Conscious Breathing

Your breath reflects the way you feel. Take a moment here. Close your eyes and just notice your breath. Is it quick and shallow? Is it forceful? Is it characterized by long inhalations and exhalations? Don’t try to change anything, simply notice. “Self-Observation Without Judgement”, as Swami Kripalu teaches.

In the practice of yoga, we focus our attention on our breath as we move through the various postures. As we hold more difficult postures, we put even more emphasis on the breath to help us keep the postures longer. Breathing consciously can be calming and relaxing. Bringing full awareness to the breath, is also a form of meditation.

Your breath can tell you much about yourself and how you are feeling. For example, I know that when I am going through a set of strenuous moves while rock climbing, I get out of breath. The result being that as I come out of a crux (the most difficult portion of a climb) I have difficulty breathing. This is because I simply don’t breathe when I make those moves!

How is this relevant to anything? Well, for climbing or any other strenuous activity, it is very important. The body’s priority is to provide oxygen to the brain first. This means that if the body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs because you are retaining your breath, it automatically starts channeling what it has left to feed the brain leaving the muscles and the rest of the body without oxygen, making it more strenuous to move and eventually leading to hyperventilate or to faint.

And so, in daily life situations, when we get angry or nervous, if our breath becomes fast and out of control or if we restrict its flow, we quickly become physically ill. This being said, becoming more conscious of our breathing can affect positive changes in our lives. So take a deep breath, notice your posture, your heartbeat, relax and let go.

Namaste.

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Facing your fears

What is your biggest fear? What situation provokes an irrational reaction when you are faced with it? Do you run up the stairs when all the lights are turned off? Do you have difficulty expressing yourself? Do you fear others will judge you? Are you afraid of being alone, not loved? Are you afraid to trust others for the fear you might get hurt, again?

You may have a very relevant reason for this behaviour. Nonetheless, most of what we identify as fears, are irrational fears and the result of our emotional construct. Often times, these fears are carried over from past traumatic events to which we have assigned a heightened emotional response.

In some cases, we might not even be aware of it. We will react in a certain way and have strong feelings about a situation. We may feel stressed and agitated until the situation resolves itself. Our relationships with others may even be affected by it. As though a veil has been placed over our reality, we are no longer able to see the situation for what it really is.

I recently became aware of such an irrational fear I seem to have been dragging along for the past 12 years! I had never realized at which point it affected me and my relationship with others. I am not quite sure how I came about this realisation, but today I have decided to face it. I will not go into detail, as this is my own personal journey, but I will say that a higher sense of emotional awareness will inevitably result in greater well-being. Or at least, that is what I am aiming for!

Irrational fears are based on events or situations that do not exist (or no longer exist): the past… and the future in some way. Rational fear, which we could attribute to a person pointing a gun at us or a bear chasing us, you get the point, only happens in the present.

And so, if our relationships with others are always tainted by the fear that they will judge us or that they will cheat us, it will never be possible to develop meaningful relationships until we understand that we are carrying past events into our present life. We are making our future more into this past we seem to want to get away from. Just like a skipping disk (see Samskara), we are faced with the same situation to which we react the same way over and over and over. Only you can decide to get up and place the needle elsewhere and, literally, face the music.

I wish us all courage, perseverance, patience and self-confidence in exploring our most inner fears. No need to make radical changes to our life. Identify where you are starting from, as a first step, since only by knowing where you stand can you move forward.

Namaste.

Laisser aller le besoin de contrôler

Aujourd’hui, au bureau, je me suis surprise à réagir différemment que de par le passé… en fait, je me suis plutôt rendue compte que je n’ai pas réagit!

Depuis plusieurs jours, mon équipe et moi travaillions intensément sur la préparation d’une grosse initiative. Des délais très courts et de multiples heures de travail ont été consacré à peaufiner la documentation. Finalement, cet après-midi nous étions assis entrain de réviser les derniers éléments de la note d’approbation lorsque nous avons reçu un message nous informant de laisser tomber l’initiative pour le moment, la haute gestion ne semblant pas chaude à l’idée.

Lorsque j’ai parlé de retour aux vieilles habitudes que je ne voulais pas reprendre à mon retour au bureau (voir cette publication ici), et que seulement devant celles-ci il me serait possible de déterminer si le changement que je sentais s’être effectué en moi avait réellement eu lieu, je me référais à ce genre de situations. Un test.

Ma collègue fut complètement découragée, déçue et même frustrée. Ce n’est qu’après être retourné à mon bureau que je me suis rendue compte que ces sentiments ne se sont même pas manifesté pour moi. Je ne dis pas que j’ai éprouvé de la frustration puis que je me suis calmé par la suite, je n’ai pas été frustrée ou découragée même pour un instant. Je me suis surprise à accepter la situation telle qu’elle est. Certains diront qu’il s’agit d’une réaction défaitiste, je pense plutôt qu’il s’agit d’une compréhension des faits tels qu’ils sont présentés.

