I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for workout videos! Simply because I get the benefit of a complete exercise experience without having to venture anywhere beyond the warm confines of a place called home. I don’t have to go through the trouble of picking out workout gear, getting myself ready, finding my way to the gym, making sure I look fairly presentable before and after..blah blah blah. 🙂 In other words, way too much hassle for something that’s actually supposed to be enjoyable!
In today’s post, I’m absolutely delighted to feature a full Power Yoga workout courtesy Bryan Kest. I stumbled upon Bryan’s video on youtube a few days ago, and I’m so completely delighted with it’s look and feel. Bryan has been practicing yoga since 1979, and has been teaching from 1985. He is also fundamentally known as the creator of Power Yoga, and is additionally also a pioneer of donation based yoga classes( Super like!).
“My primary objective”, says Kest, “besides turning more and more people on to a healthier, more peaceful lifestyle that continually challenges them to grow, is to teach a system of exercise that fully integrates the body, mind, and spirit.The combination of body and mind creates an incredibly broad range of fulfillment, including top physical condition and a calm, peaceful, clear mind.”
It’s really vital when you do yoga that you have a good teacher. With a good teacher, it’s easier to get your foundation to the practice set up correctly and properly. For the uninitiated , yoga is not just about twisting and contorting yourself into different postures , but it at it’s very roots, is a very complete and satisfying system of approaching life, and navigating it’s many ebbs and flows with calmness and equanamity.You learn how to breathe properly, develop conscious awareness of your body, expand your ability to focus and turn inwards, and also, as a happy afterthought ( it could even be your main goal) develop a lean, firm body with consistent practice and application.
I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do. Like everything else in life, success comes with consistent practice. Go through the video initially, once or twice to familiarise yourself with the format , instructional style and visual presentation. Start slowly, and go only as far as you can go with comfort. Stop when you can’t do any more. With time, you’ll be able go further and experience yourself in deeper ways. Have fun and let me know how you’re getting along. Namaste!
Bryan Kest Power Yoga 1 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SY5qGREnUi0
You’d be surprised at the things you inherit from your ancestors. You don’t just share their physical characteristics. You share their emotions, their drive, their intellect, their passions and yes, their illnesses too. Genetics is powerful. Which is why it’s so important to understand and acknowledge the role of your ancestors in your physical, mental and emotional existence. In the words of the ancients, we are the sum and parts of all who have gone before, the ones who surround us now, and the ones who are yet to be born. Our souls are linked from across time and space in very real and palpable ways.
It’s important to really look at our family structure dispassionately and objectively to see for ourselves whether we can trace the origins or roots of our difficulties to our family tree. Closely examine the male and female ancestral lines in your family. Do you see a pattern in your disharmony?
Our beliefs and emotions are ingrained in us from our childhood as a result of the interactions with our family and significant others, and our own direct experiences. Our parents in turn, are the products of the feelings and emotions of their parents and significant others, as well as their own direct experiences. These emotions and feelings get passed down through the family line from one generation to the next along with the physical makeup and structures unique to the induvidual lineage.
If your great-grandfather suffered greatly during a time of great war and persecution, you may have inturn inherited the several inexplicable fears and anxieties with which you’ve been struggling your entire life to resolve. Perhaps your family history is littered with accounts of sudden traumatic deaths , miscarriages, or various types of addictions, as a result of which you indirectly struggle with issues of fear, guilt , infertility and disease.
If your family history is fractured with negativity, it does not mean that it is irreparable damage and that all is lost! There are ways and means of healing yourself and moving forward with your life. All that is required from your side is a willingness to make peace with the past. Whilst a skilled healer can help you uncover the roots of discordancy in your life, it is still OK if you do not have access to one. Each one of us is capable of healing ourselves, and doing a darn good job of it :-).Patience and persistence is the key. There are many ways to release yourself from the inherited pains of your ancestors , and a very simple way to do this is by honouring your ancestors and allowing them , quite simply, to heal you.
Create an altar with pictures of your ancestors or atleast visual representations of them( if you have no pictures or prefer not to use them). Line the altar additionally with spiritual objects that bring you happiness and peace. Light candles, burn incense and feel the air of the room start to clear. Once you’ve done this, genuinely reach out to all your ancestors. Appreciate and honour their beautiful and continued presence in your life. Thank them for sharing their thoughts and feelings with you. Ask that they heal and take away all the illnesses and pain that do not belong to you so that you may be free to live your life with peace. And finally thank them for their release and seek their blessings.
This ceremony looks rudimentary on the outside but don’t allow it’s simplicity to dissuade you from it’s efficacy and power. If performed with a true heart and pure intentions, honouring and acknowledging your ancestors and having them heal you can change your entire life for the better.
