Tag Archives: Spirituality

Angela’s Yoga Lab: A Mantra for 2015… or anytime, really!

For many yoga practitioners a mantra is a powerful tool to use to deepen their practice.  Sound is particularly powerful and the repetition of sound can help focus the mind on that which is outside of and bigger than yourself.

The mantra below is perfect for any time you need to feel grounded and centered.  If you have only 5 minutes,  this will still be powerful and effective, but if you have more time – you can invest as long as you need into the mantra as a way to focus energy and attention on what you need most,  especially  transitions such as the one you will be making  into the New Year.

The type of mantra I have created here is a simple and highly effective version of mantra japa (repeating or remembering mantra).  With this way of using internal vibration of ‘So-Ham’ we journey from Gross to Subtle,  and the mantra will center and focus the mind on an object through the chanting itself.

How to do this mantra:

    • Find a comfortable seated position, preferably somewhere where there is natural sunlight,  a window open for fresh air ( ideally you want to be not too hot,  not too cold) and where you have some quiet and privacy uninterrupted. Turn off the TV, computer, radio and your phone.  You can light a candle or some incense if you will not be distracted by the smell.  You do not need a candle or incense as you can do this mantra wherever you are and in whatever position,  though seated is best.

     

    • Sit with your spine straight and keep your eyes closed to draw your focus inward.  Only if you are too sleepy should you keep your eyes opened.

     

    • Take a few long deep inhalations (breath inward) focusing on creating space in the internal body and then with every exhalation (breath outward) focus on releasing any tension, pain or stress –  anything that does not serve you right now.

     

    • Roll your shoulders down away from your ears, unlock your jaw and move your tongue so your mouth is relaxed.  Feel the earth/mat/ground below your sitting bones which are supporting you.  Focus on the sensation of your lungs lifting on the inhale and falling on the exhale.  Soften your face,  the base of your neck and behind your eyes.  You can rest your hands lightly on top of your knees, or in your lap.   Keep wrists relaxed.

     

    • For this mantra we begin with So-Ham Pranayama (breathing technique).   Whilst seated, bring your focus to your breath. While inhaling think “So”, and whilst exhaling think “Ham- or “Huumm”.  With the latter you may observe that this will lengthen the quality of your breathing,  which is the goal here.

     

    • Continue the flow of So-Ham and attempt to match the length of your inhale with your exhale so the flow is even.  However, do not obsess over this.   After feeling confident breathing So-Ham  begin to observe the natural pause between your inhale and exhale.  This is a pure moment of sweet stillness, a cessation of thoughts between So and Ham.  Do not hold your breath here to control or create this but rather observe how it naturally occurs.

     

    • Once you have completed a few rounds of So-Ham breathing you can begin with the mantra.

     

    • Out loud chant, “I am here, I am now, I am here, I am now, I am here, I am now.”

     

    • Repeat for at least 20 rounds at any volume or pitch you like. You can change the volume of your voice to what feels right.  Once you get into a rhythm you may find you do not want to stop at 20 rounds so,  in that case,  keep going until you feel compelled to stop.

     

    • Stay connected to the words and stay present in your body as you chant.  Do not zone out or lose connection to what you are doing.

     

    • Once you’ve stopped chanting out loud keep repeating the mantra inside your mind,  feeling the sensation of vibrations of your chanting rippling through you and the power of the words settling inside of you.

Benefits of this mantra:

This has the dualistic effect of being both a grounding mantra while also being empowering.   From a place of being grounded and anchored in the present you are able to tap into the potential of that moment with no expectations.  Often the lead up to a new year is filled with expectations.  We place so much pressure on resolutions to shift and change the various parts of ourselves and our lives – and sometimes others – which we feel are inadequate.

We enter with the premise “I am not enough”, “I /my life needs to change because who I am right now or how things are now – is not of any worthy”.

We can also get swept up in the hype of the idea at this time of year that things should or must shift and while change is healthy,  often these expectations lead us to over-promise,  over-commit and under-deliver, making us feel even more helpless and worthless when we cannot follow through.

Life being fluid is filled with death and rebirth, coming and going.  A new year is just another entering and exiting.  Having an equanimous mindset and connection to the present,  being here and now, anchors us so that we can handle any weather that may come our way both in 2015 and in the rest of our life.   We do not need an arbitrary date to make changes that need to take place.  We need to be in touch with ourselves so we can see from a place of clarity.

Whatever we enter the new year with is the place we take off from. The year before is gone but the year ahead is also unknown.  So all that matters IS as the mantra promises – the here and now.