Souvent, en associant des sentiments d’accomplissement et en se définissant par notre travail, celui-ci devient une extension artificielle de notre Être. À ce moment, seulement par la réalisation de soi, perçu par le travail effectué et la reconnaissance acquise, pouvons nous nous sentir satisfaits. Pourtant, s’il y a un élément que nous semblons oublier dans tout ça, est que nous ne contrôlons pas le cours de la vie.

Je pense que la différence de réaction se situe donc au niveau de l’attachement émotionnel. Cela dit, en attachant trop d’espoir à des éléments, à des situations et à des personnes qui évoluent dans un contexte externe à notre Être, nous cherchons à contrôler l’incontrôlable plutôt que de laisser les choses être ce qu’elles sont vraiment. Comme ma copine Joanna le dit si bien : C’EST… Tout simplement.

La réalité est que des situations fâchantes surviennent et surviendront continuellement au cours de notre vie. La différence est qu’en n’étant pas attaché aux résultats de nos actions, nous acceptons de ne pas avoir le contrôle de la situation et, inversement, la situation ne nous contrôle pas. Par exemple, si nous effectuons un travail que pour obtenir une promotion, si nous sommes aimables seulement pour être aimer des autres, ou si nous faisons une activité physique que dans le but d’avoir un corps svelte, nous serons constamment déçu. J’imagine que cela revient à l’intention derrière les actions, mais pour ça, il s’agira d’une autre publication!

J’ai passé le test cette fois-ci, reste à voir ce que le futur me réserve! Namaste :)

Prisonnière émotionnelle

Il nous arrive tous de devenir prisonnier de nos émotions, incapable de se détacher de cette négativité. Comme femme, je pense que de devenir consciente de nos cycles hormonaux aident beaucoup, dans le sens où cela nous permet de réaliser que notre réalité est biaisée par ce voile. Pour moi, cela m’a permis d’avoir plus de contrôle sur mes émotions et d’être plus rationnelle dans mes décisions et mes pensées… mais il va s’en dire que cela n’en est pas toujours ainsi.

La difficulté est de devenir et de demeurer conscient du présent, de nos actions et de nos pensées. Avec la pratique, cela ne devient pas nécessairement plus facile, mais nous en faisons l’expérience plus fréquemment. Dans cette conscience, notre attachement à notre individualité, qui n’est en fait qu’une boule d’émotions et de pensées incessantes à laquelle nous accordons une importance au détriment de notre bonheur, fond et ne détermine plus qui nous sommes. Au lieu, la prise de conscience laisse place à qui nous sommes vraiment.

La négativité n’est jamais un processus intelligent. Lorsque nous sommes d’humeur négative, il y a quelque chose en nous qui veut et qui recherche cette négativité, qui la voit comme étant agréable, indirectement, parce qu’elle engendre et ce qu’elle oblige chez les autres. Pourtant, nous savons très bien que cela ne dure qu’un moment et que cet instant de triomphe s’estompe et nous plonge 10 pieds plus bas…

Alors, à chaque fois que nous retrouvons de la négativité en nous, si nous pouvons initialement remarquer qu’il y a quelque chose en nous qui aime nous voir souffrir, aussi étrange que cela puisse sembler, nous commençons à devenir plus conscient de notre Égo. Et à cet instant, au milieu de ce tourbillon de négativité, nous pouvons réaliser qu’à ce moment nous créons de la souffrance pour nous même.

Peu à peu, en devenant plus conscient de nos actions et de nos pensées telles qu’elles se présentent, nous sommes un peu plus près, un peu plus libéré de notre souffrance, de notre tristesse. À ce moment, nous reconnaissons l’inintelligence de la négativité et chaque action, chaque pensée est effectuée avec cette conscience croissante d’être, non contaminé par la négativité.

Namaste.

Where do I fit in?

A question that a lot of us have asked ourselves at least once if not many times in our life. For some of us, we are still trying to find the right place, the right people, the right job even. This is one of the hardest question to answer because it is in constant evolution as we change and as the world moves around us. However, it is normal to ask yourself this question and in fact it is healthy because it shows that you are aware or want to become more aware of where you are…

Here are a few thoughts hoping that it will make it easier for those of you who are going through such a process these days. Firstly, I am tempted to ask you why? Why are you asking yourself this question? How do you feel about where you are now? That is to say, what is the driver behind the question?