When our past is a fundamental aspect of the reason for our existence , it makes sense to make peace with it, if only to make a better present for ourselves and an even happier future for our children.
© Irene Lopez and An Urban Mystic’s Blog, 2013
Illustration credit Molly Hahn @ http://buddhadoodles.com/
Over the past few weeks we looked at some pointers for successfully mastering the Law of Attraction. This week we’ll be looking at some additional tools, to help you fine tune the manifestation process and clear some more rubble from your path to success 🙂
Successful manifestation relies on many factors, chief amongst them the mastery of your thoughts. Mastering your thoughts simply means observing your thoughts and consciously being able to control them, so that you actually start thinking the way of a master manifestor. In theory atleast, this seems simple enough. But when you actually sit down to gain mastery of your mind you come to the realisation , as I did , that it can be a highly daunting task. For one thing, consider the fact that your mind processes a million thoughts a day. Most of us barely have time to focus on a single thought. When we’re running from one thing to another in our daily lives thinking about all the things we need to do or are doing, we don’t really focus on the more important things of realising what our thoughts actually are, and often how very fear or worry based they really are.
A very useful tool to observe and gain control of your thoughts is meditation. Now, meditation is not as really complicated or difficult as it sounds. A willingness to practice and consistency in application is the key to success. I meditate on the way to work in my company bus, because that’s the one time when I’m not distracted and have a good 30 minutes to myself. Aim for 5 minutes as a beginner, and then slowly work yourself up. The idea is to come to a point where you are consistently aware of your thoughts so you can isolate and drop the thoughts that are negative and retrain yourself to think a positive way. Watch the thought, control and manipulate. With a consistent meditation practice, this process will slowly and surely find it’s way to your conscious thought process as well, so in your waking state whether at home or at work you will quickly change gears from negative to positive thinking.
Strategic visualisation is another important tool in the process of manifestation. As a process , effective visualisation is completely different from say plain imagination or fantasy. Take some time off daily,or even as often as you wish, to practice visualisation, ideally in a quiet spot where you can focus undisturbed. Take the image of one of things that you wish for and keep it’s image at the centre of your mind. For instance, let’s say you are looking for a soulmate. Look at the image of your soul mate in terms of what you would want to him to look like. See his face, the colour of his eyes, the hair , the smile. Start allowing the good feelings to flow as this image comes up. Visualise how good it feels having him around you now. Visualise the 2 of you together, talking , laughing, sharing intimacy, holding hands. Immerse yourself in the experience. After a few minutes or as long as it takes you to get to that good feeling, slowly open your eyes. You’d be surprised at how ecstatically happy you”ve become. This is the kind of strategic visualisation that you need to practice to attain your goals. Do this regularly and always, and as often as you can. And never let the feeling drop.
Another very important tool in successful manifestation is removing negativity from your life. As I’ve said before, and many
times over, negativity whether it be thoughts or emotions blocks the flow of successful manifestation. Start learning to love and appreciate the things in your life. If you don’t like your job now, and you’re looking for better prospects, don’t think in terms of “oh how I hate my job”, think in terms of ” I really do love my job”. Learn to look at things as learning experiences and think in terms of gratefulness and appreciation. Love comes from a space of acceptance. Bring the higher vibrations of love into your life by constantly appreciating and being grateful for everything you have. Fear is the opposite of love. And it is the fear we are trying to eliminate in the manifestation process. Aim to make love the focus of your life. Over a period of time, if you are diligent , you will notice changes in the way you look at things…you lose the need to struggle ..and the need to strive. Life becomes easy, simply because you love your life and everything in it.
The Law of Attraction is not complicated . All it requires as a conscious willingness to apply the concepts and putting in the necessary work to achieve success. There are many ways to overcome obstacles, and if your heart is in the right direction and your mind is focussed on getting to your goal, you will always find a way. Believe it for it is so.
