People think Yoga means always standing on your head or doing some pose. But the aim of yoga is to calm the mind. That's why it's called Integral Yoga, because we integrate everything; mind, body, and spirit.     ~Sri Swami Satchidananda

Archive for the ‘Soul’ Category

Transitioning into Fall and the Doshas

September 5th, 2012by Michelle Muttart

Hari Om,

 

The fall and winter months often prove to be more difficult to handle for some and for others they sail through what they’ll often refer to as their ‘favorite time of year’.  I fall into the first category often beginning to struggle sometime during the transition into fall.

 

For many years I wrestled with seasonal depression.  Of course, in my younger, more naïve years I’d visit my family physician and start taking an anti-depressant.  That never ended well.  Once yoga philosophy came into my life and I learned about Ayurveda I realized that what was actually happening was an imbalance in the elements that composed my body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the transition out of Summer (Pitta) and into Fall (Vata) began I would usually have more fire energy in my body but it didn’t take long to swoop right into having too much air, the result was feeling cold, restless, anxious, indecisive, my body hurt, my stomach would swing from constipation or dysentery, I would feel irritated and loose my temper, I’d overeat or not eat enough, and soon I would be sleeping too much causing fatigue and ultimately depression.

 

Through an analysis I learned that my body is made of a lot of air with ether (Vata), equal fire with water (Pitta), and a smaller amount of water with Earth (Kapha pronounced Ka-Pa).  More importantly, there were actions I could take to help improve how I felt.

 

What I now change or implement at the beginning of fall:

 

  • Eat warm foods like soup, stews, and casseroles
  • Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables especially rooted ones to help keep me grounded
  • Not eating frozen, processed foods, or cooling foods like melons, cucumbers, or grapes
  • Not using ice in my drinks and drinking more hot teas and warm water with lemon
  • Doing yoga everyday and meditating more often
  • Travelling to warmer climates whenever I can
  • Eliminating things that cause me to move at a hectic pace, doing less and nurturing myself more
  • Coconut oil massage and moisturizing with it daily, even eating it
  • Adding more omega 3 to my diet
  • Adding spices to my foods that help warm me from the inside out (in moderation)
  • Soaking in the sunlight whenever I can
  • Wearing warm clothing to ensure that I’m comfortable, opting for layers

 

 

 

Many things stimulate the Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.  The saying is true; “Like attracts like,” and I am no different.  We all are naturally attracted to what speaks to us most, good or bad.  To further understand the Doshas, I’ll tell you a little more about how they work in my life.

 

My Vata expresses by:

 

  • Exploring mystical ideas
  • Creative pursuits
  • Having many pursuits
  • Being somewhat thin and of low weight
  • Having small teeth and eyes
  • Loving change and travel
  • Dry skin
  • Exploring spirituality
  • Loving warm weather and sunlight
  • Sensitivities to noise
  • Getting restless at times
  • Joints that pop often
  • Under stress my body hurts
  • Loving to counsel or teach

 

My Pitta expresses equally by:

 

  • Often striving for perfection
  • Sometimes having digestive issues
  • Having lots of moles
  • Having owned my own business
  • A slight athletic build
  • Having equal proportions
  • Color coordinating my closet
  • Working well under pressure
  • Sensitivities to heat
  • Loving be next to the lake or ocean
  • A love of learning
  • Getting irritated at times

 

My Kapha expresses too by:

 

  • Having blue eyes and blonde hair
  • Having softness physically (no six-pack here, Kapha is a voluptuous creature!)
  • Get melancholy at times
  • Allergies in the spring
  • Wanting to help others
  • Not liking to be rushed by others
  • Feeling a connection to nature
  • Sensitivities to smells
  • Cold, damp weather bothers me

 

You might see similar characteristics in each list and that in natural.  We are all made of all three Doshas; it’s the amount of each one that varies for the individual.  Once you realize what you are made of, you can learn to lean more to what really balances you and not just what feels best, because sometimes what seems right isn’t always.  Sometimes we have to look at the whole picture.

 

I realized that some of the things causing chaos for me were things that ‘society’ said were normal.  I pushed through for many years, but in yoga we are taught not to push but to look for the path of least resistance.   I found that I couldn’t participate in the normal and remain balanced.  I had to make some major lifestyle adjustments in order to honor my family and myself more.

