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Its a book you don't want to lose. Its passion, its love, its life and most of its words are written by some of the greatest yoga masters of the past.
Hari, Hari Rickman, (whom you'll later be introduced to, well, sooner than later actually) devoted his life to the study of yoga. He once said, "I'm obsessed with yoga and Ill never get enough." Even as Hari was living in a displaced persons camp during the Second World War, he was studying and practicing yoga.
One of my favorite scripts is on page 129 where he describes when he learned about Yoni or Shanmukhi Mudra. I really needed a good insight on concentration. The hand written letters that are exampled are engrossing and very intriguing. You have to see them for yourself!
How fortunate that the yogic knowledge Dr. Dickman gained from many revered teachers has been preserved so carefully and faithfully that it can enrich the lives of many spiritual seekers who otherwise would never have known of him. Right?!
Last snippet; page. 87 discusses Sitali and Sitkari which I think its great to learn, especially during the warm season because it quickly cools down the body. The breathe is so amazing. Literally.
- building your yoga career
- understanding the ethical principles of yoga
- exploring who you are and what motivates you to teach
- overcoming fear
- forming new habits
- Run all over town teaching eighteen or more classes a week to make ends meet.
- Oops, no time for your own practice! No time to plan classes!
- Teach subpar class because of lack of practice, inspiration, or groundedness.
- Get home, have no time for reflection, fun, recreation, or family.
- Get up the next day with even less inspiration, and teach to a dwindling number of students.
- Make insufficient money to pay bills, afford necessary continuing education, or have much-needed free time.
- understanding your strengths (and potential weaknesses) as a teacher
- developing a mission statement to help focus and hone your teaching
- building and marketing your personal yoga business
- managing your business finances
- how to avoid burnout
- how to use social media to promote your teaching
- lighting up the world
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don't take anything personally.
- Don't make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
- become more mindful
- embrace change
- create space and deal with things as they come up
- release attachment
- focus on intentions
- foster appreciation and gratitude
- create a consistent home practice even while you teach a full load of classes
- establish healthy boundaries as you build relationships with your students and studio managers
- feel more peaceful in your own life
- embrace discomfort
- ahimsa (nonviolence)
- satya (truthfulness)
- asteya (nonstealing)
- brahmacharya (nonexcess)
- aparigraha (nonposessiveness)
- saucha (purity)
- santosha (contentment)
- tapas (self-discipline)
- svadhyaya (self-study)
- ishvara pranidhana (surrender)
- money and how much money is enough
- what things make me feel at peace, whether it's my practice or my bank account
- what I deserve
- what I manifest
- how my identity gets wrapped up in my work
- what my career goals are
- when my heart feels most full
I love being in a calm, quiet environment, whether I'm practicing yoga or just relaxing. I tend to be very noise sensitive so taking time away from sounds helps me feel calm, both physically and mentally.
Recently I read On the Verge: Wake Up, Show Up,and Shine, a great book for inspiration about how to settle the mind, shift out of 'overthinking' mode, and live purposefully. Here's a lovely little excerpt from author Cara Bradley on how to make use of time in silence.
Do you find it challenging to manage your expectations? How do you react when things don't turn out the way you hoped they would?
In her book Expectation Hangover, author and life coach Christine Hassler explores these questions and other ideas related to accepting disappointment, going through life transitions, and finding emotional healing. The book is filled with useful exercises, guided meditations and personal stories.
Today on the blog sponsored yogi Yani shares her review of the book :) Enjoy!
I'm a person that fills her time with the many things she obsesses about and is passionate about. I'm also a person that is really bad at slowing down to read, drink warm lemon water, and kind of just slowing the fuck down (though sometimes I do love to relax, be a homebody, and kick it). Another note about me, I have a hard time finishing an entire book through- unless I have absolutely nothing to do, and can get lost in a new world. I read it part by part, slowly. I tend to read when it's calling me; I don't like to force a good read.
Do you ever read about anatomy and the function of yoga poses to help deepen your practice?
Sometimes reading about the postures can help you understand them in a completely new way. Here are two books I'd recommend.
I'd recommend both of these books to any yogi, especially if you:
- teach yoga
- want to practice advanced poses safely
- are completing a yoga teacher training and studying anatomy
Un-put-down-able. Adjective informal
1. (of a book) so engrossing that one cannot stop reading it.