© Irene Lopez and An Urban Mystic’s Blog, 2013
The first time I saw a Buddha Doodle, it really touched my heart. There’s something so intrinsically feel- good about these whimsical illustrations created by the uber talented cartoonist Molly Hahn (aka Mollycules). Buddha Doodles already has quite a fan following, and I’m delighted to start including it as a regular feature on my blog. There’s always plenty of room for more sunshine here at An Urban Mystics’s Blog 🙂
Molly’s mission is to “shed light on the inherent wisdom and joy that is available to each and every one of us at any moment”. I’d say she’s doing a pretty darn good job. Read more about Molly and see more of her work at http://buddhadoodles.com/
This week’s post was originally supposed to have been called ” The Law of Attraction Part IV” , but I just had to take a moment to pause, reflect and put pen to paper ( or is it key to monitor?) my thoughts from over the last few weeks. Destiny sometimes takes you into the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times. And with good reason. Sometimes the perspectives of an entire lifetime can change in an instant. And so it was this time when I travelled to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai, relatively lesser known than it’s more populous counterpart Bangkok, is the second largest city in Thailand. A calm and peaceful haven which appeals to both back packers and luxury tourists alike, Chiang Mai is fast becoming a must-do on the average tourist’s Thailand itinerary. Tourist attractions include site visits to historical places of interest, elephant farms, night markets, cooking classes, yoga, meditation and massage schools. However, the big highlight of the trip for me ( aside from learning how to cook pad thai :-)) was my morning alms giving to Buddhist monks and the site visit to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, more popularly known as Doi Suthep, a spectacular Buddhist temple which is visible from any vantage point within Chiang Mai.
I was eager and excited about seeing Buddhist monks , having felt a closeness to Buddha ever since I was a child. And I was hoping in my own whimsical way that my tour guide would be someone who would make me comfortable with that whole experience of receiving blessings and visiting a highly revered Buddhist temple. As it turned out, Joy just happens to be a remarkable woman full of innate grace and compassion. 3 hours flew by like racing thunderbirds in her illumined presence and contained wisdom. “A lot of people are unhappy with their lives, wanting to end them and escape. Many talk of committing suicide even. But this life, it’s incredible. And they are many things that are beautiful and joyous in living. The important thing is to control your thoughts. Because it’s your thoughts that lead you down through that never ending spiral,” she said as she drove us both towards the foot of Doi Suthep. And she would know wouldn’t she?, having lost her husband, brother and son , all within the close space of 2 years.
Joy says she started to meditate in an attempt to control her thinking, especially after the many tragedies she encountered in her life. She found it difficult initially, but with consistent practice is now able to sit for periods of upto an hour daily in meditative silence.” When you meditate, let the thoughts surface and drift. Observe and consider. In your life too consider the things that happen around you without judgement. Reach a point where you are able to consider and not judge and question everything that occurs in your life.” I guess for many of us city dwellers and/or restless souls, that really is key. Being able to reach that stage in life where things don’t ruffle you, and you can see the events that go on in your life for what they really are,without struggle and strife.
Joy also found a lot of other benefits in maintaining a regular and consistent meditation practice. She now has incredible focus and concentration, and finds that she is able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously without feeling overwhelmed. She also has increasing ability to stay in the present moment and have her mind focus on the person or task at hand. “Worrying about the future is fear based thinking. Your life is what goes on in the present moment. Don’t worry about the things yet to come and lose sight of what you have now.”
Joy taught me many things during the drive and her educational tour. A lot of things I already knew in a fuzzy sort of way, but somewhow hearing everything from her perspective, phrased in a different sort of turn, made everything start to make sense and fall into place.
When I eventually kneeled before my monk , having placed into his alms-bowl my small offerings of food , all my fears and worries had dissolved into a calm, clear pool of nothingness. I poured water from the jug onto the ornate silver plate asking for the blessings of my ancestors, forgiveness for any wrong doings and resolution from my accumulated karmas. The sound of the chants and their blessings exploded into my head in a rush of light and heat energy as I made my merit to the spirits of the past. My future is ahead of me and a treasure of immense value. It is worth holding onto and worth looking forward to.
Hopefully your moment of Nirvana doesn’t have to arrive miles away in Chiang Mai like it did for me. But I hope that when it does, you can recognise it and learn to apply it in a way that helps you see the true beauty and light that already exists in your life.
© Irene Lopez and An Urban Mystic’s Blog, 2013
I’ve been nominated for the following awards by my fellow bloggers in the wordpress community.
2) First Cup Award by Naresh of http://dreamlenz.com/
Thank you for the nomination my friends, and thank you for passing on the encouragement and the kind words 🙂
Since I’ve accumulated a few awards now , to simplify the process I’ve just followed the rules just for the one Liebster Blog Award which is given to new bloggers with less than 200 followers to recognise and promote them. The word ‘liebster’ is of German origin and means ‘beloved’ or ‘dearest’ . Each nominee in turn selects 11 other nominations to receive the awards. Read on to see the rules and also stay tuned to find out if you’ve been selected to be one of my chosen nominations! 🙂
The following are the rules of participation for the Liebster Award:
- Post the Award on your blog
- Thank the blogger who nominated you for this award and link them in your post.
- Write 11 random facts about you.
- Answer the 11 questions asked of you.
- Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
- Recognize 11 other bloggers that you think deserve this award, and try to avoid nominating bloggers who already have a Liebster Award nomination. Notify them of your nomination and post your link.