 

One of the things I chose to do was to take my children out of public school and bring them home.  I realized several years ago that the change into the school year made the pace of which our family flowed turn into a type of stress vortex! Between the schedule, work, homework, and sports we were all tapped out by the end of the day and there was no time for any of us to nourish ourselves.  Sometimes it would be weeks before we had a chance to balance.

 

Not finding time for balance results in dis-ease; so some major changes had to be made.  The result has been rewarding.  It wasn’t easy, however, we are beginning to see the fruits of our labor now.  Each change we make brings us closer to where we need to be, a place of perfect health and peace.  A place where our spirit can remain connected with those closest to us, to others who need us, to ourselves, and most importantly, to our source.

 

Honor yourself this fall and make the changes big or small!

 

Namaste.

 

If you or a loved one are interested in having your own analysis, I will be scheduling appointments now through Oct. 1 for a discounted price of $55. Please see the services page for a detailed description.

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The Tree and Roots of Avidya

February 5th, 2012by Michelle Muttart

In talking with many people who are on a path of growth I get the opportunity to witness; witness their walk and turn inward to witness my own. When we step back, sometimes we can see the error of our ways and with guidance learn a more positive approach. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras teaches about the concept of avidya. Let’s look at what avidya is and how it plays a part in our lives.

 

What is Avidya?

 

Avidya literally means “incorrect understanding”. The opposite is vidya or “correct understanding”. Avidya in some ways is the characteristics and habits that we develop because of our life experiences. For example, say a friend falls to the ground and we extend a hand to help them up and they smack it. We would be confused, maybe even hurt or angry. But they are our friend and so we reach out again, but again they smack our hand. In fact each time we try to help them we get the same result. Eventually, we no longer offer assistance to them with a fear of what may happen.

 

Let’s move forward a month and another friend slips and falls. Will we help them? By this point, it will at the very least cross our mind that we could be slapped again. Of course we want to help, but our past experiences tell us we may not get the result we hope for and in fact we may be hurt in the process. We may even replay the event in our mind so much that we become traumatized and decide never to help anyone who falls. This is avidya.

 

Asmita


Avidya is like a tree and it’s sometimes easier to recognize the branches. The first branch is asmita or the “ego”. Asmita makes us think we need to be the best, the fastest, the coolest, the richest, the prettiest, the skinniest, and so on.

 

Raja


The second branch is raja. Raja is demanding. For example, Sue went shopping for furniture and found a table she’s been looking for and was so happy and excited to have something new for her house. Today, Sue wakes up and wants to go again, get something else. Even though she may not need anything and it may not be good for her budget, she wants to feel good like she did yesterday. This is raja.

 

Dvesa


Next is Dvesa. In a way, it’s opposite of raja. Dvesa is when we reject things. When we no longer help a fallen friend because we are afraid we will get hurt again, like our example. We may even reject things that are unfamiliar even if we have no reason. We reject people, thoughts, places, and things because of what we relate to them or because we can’t relate to them.

 

Abhinivesa

 

Last is abhinivesa or fear. Fear affects us more than we realize. In our society it’s best to blend, to be part of the norm, to do what is expected. When we express ourselves in a way that is individual or different we have doubts. These doubts can be about our jobs, relationships, about being judged, about our looks and the aging process, and so on. Think about the amount of doubt that goes through your mind on a daily basis. Thoughts This is abhinivesa.

 

Roots

 

Just like a tree, avidya grows. It may be slow and subtle then before we realize it the roots have overtaken and we are immersed in negative thoughts and fears, not thinking clearly because avidya is like a cloud over our eyes. At that point, we are living in an illusion and cannot see the truth. This can be in a single are of life or many.

 

Yoga Helps!

The good news is yoga helps us to see. It helps to remove the cloud by practicing the philosophy. The practice teaches that what happened yesterday is not guaranteed for today. If yesterday was great and I want it all over again or if it was bad and I never want it again. Today is a new day and with this day we are renewed and all of our experiences are new.

 

Practice

 

Take time this week to see what you cling to and what you reject. See what branches of avidya are creeping into the garden of your mind, body, and your spirit. Acknowledge it, then begin the process of letting go by allowing yourself to feel how you feel, accepting it. Next, move your awareness into the body and see where the roots are on a more physical level, imagine them unrooting and releasing in whatever way that unfolds.

Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih

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Heart of a Yogi

November 20th, 2011by Michelle Muttart

Dualism. We’ve heard the word and it’s often mentioned somewhere along the course of our yogic journey. Personally, I am working on understanding dualism versus non-dualism and where there ideas merge, is where it seems to resonate for me.   As with most books I’m led to, it has to be read at the right moment in my experience, this one is a definite. I found this online today and the excerpt almost brought me to tears, it’s the most simplistic explanation I’ve found, as simple as it can be anyway! 🙂 The good news is either way that appeals to you, dualistic or non-dualistic, yoga is the answer!

“Yoga is a union in which we are reunited with our own joy, and tells us that that joy is an elevated and abiding spiritual state, our true home.”

Namaste.

Yoga and Dualism from Heart of a Yogi by Doug Keller

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Release Fear and Realize the Dream

May 16th, 2011by Michelle Muttart

Dream

 

How do we manifest great things in our life? Sometimes we don’t understand how to begin such a process. I begin with a vision, this vision begins in Chitakasha. Chitakasha is the dark space behind the eyelids or the forehead where we often see visualizations right before we fall asleep, this is the place we visualize unconscious thoughts.

 

It is often in this place that we find our inspiration.  Many successful people will tell you they thought of their world changing ideas in meditation.  Why? Because we are tapped into our true potential in this state, we are open to the creative flow of energy and allow our deepest desires to lift into conscious awareness.

 

From Thought to Form

 

We can decide what we want to see for our future. Every image in our mind has an energy or vibration attached to it. This energy can actually permeate the physical body and extend into a higher state where the image manifests into a tangible form.

 

Have you ever thought of someone and then the phone rang and they were on the other end? This is a great example of how we visualize something and the vibration or energy in us is released, connecting to the upper layers of ourselves which connects to something greater or a higher consciousness. That something greater or higher consciousness is connected to the person we are thinking of. The energy is sent out along the connective lines, reaching the other person and they begin to think of you.

 

My first experience with this connection was when I was a young child playing outside my grandmother’s house. Someone had given me a heart shaped tigers’ eye pendant. For some reason I thought it was for making wishes. There was a little boy in the neighborhood who I thought was cute and admittedly I had a crush on. This particular day I was rubbing the pendant wishing whole heartedly for the boy to come outside to play. Sure enough he came out and I got my wish! I remember thinking there was something to this idea of wishing.

 

We’ve all heard the expression, “be careful what you wish for”. Can you manifest negative? Yes. It can work in the opposite way. We can manifest our fears and what we don’t want just as easily. There are times that negative thoughts or visions consume our mind. When we don’t control our thoughts we risk the possibility of creating a negative outcome or reaction in our lives. The Secret teaches not to think of what you don’t want because you’ll get it, the universe doesn’t compute no or not. So it’s best to be careful what we think about, what we wish for and what ideas or thoughts we put our energy into. Swami Satchidananda says it clearly in his book The Golden Present, “Pain has no interest in coming to you unless you have invited it.” We often fail to realize that we have brought the negative upon ourselves.

 

Visualize
So we get a glimpse of the positive future idea or vision then often find it hard to hold onto. We easily get sucked back into the negative thought patterns.  This where the practice of yoga and meditation comes in, to strengthen and learn how to control the mind instead of being controlled by it. There are other tools such as vision boards, sometimes having a picture to relate to can help us realize our greatest goal, idea, or potential. Sankalpa is another great tool, using the same sankalpa or intention during our yoga practice and holding it with our hearts deepest yearning and desire creates that positive vibration but also releases it. Eventually the sankalpa will manifest, (it is promised not to fail you).

 

Dream, Visualize, Manifest

 

 

Sometimes we have to do the work. Get up and do something! Take one small action in the direction of your desire or goal. When I visualized opening a studio there was a point where I had to not only heed the signs that I believed were pushing me in the right direction but I had to commit to the dream by taking action. Investing in the outcome that I longed for and initiating hours of hard work to bring the dream to fruition. How many of us or someone we know have brilliant ideas but never realize any of them. Release the fear, realize the dream! Once the first step is completed we find confidence and begin to see what we are capable of.  This can be the turning point in our lives to creating the upmost positive reality.

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