By identifying your emotional state when you are facing such questions, you become more aware of the minds’ construct. Emotions can blind you in the choices and changes you are seeking to make. I am not saying that you should not feel anything, simply that you should be aware of how your feelings come into play. In his book Oneness With All Life, Eckhart Tolle writes: “Facing facts is always empowering. Be aware that what you think, to a large extent, creates emotions that you feel. See the link between your thinking and your emotions. Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”

Secondly, ask yourself what it is you are seeking; understand that you cannot do everything at the same time and accept that change may take a long time to set in. Allow yourself to take the space and time you need to reflect. Let thoughts come to you, acknowledging them but not forcing yourself to make a decision. The “what” or “where” you need to be will surface from your thought process by itself; give it time, give yourself a chance.

Finally, realize that wherever you need to be and whatever you need to do, you are doing it right now. Forcing yourself to be someone else is the same as pushing a square peg into a round opening. Be confident in what life brings you and be open to what it teaches you. Be satisfied and accept yourself as you are because you are right where you should be. Be happy.

The power of sound

For many people around the world, music plays an important role in their way of life. A few years ago, while working with Indigenous populations, I was invited to a World Conference where I met a Māori women. Māori people are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand or Aotearoa, “The Long White Cloud”. She told us that Māori people believe that they are the children of the mist, fruit of the union between the Earth and the Sky. Then, she sang.

Although I could not understand a word, I was profoundly touched by her song, tears filled-up my eyes and chills ran down my spine. Once she was done, she explained to us the meaning of this song, the story of a warrior yearning for the time when he would be reunited with his Love. Unfortunately, as the song and the story goes, he is killed in battle and thus, never sees her again. Music has a predominant role in Māori culture.

They say that music is a way for us to express what cannot be said through words. And so, while Aristotle pondered “Why do rhythms and melodies, which are mere sounds, resemble dispositions, while tastes do not, nor yet colours or smells?”, Darwin suggested that music preceded speech, as a sort of mating call, a bit like bird song. Perhaps this may be a reason why we seem to respond so strongly to music?

Some suggest that the origin of music likely stems from naturally occurring sounds and rhythms. A great example of this is throat singing, or katajjaq, by Inuit women in Canada, to which I was introduced to during a First Nation’s Ceremony. The two women sang facing each other, repeating sounds in a rhythmic fashion, re-creating the sound of a gushing river. It was bewitching: everyone in the room was speechless, captivated by this beautiful performance.

In an article entitled History of language and music in humans, Alan Harvey, Professor of Neurosciences at the University of Western Australia in Perth, suggests that “apart from keeping many of us sane, there is considerable evidence, that music has therapeutic powers. Numerous recent brain-imaging studies confirm that there are identifiable regions involved in the processing of music. It seems music has biological and not just cultural roots. Interestingly, areas of the limbic system, associated with emotions, are also activated when listening to music.”

Finally, in Vedic tradition, the role played by primordial sound is very important. In fact, the Vedic tradition suggests that the very creation of the universe, or the Big Bang Theory as we refer to it, was in fact a result of the vibrational impulse and energy that emanated from the sound “Om” or “Aum”. And so, in Vedic practice, sounds are used to cure and to heal the body and the mind.

As explained by The Chopra Centre, Primordial Sound Meditation isn’t about forcing your mind to be quiet, but about experiencing the quiet that is already there. It is a healing practice that allows us to experience inner calm and deep relaxation. In fact, for thousands of years, people have used meditation to move beyond the mind’s busy activity and emotional turbulence into profound peace and expanded awareness. The term “restful awareness” captures the unique combination of physical relaxation and an alert yet quiet mind.”

And so, if we choose too, music has the power to heal us and to make us feel happy. Use this gift to motivate and make you feel better. Crank up the volume and dance and sing! For life is beautiful and music is one of the many ways to enjoy it. Namaste.

Gratitude ~ by N.Jonhson

This text was written by Njari Jonhson. I chose to publish her post on gratitude because she writes it so simply and beautifully. Her deep connection and sensitivity to life is felt through her poems but she also writes about her travels and food. You can read more on her blog at http://siannaphey.wordpress.com/.

Gratitude  is

Thankfulness

Counting your blessings

Acknowledging all you receive

Noticing simple pleasures

Being aware of how much you have been given

Changing focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is present

Be grateful for what you have and where you are now

All you have is All you need – right now!

*

We are like a magnet, what you feel, be it love, fear, hurt, happiness, anger, resistance, joy etc, you are creating a force that attracts and draws you to events, circumstances and conditions in line with what you are feeling. In other words, our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, which include affirmations attract vibrationally what they are sending. When you sincerely express gratitude you draw to you more of what you are expressing gratitude for – your energy becomes harmonious and accepting – and it puts you in a resonance optimal for attracting those energies. When you resist, and not expressing gratitude, you attract that which you are not wanting – the polar opposite.

You choose your emotions and thoughts in every moment. So,choose to focus on thoughts of gratitude and you will in turn train your emotions and mind to respond with gratitude, and draw more abundance and things to be grateful for.”

Thank you for letting me share your inspiring words Njari.

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