Here are the 11 random facts about me:
- I’m a closet Mystic. I have a boring day time job in the meantime. My blog is as close as it gets to career satisfaction 🙂
- Good food brings a warm fuzzy feeling to my soul. It’s like having a blanket but it fills you inside too. Besides, I can do no work on an empty fuel tank. I like my regular 3-4 pit stops for grazing.
- I play music when I’m struggling with my blog writing. It’s my muse. An aphrodisiac of sorts, but for writing.
- I cannot sleep in complete darkness . It always scares me. It’s getting better with time though.
- I was a vegetarian for a full year. I called it exploration.
- My secret fantasy( which is no longer a secret), is to shave off my hair and eyebrows and live in a Buddhist monastery for a year. And I get to keep the saffron robes as my souvenir.
- I worry at times I’ll run out of ideas for my blog. But I don’t think I’m alone in that, and that’s comforting.
- My favourite colors are purple , white and maroon and that’s mostly because people say I look pretty in them.
- I don’t think I’ll ever grow up. And some day I’ll be 100% comfortable in my zone.
- My house is filled with so many books, I barely have space for myself. I’m in danger of being overthrown.
- I actually dislike talking about myself. 🙂
Here are my answers to the questions posted by Miss Elaineous:
Q1. Your favorite book:
Autobiography of a Yogi. I had seen this book many times before in book shops and never felt the urge to skim or purchase. It struck me as one of those books meant for yogis or fledgling mystics, going purely by the title. Let that be a lesson to literally never judge a book by it’s cover. After stumbling across several raving reviews , my curiosity was piqued and I eventually picked up a copy to read. I was incredibly blown away by the contents. If you thought the life of an evolved yogi was dull , think again. It’s anything but. Paramahansa Yogananda’s life story has magic, inspiration and love strewn across all it’s pages. Tis the stuff of candy-coated and multicoloured dreams.
Q2. The most memorable outing/expedition/trip/journey you’ve been to.
Chiang Mai in Thailand, last weekend. I got a blessing from a Buddhist monk, learnt how to cook Pad Thai, discovered the roots to my most deepest fears. My outlook on life has been turned 180 degrees on it’s head and I hope I never look back.
Q3. Your favorite place in the whole world.
I’m pretty partial to Thailand these days.
Q4. Would you rather undertake a journey by rail, car, air or sea and why?
I’ve travelled a lot by air and by car. Rail and/or Sea are next.
Q5. Tea or coffee?
Coffee hands down! 🙂 I love having a weekend morning cuppa at the local Indian joint called Saravana Bhavan. It’s a very special type of coffee called “filter coffee” unique to the Southern region of India. A perfect blend of sweetness and bitterness and packed with enough punch to kickstart sleepy nerve endings. I know there are a lot of Starbucks and Costa afficionados out there. No offence guys. Filter coffee holds pride of place in my heart. Nothing truly compares and to each his own.
Q6. Your favorite movie Or Three.
It’s tough picking one from so many of the great movies out there.
Q7. Cats or Dogs?
I once lived with an aunt who had a menagerie of cats, dogs, kittens, puppies and one squirrel. It’s like having a family with different personalities. It’s true that cats are not outwardly as affectionate as dogs are but they are incredibly fantastic listeners. And they listen with a certain detached poise and grace. But there’s nothing like dogs for loud , messy and exuberant loving.
Q8. Favorite superhero and why?
There was a cartoon that used to air on TV in the 80’s called Rainbow Brite featuring a little girl protagonist of the same name. According to the blurb , ” she is the main source of light and color of the planet earth, as it is her job to make everything beautiful”. Pretty much sums it up I think. I’m not sure if I’ve outgrown her now, but yeah it was magic for a while.
Q9. Favorite website.
When I find one I really like, I’ll post it on here for sure.
Q10. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to change the world for the better. An Urban Mystic’s blog is one small step hopefully in the right direction.
Q11. If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
Anything that caused large scale destruction to innocent people and life on planet earth.
And finally( drum rolls please)! Here are a few blogs that I’m nominating for the Leibster Award. Stay tuned as remaining 7 spots to be filled very soon 🙂
These are the questions for my nominees:
- How would you describe your blog (in 50 words or less).
What inspires you to keep writing.
If you were marooned on an island for 10 days and had a choice of 1 person to be with, who would you pick and why?
Your favourite book.
What do you think really makes the world go round.
Your opinion of my blog 🙂 ( had to sneak that in)
- Your idea of a great date.
- Do you get stressed ever and how do you work it out.
- What are your thoughts on reincarnation.
- What do you think is your best quality.
- And what do you think we can do more of to make the world a more beautiful place.
Good luck, congratulations and have fun!