentalBlox.com. Here is a copy of the post:

 

Ahimsa | The Non-Violent Spiritual Diet

If you are a student of Yoga, whether it’s the asana practice only or all the other parts of yoga, you have heard the term Ahimsa. It means non-violence and avoiding harming ourselves and others including animals. Many yogis and yoginis are vegetarian or vegan, because, a true practitioner of yoga will take a vow of non-violence. Eating animals is part of Ahimsa because of the suffering and the violence animals are submitted before they died to become food on a plate. Vegetarism is a start, but Ahimsa is much more beyond being a vegetarian.

You Are What You Eat

I chose to become a vegan many years ago, at the beginning for health reasons, but now I choose to stay vegan for energy reasons. I don’t want the energy of another being in my body; I feel it affects my spiritual path, especially if the animal was hurt and tortured during the dying process to become food for humans. I’m fortunate to be allergic to eggs and dairy and therefore I’m not able to eat those either. Many of my friends have been able to get deeper once they adjust their diets to the principal of Ahimsa. And it’s no surprise that many religions avoid eating certain animals because they might not be as “pure” as others or because some animals are sacred and cannot be consumed.

Walking The Walk

When I started learning more about yoga, deepening my practice thru my teacher training, I became more aware of the term Ahimsa and why it was important in order to advance in my spiritual path. I felt great I was a vegan and thought that was all to it. Ahimsa doesn’t just refer to food and the killing of animals for food. It refers to everything in our lives, not having harmful thoughts about ourselves or others and other violent actions that lead to negative emotions like anger, frustration, fear, rage, and anxiety. So I had to stop wishing people on the road traffic tickets for bad driving, getting angry at my cat for spitting hairballs on my white couch, or killing roaches that come in to my house after a rainy day.

But the most difficult part has been not wounding and hurting me with my thoughts. Every time we judge ourselves and say mean things, we hurt our souls and self-esteem. I know it sounds corny but it’s true. Saying “I’m fat and ugly, nothing fits me”, or “I have a horrible hair day”, or “I’m so stupid”. Even not saying it out loud but thinking it, we are hurting ourselves. And if you have children or siblings that look up to you, they are learning from you to say those things about themselves too.

The Process

It may take a while for us to get used to being more loving towards ourselves and others. I started moving to the middle lane when I see a car coming fast behind me on the left lane, so instead of wishing them a ticket, I let them pass me. I stop telling myself how “fat I feel” when clothes don’t fit or calling myself “stupid” for closing a drawer on my fingers. One might be clumsy at times but it doesn’t mean we have to call ourselves a name or attach a negative feeling to that. Love your clumsy curvy self and the roaches or other animals that share this earth with us. That is the first step to Ahimsa.

Are there other ways you have come to realized Ahimsa applies in your life? Share with us!

From Mayhem to Bhakti

02 October
Bhakti Fest

Bhakti Fest

That’s right! Last month I went to Mayhem Fest here in Florida with headliners Korn, Lamb of God, Rob Zombie, and Fiver Finger Death Punch. This month, I went to Bhakti Fest in California with headliners Krishna Das, Bhagavan Das, Deva Premal & Mitten, Jai Uttal, Wah!, and Geoffrey Gordon to name a few (very few).

Two very different festivals, but both very similar to me. People gather, complete strangers, to enjoy music that transport them to a different place, that elevates their spirit. I enjoy all music, except country music; (don’t ask me why, it just doesn’t do anything for me).  So going in, I had similar goals to accomplish at each festival that relate to spiritual growth and the intentions I had set on the last Blue Moon.

Independence

I’ve been working on becoming more independent and trusting the universe that nothing will go wrong if I do things on my own. I used to be scared of being away from Denis too long because I always felt we would loose precious time being apart. I also feared that something would happened to us and I wanted to spend as much time together. I got inspired last year to work on this issue and so far I’ve been able to accomplish it. Proof is I went to Mayhem Fest without Denis and at Bhakti Fest we had different schedules, and last week, I went to a concert by myself. Just me, myself, and I had a blast!

