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Archive for January, 2008


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 shavasana.jpg
Author:  Stacy Kamala Waltman
Written:  January 8, 2008

Depending upon one’s dexterity, there are many yoga postures which are considered to be beyond our current physical capacity like the sitting position of Full Lotus or the flexibility and strength required in the yogic posture of Pincha Mayurasana – Forearm Stand.

Aside from yoga, if I asked you where you experienced your current greatest life challenge you might respond, “Getting everything accomplished!”, “Finding time to relax” “Getting to sleep” “Handling all of my varied responsibilities” or “Letting Go”.

For those of us who aren’t suffering from insomnia, we may remember how to sleep but many have lost the art of how to truly rest.

For some, it takes great effort to resist turning on the television, and, once it’s spiraling on, can become even harder to turn off.  We are often mesmerized by its constant promises of entertainment as time drains away from other more nourishing pursuits.

In this day and age of over-exertion, over-extension, a coffee hut on every corner and media over-stimulation, relaxation has been pushed aside.  Replaced by activity and consumed by the effort, we think ourselves lazy if we aren’t busy.  Our authenticity often becomes lost in forward moving, frenetic activity just for movement’s sake.

We are a highly adaptive species: what was once “normal” in life morphs and evolves over time becoming our new standard and sometimes we can forget what life was like before our new habits took hold.  Wisdom too is lost if we don’t pause to notice our current state of being.

Shavasana, The Corpse Pose – a mental and physical equivalent to deep relaxation, is often the most difficult yoga position for newcomers.  It is the least physically challenging posture in the spectrum of yoga positions because we don’t have to do anything with our bodies other than sink deep into our being. 

In Shavasana the mind quiets down; the body leans into itself and the internal organs begin to unwind.  When comfortable in this pose, breathing slows and stress begins to evaporate.  The body’s natural healing powers rise as we surrender to a higher wisdom.

Students who practice Yoga Nidra or deep relaxation in shavasana begin to relish the cumulative benefits of this restorative and rejuvenative practice.  As our mind becomes calmer, it is easier to meditate and we notice that fewer mistakes are being made throughout our work day.  We feel better.  Our sleep is richer.  The capacity for kindness expands.  It becomes easier to make decisions due to our mental clarity, and we feel more connected to Source.

The Corpse Pose can be mentally challenging though – our mind can trick us into thinking we should be doing something because striving is what our psyche knows.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if we are experiencing a great deal of stress in our lives or if we are interested in keeping stress at bay, it is imperative to find the time every day for deep relaxation and just a few minutes a day isn’t enough to provide the stress reducing benefits of yoga nidra. For a clearer, less stressed body, mind and spirit, fifteen minutes of deep relaxation a day is best for optimal health.

In a pinch, daydreaming can also be used as a relaxation technique; however, with daydreaming, our mind is still engaged, whereas in Shavasana, our mind is quiet and we connect at a deeper level to our true nature.

As a precursor to meditation, deep relaxation also provides relief from headaches, reduces body pain, improves concentration, balances emotions, eliminates insomnia, lowers blood pressure, reduces fatigue, improves bowl function, eases depression and anxiety.  The quality of observing without judging is also developed in a yoga nidra/deep relaxation practice allowing us to remain a witness rather than a follower to, unconsious and habitual thoughts.

How often do you daydream?  When do you truly and deeply relax?  The Mayo Clinic recommends a daily practice of deep relaxation.  Yogi’s do too.  Turn down your mind and turn up the quiet with yoga nidra/deep relaxation. 

For more information on yoga nidra and deep relaxtion with Stacy, please visit:  http://www.integrationcoaching.com/YogaNidra.html

Copyright © 2008 (Stacy Kamala Waltman)

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 Kamala as the lotus flower

Lotus Nectar

Author:  Stacy Kamala Waltman

My intention for the week was to feel replenished and to fill up my depleted reserves with the juice of the universe so that when I coached and as I lived, I would be of service rather than just going through motions, half asleep. 

Invitations to do other things tempted; a trip here, a party there but I was determined to re-claim my strength and fill up with nectar by hibernating like a winter bear.

When juicy – full of life – I am more courageous – more eccentric and self directed, lighthearted, authentic, clear headed, kind, inspiring and fun. 

Self management, quieting the mind with the ability to manage my biases and predispositions enabling me to really listen and capture nuances is easier when I’m “full of it”.  Authentic with nectar in a chalice overflowing, filled to the brim with juice. 

The much anticipated week would consist of fasting, walking, meditating, sleeping and reading.  How delicious it would be to sink into hushed time – turning down the mind and turning up the quiet.  It would be a treat to take a respite from activity.

We can spend whole days, weeks and even months not touching the actual earth.  In shoes and on concrete, in buildings and in cars, on asphalt and watching television, the connection of our bodies to the raw dirt and the hum of earth’s pulse remain shrouded.

The week began chilly and beginning my fast made me even colder.  Sleep was the best I could do – deep rich luxurious sleep and an occasional meditation or two.  The IPod vibrating a tamboura’s hum very softly in the background, day and night as it always does, reminding me of our primordial sound.

My energy slowly returned with the sun after a couple of days as a bear and I embarked on a most luscious trail, walking – barefoot (as any bear would) – the ground warm.  Sometimes velvety, sometimes sandy, here it is gravely, there it’s damp – the earth presented itself differently every few feet. 

Contributing to a mosaic of beauty that is whimsical, each traveler on this road has left their footprints and some have also left beautiful rock art creations.  Different shapes, styles, stones and textures add a gauzy breath of air to the sage infused smells all around. 

Some are perfectly smooth rock; some are covered with sparkles, multi colored stones with intricate patterns and some are wonderfully opaque.  Large, small, jagged and round they are all so varied it is hard to imagine that they all come from this one area.  Awful!  (Look up the meaning of this word)

Hummingbirds darting so tiny and magnificent with their winged hum providing a backdrop of bird song cadences.  So utterly beautiful and powerful in its sweetness and I gave thanks to God. 

Noticing that this walk was not a work out – it was more important than that, it was a walk of joy.

What do you give God in return for all of the goodness she gives?  God is and has everything.  What do you give this entity that has everything?

Ahhhhh….Huuuummmmmm…

I can give thanks and in the full feeling of thankfulness and the complete allowing and receiving of this divine energy, I am honoring God. 

Giving thanks.  Thanks Giving.  That is what I can give.

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