This book channels the inner nature of the self, and is a stunning body of work. Many of the poems are excerpts from the work of practitioners all over the world and their words embody my inner most emotions, most strongly, love. Its much easier to express my profound love to others with the help of Mala Of Love.
So true, so inspiring, so deep.
Here are a few excerpts from the book, to give you a sense of how it reads.
An excerpt from page 42:
An excerpt from the book's introduction:
The diverse voices form a mala, or a garland of 108 prayer beads. Although identified with Eastern traditions, the mala has been increasingly accepted as a sacred tool in other parts of the world. All the beads of a mala are equal, complete in themselves, and yet related to one another. Each turning of the beads steadies and deepens a connection to the Supreme. On a practical level, this collection — like the mala — is an interactive tool allowing the reader to commune with love. We can read the poems aloud in the same way we might recite a mantra or a prayer with a mala. Consistent use helps foster a shift in our neural pathways, so that eventually we become that which we meditate on. We become love.
All sorts of lovely books and yoga DVDs have been making their way to me lately and I'm excited to share them with you. If you need a recommendation for what to read or watch the next time you have a rainy, cold day, I got you :)
What I'm Reading
The New Chinese Medicine Handbook by Misha Ruth Cohen
Before checking out this book, I felt intimidated by Chinese medicine and all its detailed information, regimens and routines. I love that the author offers an approachable guide; as she says, the book is an invitation to a shared healing journey. "If you have picked up this book," Cohen says, "you are searching for answers to the age-old questions: How do I live life fully, how can I heal myself of sickness, and who can guide me in this complex process?"
If you're like me and dislike going to the doctor and want a more holistic approach to health,
The New Chinese Medicine Handbook
is a great resource. It gives you a sense of how to approach health with the mind, body, and spirit all integrated as a whole instead of offering quick-fix, Western-minded solutions. Chinese medicine offers a new way of thinking about how to take care of yourself, how to find balance, and how to treat both physical and emotional disharmony.
Restoring Flexibility: A Gentle Yoga-Based Practice to Increase Mobility at Any Age by Andrea Gilats, PhD, RYT
I can't tell you how many times I've heard from friends, family, and strangers, "I'm too stiff and out of shape to practice yoga!" This is the perfect book for answering that statement with a resounding, "Yoga is for everyone!" I'd recommend this book for anyone who is a beginner and wants to increase mobility. If you or someone you know is intimidated by yoga, try this book. Andrea offers simple routines that anyone can do, and she includes great photos, step-by-step instructions and daily practices to try. The sections include:
- aligning bones and centering your breath
- restoring upper body flexibility
- restoring spinal flexibility
- restoring hip flexibility - flexors, and rotators and adductors
- restoring agility - the yoga sun salutation
- restoring lower body flexibility
- reclining joint releases and muscle relaxation
Restoring Flexibility is comprehensive, detailed, and a really smart approach for beginners. Although the title hints at age, I think this book is applicable to yogis of any age, and it's a wonderful guide to starting where you are instead of taking a class that's too fast-paced or intimidating. Highly recommended.
Essential Oils for Beauty, Wellness, and the Home by Alicia Atkinson
I love this book! It's filled with helpful information about essential oils and recipes and methods for using them. Need to fight the flu? Need relief from allergies? Need to relieve stress or feel better after a bad day? This book has essential oil remedies to help.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Hangover Relief Protocol: Detoxifying Blend
1 TBsp sweet almond oil
2 drops lemon essential oil
2 drops thyme essential oil
2 drops cilantro essential oil
2 drops rosemary essential oil
In a 0.5 oz (15 mL) blue or amber glass bottle, mix 1 Tbsp almond oil with 2 drops each of lemon, thyme, rosemary and cilantro. Cap tightly and shake to mix. Use, or store for later in a cool, dry location.
sweet almond oil
8 drops ylang ylang essential oil
4 drops clary sage essential oil
2 drops bergamot essential oil
2 drops sandalwood essential oil
What I'm Watching
"Will is that which changes thought into energy." - Yogananda
This is such an interesting film! A look at the reaction of the western world as a 'superstar guru' came to Los Angeles featuring commentary by Deepak Chopra, Russel Simmons, and even If you've read Autobiography of a Yogi, that's only the beginning to Yogananda's story :)
YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine with Parvati
Wow! Parvati is such a gifted and mesmerizing teacher... one of my favorite aspects to her teachings is the way she draws in energetic movement and lines of energy. She'll help you become more aware of the subtle intricacies of the practice. Each routine is incredibly revitalizing and healing. Great DVD.
