30 Days of Gratitude – Day 6

Aside

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 6

I left Humboldt County in the early evening yesterday and drove through the night to be with my family at a funeral this morning.  (16.5 hour total trip.)

Today I am grateful..:

1-10: for SLEEP!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 5

Aside

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 5

Today I am grateful…:

1. I woke up feeling very hungry. I am grateful that organic, whole foods are readily available and that chronic hunger is not my daily experience.
2. that my son is healthy and has access to clean water, sanitation, health care and education with no struggle on my part. I feel for the mamas and papas who must raise their children in refugee camps or in the midst of war.
3. for forests and trees. Specifically redwood forests. Thank you redwood folk for holding onto the pre-industrial memories and providing a haven on the far northern coast.
4. I am still grateful for my job. I really love Om Shala Yoga.
5. that in a few days I will be immersed in the fun of a Kids’ Yoga Teacher Training with Jodi Komitor & Next Generation Yoga.
6. that my best friend Giselle Rezai found love with a guy that is everything I want for her and she is happily planning her wedding.
7. that I live one block form the Arcata Marsh. It’s inspiring that what once was a large landfill dubbed “Mt. Trashmore” is now a sanctuary and marshland for hundreds of bird species along the Pacific Flyway.
8. for peacemakers and visionaries and their willingness to travel a hard road against the current to create positive change.
9. for the classmates who came over last night for a study group and dinner and washed all my dishes before they left.
10. Allison Pals & Amy Day. These women (and new friends) really made my heart smile this week.  Thank you.

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 4

Aside

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 4

Vanilla Beans!

Today I am grateful…:

  1. for right now. Today. This moment. No need to start over, go back or move forward. NOW. As I write this here.
  2. that I got to visit with my Uncle Mike/Carlos in January before he passed away this week.
  3. that I can be in LA for Mike’s funeral & the birth of my brother’s 2nd child because I was already heading down for a Kids’ Yoga Teacher Training.
  4. for Breath — bringing me back to HERE. I forget so often.
  5. for the outpouring of love from the people around me.
  6. for my body – that right now I get to be in skin, trying out the shape and feel of asanas, the warmth of good deep hugs and the smile inducing satisfaction of delicious whole foods on the tongue.
  7. for access to information and the abundance of inspiring articles, books and recordings on living well: health, spirituality meditation, yoga, ALL OF IT!
  8. for warm showers and the delicious feeling of jojoba oil and vanilla on freshly bathed skin.
  9. for the tribe of amazing, strong, beautiful women that I have met through Om Shala. They inspire me daily and provide direction by living example.
  10. Giselle Rezai. The best-est friend I could ask for. We’ve seen each other through so much in the past 13 years.  I am blessed to claw, scream, cry, laugh, grow and shine alongside her.

(+1) Today.  Being alive. Doing it. Yes! 🙂

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 3

Aside

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 3

Today I am grateful for:

1. friends that randomly say “i love you.” yay!
2. running water – mine was turned off today (back on tomorrow) and i realize how fortunate i am to have clean water coming out of a tap ON DEMAND!
3. Emily Trutt‘s Vinyasa flow. So so good.
4. that I live in a community that embraces my son with wide open hearts and arms.
5. sweating all my toxins out in the sauna alongside impromptu healing conversations about deep personal work
6. dusky footed wood rats and the fossilized plant records contained in their middens
7. the endless patience and forgiveness my son has for my fallibility
8. people who work with children – and love every minute of it — thank you.
9. Albert Einstein and the abundance of written revelations he left behind.
10. the opportunity to go to India!!!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 2

Aside

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 2

Today I am grateful for:

1. health and a strong able body
2. memories of big sky on the Arizona desert and the sunset kissed ridge-lines of the Klamath-Siskyu Wilderness.
3. my heart – full of love, hurt, warmth, and fear but most of all courage to keep leading the way. Peter Sardelich, thank you for handing me a road map and compass when I was a lost young traveler.
4. raw cashews and avocados. One word: YUM!
5. time spent with my biological father and my family (on his side) – it’s soul food for me sometimes to hear Spanish and feel Mexican on the inside.
6. layers of warm blankets and a comfortable, dry, mold-free space to cozy up to sleep at night – many go without each night.
7. time. We still got it! And here we are breathing together. What a celebration!
8. the plant folk that are right now assisting my body to cleanse.
9. white sage and the magical ability of its burning leaves to drop me right into spirit.
10. Topanga Canyon.  I miss you and I love that there’s this little slice of oak woodland atop the Santa Monica Mountains that will always feel like home.