Fear

I don’t have many regrets in life, but the ones I do have are all tied to fear. Being afraid of doing something. Well no more! I decided to evaluate whenever a fear surfaces and tries to stop me from doing things I want to do. For example, when I first got tickets to Mayhem Fest, I was afraid for Denis. It was going to be his first “rock” (metal) concert (for 8 hours!) and I was afraid. So instead of selling the tickets or giving them away, I went with someone else. At Bhakti I was scared of doing yoga for 5 days (including the intensive) and of going to LA. I had heard so many scary stories of the police, etc in LA that I almost wanted to skip visiting the city.  But I didn’t let that fear stopped me and jumped in to each class for 5 days and went around LA trusting our GPS!

Let Go – Clearing Mind Clutter

Most people know that I. LOVE. CLEARING. CLUTTER! I’m now convinced is one of my talents I was born with! But clearing the clutter in the mind is much more difficult that cleaning your space. So I went to both festivals hoping to clear some of the clutter in my head and it worked!

Dance

I love dancing but I almost never have time to dance. So this time at both festivals I took every opportunity to dance. Well, yes at Mayhem there isn’t much “dancing” but jumping and throwing your hands in the air count as dancing. Oh and who can forget rocking your head and hair back and forth to the sound of any Lamb of God song? Yeah that’s dancing in my book!

Guilt

Mayhem Fest - Korn

Like Korn‘s song says: “Let the Guilt Go“, that is one of my BIGGEST issues I’ve been working out this passed 10 months. As any person brought up in the catholic religion, we are made to believe everything is our fault and we must feel guilty for everything. When I was getting ready to go to Mayhem Fest (10 minutes before I left the house) I felt guilty for not taking Denis with me. I finally talked it out loud and expressed myself and realized how stupid of me. I would have felt guilty taking him because metal is not his cup of tea and for not taking him. At Bhakti Fest, I felt guilty leaving early, at 1am, and not staying for the later kirtan even though I was exhausted and sleepy. I felt guilty for not buying more things to support the vendors, and felt guilty for not going to more yoga classes. Finally, I talked to myself and reassured myself that it was OK to rest and not overwork my body and overspend beyond my traveling budget.

At each festival the music, energy, and situations helped me overcome different issues I had to deal with. As different as both festivals were, I went in with the same goals. Best part of both festivals, I had a great time!

Preparing for Bhakti Fest

08 September

When I found out that I was going to Bhakti Fest 2010, I was extremely excited but realized I had to get in shape. Why you may ask? Well, the festival is 4 days of Kirtan, yoga, and speakers. Kirtan is almost happening 24/7, so I knew I’ll be sitting for a long time.

To prepare for Bhakti fest, I did what I usually do for any concert or event I go to. I practiced all the songs and studied all the musicians and learned everything I needed about the event. I don’t need to memorize the mantras for kirtan, because we know most of them already from all other kirtan events we have attended over the last 9 years.

For Yoga though, I actually started by registering for yoga classes early this year. But then I quit for awhile and then panicked that time was running out and I was still not ready for 4 days of yoga. So I signed up for an unlimited class pass for vinyasa flow yoga and have been attending three times a week. I guess you may think I’m nuts preparing like I was running a marathon, but if you think about it, I’m doing a “yoga marathon”.

To add more pressure, Denis actually registered me for an all-day-intensive with my FAVORITE yoga teacher/master/goddess ever! Shiva Rea! If there were yoga groupies (I’m sure there are), I would be her groupie. I absolutely adore her and have taken every class she has taught in South Florida. My favorite class is her Yoga Trance Dance.

One year, she invited Denis and I as special guests to one of her classes and it was awesome. I don’t know if she’ll remember me this time because I have lost a lot of weight since the last I was in her class, but I always keep her in my heart. So I gotta be ready for her class.

It’s going to be an exciting time for us, since we get to see a lot of our favorite musicians and speakers. Krishna Das, Deva Premal, Jai Uttal, Geoffrey Gordon, Bhagavan Das, Wah, Prema Hara to name a few. Speakers include Ram Dass, Sam Geppi, etc. Yoga teachers include Shiva Rea, Saul David Raye, Sean Corn, Duncan Wong, and many more!

Hopefully in all my bliss this week, I’ll be able to tweet about this wonderful event.  In the meantime, here is a preview of my favorite kind a yoga. Blessings!