What are you guys reading and watching these days? I'd love to hear! XO
Lately I've been lucky enough to try out some new books about healthy living and yoga. These are my top 4 favorites right now:
If you do, you need to read this book.
If you don't meditate, you also need to read this book -- maybe even more so :)
In his book, Culadasa shows how powerful meditation can be. I love, too, that he approaches it not only as a science, but as an art. As he says:
"While this book is a kind of technical manual, it's also an artist's handbook. Meditation is the art of fully conscious living. What we make of our life-- the sum total of thoughts, emotions, words, and actions that fill the brief interval between birth and death-- is our one great creative masterpiece.
The beauty and significance of a life well lived consists not in the works we leave behind, or in what history has to say about us. It comes from the quality of conscious experience that infuses our every waking moment, and from the impact we have on others."
On his website, Culadasa asks this provocative question: What if one thing you did each day could bring you to deep joy, peace, insight, and personal transformation?
And in the book, he goes about answering that question, and offering the reader a 10-step guide to meditation. It is a fascinating, dense, practical guide to taming the mind and reaching a deep sense of peace through frequent meditation practice.
So far, I've only read the beginning of the book: the introduction, the summary chapter that gives a basic idea of the 10 stages of meditative training, and then the chapter about stage 1 (establishing a practice).
In only 60 pages, I've already gained an immense amount of knowledge about meditation and how to build a successful meditation practice... I have yet to put this knowledge into practice in my daily life, but hey! At least I'm learning :)
To give you a brief breakdown of the chapters, here are the ten stages of meditation:
1. Establishing a practice
2. Interrupted attention and overcoming mind-wandering
3. Extended attention and overcoming forgetting
4. Continuous attention and overcoming gross distraction and strong dullness
5. Overcoming subtle dullness and increasing mindfulness
6. Subduing subtle distractions
7. Exclusive attention and unifying the mind
8. Mental pliancy and pacifying the senses
9. Mental and physical pliancy and calming the intensity of meditative joy
10. Tranquility and equanimity
Pretty intense, right?! :)
Highly highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in meditation. Whether you're new to the practice or have been meditating for years, this book offers a new way to think about it and creative, helpful ways to deepen your meditation experience. Find the book here.
A big thanks to the team behind this book for sharing a copy, and I hope to continue meditating and sharing this knowledge with others.
Lately I keep coming back to these four books.
I highly recommend checking them out, whether you're a yoga teacher looking for creative ideas for class, or you're creating your own home practice. These books offer creative ideas, new flows, ways to make yoga accessible and relevant, and beautiful quotes to read or share during meditation.
Each of these books is extraordinary.
This poem is excerpted from my new favorite book, Mala from the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems. It is a beautiful collection of poems by great sages, saints and mystics. Most are less than a page in length, so you can easily drop in and experience the words and the peaceful space they create.
Much in the same way that a yoga practice works, the breaths in between are what leave you feeling renewed and at peace.
Highly recommend this book! Great for before or after a yoga practice, or in the evening with a glass of wine. Namaste.
PS You can purchase the book from New World Library Publishing...they have some other amazing yoga titles too! I also recommend Pick Your Practice by Meagan McCrary, especially for yoga beginners!
I think all of us can relate to that 'stuck in a rut' feeling, whether it's in regard to our own art projects, work, relationships, or even our yoga practice.
It's so important to try new things, and to adopt a playful attitude!
Recently I was lucky to share the amazing book Coloring Flower Mandalas by Wendy Piersall with my lovely sponsored yogini Elizabeth. It's the perfect book for bringing out your inner goddess and inner child, all at once!
I absolutely love Coloring Flower Mandalas. It was the most colorful meditation I've ever experienced.
Such beautiful hand-drawn designs! It was a great way for me to be present in the moment and find a few moments of calmness. I was able to bring out my inner artist and have some fun. I even turned on some good reggae and got in the zone. Thank you so much for creating an amazing adult coloring book!
A big thanks to Wendy Piersall for creating such a lovely book, and to the team at Ulysses Press for sharing this unique book with Alive in the Fire!
You may recall I have some mandalas tattooed in my sleeve :) What I love is that these designs have existed for thousands of years as tools for meditation and healing... the powerful sacred geometry, the spiritual symbolism, the lovely colors... all of it works together to create a beautiful, meditative design :)
Cheers to all mandalas, whether they're in books or tattoos or your meditation space!