The Awakening of Waking Up Early

(As published on Elephant Journal as a “Featured Wellness” and “Featured Yoga” Article and in the “Popular Lately” section)

One of the greatest gifts I have received from the great art and science of Ayurveda is connecting with the abundant blessings of nature early each morning. Ayurveda is all about restoring our harmony with nature. In Ayurveda, we understand “nature” as both the macrocosm (the wider world we inhabit), and the microcosm (our internal world of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations). Ayurveda teaches us that we are eternally connected to one another and to our universe at large. Therefore, in understanding our innermost nature, we can gain a deeper understanding of the nature of the world around us. Continue reading

Freedom Is…

Freedom is:

the sweet song of a mockingbird

speaking truth to power

with the lightness and grace of a flower

flowing with love, hour after hour

Freedom is:

a state of mind

that is kind

and one in which I find

no room or reason for a bind

Freedom is:

the dawn of each new day

waking up with a spirit of play

as if to say

Hey!

Life is what you make of it.

You can read more about freedom from the following posts: The Dance of Freedom, The Lotus Blooms and Prisoner of My Mind.

‘Becoming the Change:’ The Practice of Liberation

Habitual patterns of the mind were a strong theme of the Wednesday meditation session I attended last week. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said,

“Sow a thought and reap an action

Sow an act and reap a habit

Sow a habit and reap a character

Sow a character and reap a destiny.”

The core of the yoga and meditation practices is arguably the work we do to purify and thereby transform what are called samskaras in Sanskrit, or sankaras in Pali (the ancient language of Gautama the Buddha). These samskaras are like habits, in that they constitute the accumulated impressions – scientifically speaking, the neuron patterns – that determine our character, ways of thinking and behaving and overall outlook on and approach to life.

I like Yoga Journal writer and meditation teacher Sally Kempton’s interpretation of samskaras as “some scars.” Kempton describes samskaras as energy patterns in the consciousness, mental grooves that are like rivulets in sand that allow water to run in specific patterns. She often talks about how samskaras create our ‘default’ mental, physical and emotional settings. The thought “I can’t do this” when faced with a new challenge is a negative samskara that can be replaced by the confidence you feel when you finally master something that was initially challenging. Continue reading