Feel free to add your own gratitude to the list. ♥

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 1

Aside

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 1

Feeling super grateful and inspired – Bodhi & I committed to 40 minutes of meditation (15 for him) for 40 days along with others from around the world participating in the Winter Feast For The Soul. Spurred by wonder woman Lori Snyder, I am going to be journaling 10 things I am thankful for each day for the remaining 30 days of the soul feast.

Today I am grateful..:

1. that i have this beautiful little man sleeping in the bed in the next room – i love him with all of my ♥
2. for all i have learned in my connection with Seth Hadaway. I like who he is and our bond has forced my heart to grow and heal and get stronger and softer all at the same time.
3. for Peggy Profant and all the inner riches her friendship has nurtured within me.
4. for the Universal Principles of Alignment! Yoga ROCKS!
5. to work at such and amazing place as Om Shala Yoga. 🙂
6. for healing conversations with people i care for – getting through discomfort and difficulty to meet on the other side with love.
7. to have the luxury of resources to share these thoughts like this. We are truely privileged.
8. for meditation – and the space to drop in.
9. for the small family alter that blesses the space between bodhi’s room and mine – creating an energetic bridge and sacred container that reminds me to be soft.
10. for breath.

Feel free to add your own gratitude to the list. ♥

Asteya: The Practice of Non-Stealing

Aside

Asteya: The Practice of Non-Stealing
by: Artemisia Shine ♥ January 2011

“You are quaffing drink from a hundred fountains: whenever any of these hundred yields less, your pleasure is diminished. But when the sublime fountain gushes from within you, no longer need you steal from the other fountains.”  ~Jelal ad-Din Rumi

 

The Yamas and the Niyamas comprise two of the eight limbs of Classical Ashtanga Yoga as first written around 200CE by Patanjali Jois in the Yoga Sutras. Yama is the Sanskrit word for “abstinence” and the five Yamas are a set of external disciplines we can apply in our lives to help align more harmoniously with the Universe. Niyama translates as “observance” and the five Niyamas are a set of internal observances that help us align more fully with our highest Self.

The third Yama is Asteya, or non-stealing. We all can recognize the more palpable forms of theft and can easily refrain from pinching our neighbor’s bicycle seat or taking lunch money from the kid down the street.  It is the more intangible ways we rob from others and ourselves that require active discipline.

Stealing may not crop up in the more obvious forms of shoplifting or credit card fraud but may lurk in the deeper recesses of our minds. Do you secretly long for another’s job, lifestyle, relationship or physical form? These lusts are stealing your happiness and sense of contentment not to mention pilfering the present moment. Look within for riches and find fulfillment in your internal wealth rather than looking beyond yourself for satisfaction. This will moderate excessive desire for objects coveted by the senses — ideas, effects, energetic attention from others, status, power, or recognition. Practice asteya by recognizing the gifts you already possess. As Carl Jung asserts, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Cultivate the patience, strength and courage to bring your inner dreams to life!

Do you sometimes wish you had the hamstrings of the girl on the mat next to you when her forehead gently kisses her ankles in Paschimottanasana? Where the mind goes, the attention flows. Practice Asteya in every asana. Focusing on your limitations robs you from reveling in the beauty of the divine manifestation of life that is expressed through your unique form.

Are you regularly behind schedule for appointments or commitments? Do you arrive after class has already started or hold your yoga students for a few extra minutes of savasana?  When we are late we are stealing time from others.  Take a critical look at what is behind this chronic lateness. Could you be clinging to every moment, trying to wring all that you can from life? Are you packing too much into your day? This is a form of hoarding – insatiability collecting stolen moments for the fear of being in lack.  Hoarding is a form of theft. Asteya proscribes respect for the time and energy of others.

Have you taken a look at your ecological footprint lately? Granted we live in an industrialized nation, but do your consumption patterns border on over-indulgence? What is your fair share? Take a moment to bring mindfulness to your next shopping trip, be it at the local grocery store or retail center. Is that purchase extracting clean water, livable wages, health or ecological diversity from another? Can you meet your needs without deleteriously impacting the needs of others?

There is no need to steal.  Trust that all you truly need is present in the universe and available to you.  It is written in Yoga Sutra 2.37 “When one is established in refrainment from stealing, all jewels manifest.”

~ Artemisia Shine

Satya: The Art of Truth

Aside

Satya: The Art of Truth
by: Artemisia Shine ♥ November 2011

“I AM IGNORANT of absolute truth. But I am humble before my ignorance and therein lies my honor and my reward.”  – Khalil Gibran

 

The Yamas and the Niyamas comprise two of the eight limbs of Classical Ashtanga Yoga as first written around 200CE by Patanjali Jois in the Yoga Sutras. Yama is the Sanskrit word for “abstinence” and the five Yamas are a set of external disciplines we can apply in our lives to help align more harmoniously with the Universe. Niyama translates as “observance” and the five Niyamas are a set of internal observances that help us align more fully with our highest Self.

