Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Toy Drive for SDCCS2 - a time for Seva and Paropakāra

This is the time of year when we all start checking things off our shopping lists for friends and family. Some opt out of the shop/give materialism and simply exchange good will and good company. Some agree to "not shop" and make donations to worthy causes in one another's names. Some donate time at food pantries, soup kitchens or sorting/distributing clothing at shelters. Some work on pet adoptions, or just spend time nourishing the love in their families. Some travel to protest sites, to needy countries, to hospitals or wherever a loving soul, another pair of hands and a few more dollars might help further a positive effort.

I applaud any way you choose to enrich the lives of others, and restore some sanity to what might be an otherwise daunting and crazy time of year, especially in our global and local political climates.

If you are local, and so inclined, I am collecting new, unwrapped toys for children of all ages for the families in the community of where my son goes to school. A few decks of cards, a science book, a set of construction blocks, an easy reader set, coloring books and crayons, toy cars, a huggable stuffed toy, a hiking journal, a kid's yoga mat - any thing you have or could pick up easily at a minimal expense would be so gratefully appreciated.

You may bring them to any of the classes that I teach around the county (no need to ship anything from out of town please) and I will bring them en masse to the donation box at our school. We have 20 families on our holiday list to whome we'd like to bring a little extra cheer.

In Sanskrit Seva means selfless service. There are a number of words that are synonymous with charity or giving or the act of that. Here is a short list I found:

Atisarjana: the act of giving away something or making a donation.
satkriyā: a good action, charity, virtue
vara: Charity, alms
āmiṣadāna: gifts of material sthigns (in buddhist philosophy)

but my favorite so far is paropakāra: assisting others, benevolence, charity

What's yours?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Those Mysterious Hand Gestures - The Mudras! a link to a post by Blissful Body Yoga

I love mudras. They are one of my earliest discoveries of yoga, dating back to my childhood when I would "play" with my hands. Bend them, press them together, make them soar like wings. I let my hands dance as the true expression of my anahata (heart) chakra that they are. As I grew into an artist, yoga teacher and healer, the magical emanations of energy from my hands became an even deeper part of my practice, and how I share healing with others. 
The Kripalu tradition is part of my lineage as a yogi, and Swami Kripalu, like many yogis, was known to have eruptions of spontaneous mudras while deep in meditation. Mudras create powerful energetic "circuits" in our system on many levels, in all of our koshas (energetic sheaths.) They hold energy, heal, protect, enlighten and express.
Over the years I have learned mudras from my teachers, but many, many more have simply come through my hands in a natural way. This is the point I want most to share with you, that mudras, like all yoga, are already in you. All aspects of yoga will express themselves naturally if you allow them to, and take the time to be mindful and notice what is occurring. The more you do this, the more it will occur. In Kripalu yoga we use the acronym BRFWA (Breath, Relax, Feel, Watch, Allow) for the process which encourages meditative states to arise, which will in turn lead to many things including spontaneous asana and mudras experiences.