Search This Blog

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why Meditate? Pema Chodron’s Thoughts

Aloha Everyone,
As we study meditation together, it is inevitable that you would want to know “Why meditate?”  I hope Pema Chodron’s explanation will help you understand the reason for meditation.  Pema Chodron is a resident teacher at Gampo Abbey, Caper Breton, Nova Scotia, the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners.
Source: The Pocket Pema Chodron
Author:  Pema Chodron
Why meditate? (Entry 6)
Why do we meditate?  That is a question we’ll be wise to ask.  Why would we ever bother to spend time along with ourselves?  First of all, it is helpful to understand that meditation is not just about feeling good.  To think that this is why we meditate is to set ourselves up for failure.  We’ll assume we  are doing it wrong almost every time we sit down even the most settled mediator experience psychological and physical pain.  Meditation takes us just as we are, with our confusion and our sanity.  This complete acceptance of ourselves as we are is called maitri, or unconditional friendliness, a simple, direct relationship with the way we are.
Namaste — Cathi

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dao Yin Longevity Self Massage

Aloha Everyone,
Here is an outline of Dao Yin Longevity Self Massage we practiced this week.  The primary benefits are towards the kidney and the brain, but it also strengthens the body, bones, teeth, and knees
Sit in a chair or crossed legged on the floor
Exercise 1:
Warm up your hand – palms down on your thighs, massage the top, sides of your thighs – 18 times
Exercise 2:
Place your hands over your lower dantien (lower belly area), left hand over your right.  Rub back and forth side ways count back and forth cycle as one.  Visualize a yellow, glowing sun in your lower dantien.  Place both hands on your dantien and take a couple of long deep breaths.  Repeat 18 times.
Exercise 3:
Leave your left hand on your belly, bring the right hand behind on the base of your spinal column, massage clock-wise 18 times over your sacrum.  Keep both hands and take a few long deep breaths
Exercise 4:
Bring both hands to the kidney areas, using back of your hand, in and down, out and up, circular motion.  Massage 18 times.  When finished, press your hands firmly at the kidney areas for a few long deep breaths
Exercise 5:
Bring your hands up to the ears.  Cover your ears by cupping them gently.  Put your middle fingers over your index fingers then using these two fingers flick or tap on the base of your skull, your hand should be directly on your skin and not on your hair.  Repeat 18 times, you should hear echoing sound.  This releases any bottleneck of chi that is stuck at the base of the skull.
Exercise 6:
Left hand goes to the lap, cupped palms up.  Right hand to the top of your head, rub the top of your head with index and middle fingers still engaged in a circular motion.  Repeat 18 times.
Exercise 7:
Bring left hand over right hand, click your teeth (18 times).  Roll your eyes and tongue at the same time (behind your teeth) mouth maybe closed.  9 times in one direction then reverse direction 9 times.  Your eyes may be closed.  If you have saliva in the mouth, visualize this as moon light nectar; swallow down to join the bright yellow sun in the dantien.
Exercise 8:
Bring your knee up on your thigh.  Circular rub of knees and your feet to activate the kidney channel (18 times one direction, change direction and go 18 times).  Switch knees and repeat the same amount.  Visualize warm, sun-like chi circulating throughout your body.
Relax, enjoy the effect of the daoyin longevity self-massage.  For more advanced students, increase by each exercise in increments of 9.  For example, 9 times, 18 times, 27 times, 36 times, 45 times etc.
Namaste — Cathi

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Standing Yoga Poses

Aloha Everyone,

This week, we practiced the following standing poses:

1)  Tadasana – Mountain Pose
2)  Tadasana Urdhva Hastasana – Mountain Pose with arms stretched up
3)  Tadasana Urdhva Baddha Hastasana – Mountain Pose with arms bound and stretched up
4)  Tadasana Paschima Baddha Namaskar – Mountain Pose with Bound arms – holding opposite arms in your back just above the elbows
5)  Tadasana Paschima Namaskar – Mountain Pose with Namaste Hands – in your back
6)  Tadasana Gomukhasana – Mountain Pose with hands held in the shape of a “cow’s face”

If are unable to connect your hands in your back, use a yoga belt or thin towel to hold onto.
Namaste — Cathi

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pranayama – Bellows Breath, Breath of Fire, and Kapalbhati

Aloha Everyone,
Last week Thursday Jan 3rd we did a series of pranayama.  For those of you who asked me about them, here is a quick summary:
1.    Bhastrika Pranayama (also known as Bellows Breath) – for energy and power
Close fists by your shoulders
Raise arms up, open palms and inhale
Bring arms down, close fists and exhale
Even breath
Start gentle and slow for 30 second
Increase speed and intensity and practice for 1 minutes, 3 minutes and work up to 5 minutes
Benefits – Good for diabetes, depression, improves digestive system, helps promote good health and natural weight loss
2.   Breath of Fire
Rest your hands on your lap
Even inhalation and exhalation from your nose
Start 1 minutes gentle breathing, then increase intensity and work up to 3 minutes then to 5 minutes
Benefits – oxygenates your blood, helps the body detoxify itself, builds lung capacity, generates heat, and increases your energy level
3.  Kapalbhati Pranayama – this is one of my favorites and you can do this anywhere
Hands in Gyan mudra
Exhale sharply, inhale recoil
4 Long and deep breathing
5 counts inhale
5 counts retain your breath
5 counts exhale
Benefits – Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra) – Improves lung capacity, blood circulation
Naval Chakra (Manipura Chakra) improves digestive systems, elimination fights diabetes.
Consistent practice this pranayama also helps fight obesity, reduce abdominal fat.  Purges emotional blockages and increases the flow of prana and Kundalini Skakti.
Remember this is your practice so DON’T OVER DO IT.  Listen to your body.
Namaste — Cathi