The second Yama is Satya. Sat is the sansrit root word for “being” or “existence.”   Satya is the observance of truthfulness – with ourselves, with others, in our thoughts, words and actions.  To practice Satya is to place oneself in alignment with reality as it truly is, beyond the illusions of our ego-mind, desires, biases and false perceptions.

Satya is a practice of speaking the truth and abstaining from non-truths.  Non-truths encompass slanderous comments, gossip, and malicious thoughts or actions. When we act in ways untruthful, we are shrouding our divine nature.  When a friend acts in a way you don’t enjoy do you flippantly claim, “I don’t care. It’s cool.”  Do you play strong, cool and detached while harboring resentment for quite some time? When a baby is upset, it shares an instant and honest reaction and then moves on.  We could learn much about Satya by observing an infant.

Satya challenges us to seek out the essential truth of our being-ness; to reveal the essence of who we really are.  Who are you when you cease identifying with titles that only exist in the physical world? Who are you when you dispense of thoughts such as “I am a student, a single mother, a teacher, a farmer, a wildlife biologist, a child?” Who is left when you are no longer  “skilled” in one arena or “not good enough” in another?  We are each radiant expressions of the divine, the central luminous essence that is the inner-connected fabric of life. Our consciousness is way beyond our physical forms. Unhappiness comes from forgetting this fact.

Are you living in alignment with your true spiritual nature? Satya calls us to evolve our actions to bring us into harmony with our fundamental Self. Do you allow time to silence the mind and uncover your unique path of growth? Although this honest observation cause discomfort, when we practice Satya we see through “strengths” and “limitations” as simply what is, free from judgment.

When you are on the mat do you force yourself beyond the limits of your body? Does your ego throw a party when you’re in the “perfect pigeon pose?”  Albert Einstein once said, “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.” Our yoga practice serves as an opportunity to honestly dive within.

– Artemisia Shine

Ahimsa: The Art of Non-Harming

Aside

Ahimsa: The Art of Non-Harming
by: Artemisia Shine ♥ October 6, 2011

“Strictly speaking, no activity and no industry is possible without a certain amount of violence, no matter how little. Even the very process of living is impossible without a certain amount of violence. What we have to do is to minimize it to the greatest extent possible.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

The Yamas and the Niyamas comprise two of the eight limbs of Classical Yoga as first written around 200CE by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Yama is the Sanskrit word for “abstinence” and the five Yamas are a set of external disciplines we can apply in our lives to help align more harmoniously with the Universe. Niyama translates as “observance” and the five Niyamas are a set of internal observances that help us align more fully with our highest Self.

The first Yama is Ahimsa.  Himsa translates as “harm” or “to cause pain.” The “a” set before “himsa” changes the word to mean not-to cause harm or pain.  Ahimsa is the practice of non-harming – with our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes and beliefs.  Are there relationships in your life that may need further practice of ahimsa?  Do the choices you make come from a place of not causing harm? Are your thoughts about yourself injurious? Do you walk lightly on the earth?

The beautiful thing about the practice of yoga is that it is a practice. We all make mistakes and act in ways that fall outside of our ideals. Perfection is not required. At any moment we can initiate practice and apply the principle of ahimsa in our lives. We can deepen our yoga practice with each breath, continuously over time.

Ahimsa begins inside. What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? When we look around the class and compare ourselves to others, thinking things like “I should be more flexible! Why can’t my down-dog look like her down dog?!” we are really practicing self-rejection rather than yoga. When you’re on the mat, internalize ahimsa and honor and appreciate yourself just for showing up!  As we nurture a love relationship with ourselves we can more easily shine love on those around us. As we exercise this yama with our partners, children, and roommates, we reduce violence in our communities. Ahimsa goes beyond simply being kind to our neighbors and includes not causing pain in the natural world and avoiding harm to the planet.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Ahimsa is an attribute of the brave. Cowardice and ahimsa don’t go together any more than water and fire. “ For this month, lets courageously set an intention to live in ahimsa and more purposefully cultivate compassion in our lives. When you encounter violent thoughts about yourself or others, take a deep breath and say “Ahimsa” silently (or aloud) and allow this principle to subtly reset your brain.  Choose a relationship where unresolved injury has occurred and lovingly address your part.  Apply ahimsa daily with what you choose to consume and how you treat the natural and material world. The seeds of himsa can sprout and establish roots in our hearts, choking out light in our inner landscape and lessening peace in our relationships. Collectively, let’s be an agent for health and healing. Let’s cultivate wildflowers of ahimsa, tending amity with all life and the universe at large.

– Artemisia Shine