 

Yoga Teacher; Forrest Yoga; Asanas; Vinyasa; Muuyu;

Australian-born Angela Collins is a yoga teacher based in Berlin.  RYS Certified, trained in Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and a graduate of Advanced Teacher Training in Forrest Yoga,  Angela is committed to nourishing  mind and body both off and on the mat.   She has had the privilege of teaching Yoga across the globe in Australia, Thailand, Germany, UK, France and with people of all differing ages, nationalities, and needs.  Having trained alongside Mark Stephens, Kathryn Budig, Kino McGregor and Ana. T Forrest, Angela now teaches a number of different Yoga disciplines including Pregnancy Yoga, Yoga for Addicts, Yoga for Athletes, and child Yoga.

Connect with her here on Muuyu.com or on her own website  www.endorphinyoga.eu as well as on Twitter.

 

If you liked this, you might also enjoy these two posts.  Just click on the pictures to bring you directly to the article

AngelaBlog5           Kundalini, yoga, yoga lifestyle, yoga retreat, health and wellbeing, yoga and meditation, mantras, yoga poses        Fighting Winter Depression         My Yoga Journey: Donna Davidge

 

12 Quotes to Encourage You To Go Get Your Dreams in 2015!

In a little over a week we will be welcoming in a brand new year and for many people that means a time for making new plans or starting afresh with old ideas.   It’s the beauty of this stage in the holiday season that most people make their plans with a confidence and conviction that is not always present at other times of the year.

So to help keep that positivity pumped once the festive eagerness has fizzled a little,  here are 12 life-affirming  and reassuring quotes to help you really go after your dreams in 2015.

 “Life really begins when you have discovered that you can do anything you want.”  William J. Reilly

“Throw your dreams into space, like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”  Anais Nin

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”  Lao Tzu

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”   Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”  Helen Keller

 “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams”.  Oprah Winfrey

“In order to carry a positive action we must first develop a positive vision.”  Dalai Lama

“Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.”  Benjamin Franklin

“Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”  Osho

 “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”  Maya Angelou

“Do or do not. There is no try.”  Yoda 

 

 Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

Photo credit: Eddy Ballardi

Skin problems? Not a problem with weeds and herbs!

The following article is an excerpt from Doris Richardson-Edsell’s book ’10 Tips on Herbs, Spirituality and Food as Medicine’, which she has kindly allowed Muuyu to republish here on our blog.

Weeds and herbs can be wonderful for helping your skin.   Starting with acne,  here are some first steps to help:

Most of the time acne is caused from too much sebum (oil) on the skin.  This oil can bring about bacteria, causing plugged hair follicles in the skin pores.   If it is lodged near the surface of the skin, blackheads and other spots will form.   If a blockage ruptures, it becomes a pimple.  Sometimes the problem is hormonal,  stress,  diet or irritating ingredients in make-up.

So, what to do?

Yarrow

Yarrow is a true remedy for acne. For a yarrow infusion place dried yarrow flowers into a quart jar and fill with boiling water.  Steep overnight, strain and store in a plastic bottle.  Dampen a washcloth with it and use to clean your face every morning, evening and in-between!

Burdock seed or root

Herbalist Susan Weed believes that brewing up some burdock can help and be used to clean the skin.  “For acne rosacea take 10-20 drops of burdock seed or root tincture three times a day which will bring slow but steady improvement.”  You can buy burdock tincture at a health food store where it is generally named Actium Lappa.  You can also make a very strong tea from dried burdock root, brewed overnight, and which you can then drink several times a day.

Herbal steam bath

Herbal steaming opens embedded pores.   You can use a combination of herbs such as yarrow, elder flowers and chamomile.  Put these herbs into a large pot.   Cover with a quart of cool water and bring to a slow simmer.   Cover your head with a towel and lean over the pot so that the steam touches your face,  keeping your eyes closed.  Remember not to get to close as you don’t want to burn yourself.  Steam for about 15 minutes.

Natural first aid for burns, bruises, cuts and scrapes.

Here are some remedies that work for burns and minor cuts:

Aloe Vera

For soothing a minor burn,  including sunburn,  try some aloe.   You can use fresh aloe by snapping off a piece from a mature plant and applying the transparent gel onto your skin.   Aloe has also been used as a first aid for frost bite because it acts against thromboxane, a substance that constricts blood vessels.   When aloe is applied,  the blood vessels relax, helping to heal the frost bite.

Lavender

This plant can help with minor cuts and scrapes.   Mix 15 drops of lavender essential oil with an ounce of aloe vera juice.   They are both available at a health food store.  Place the mixture in a spray bottle and store in the refrigerator for a soothing,  cool mist that works wonders on small cuts and scrapes.

Plantain

This common weed can be found in most lawns and it can help to soothe pain,  bind together torn tissue and strengthen the skin’s surface.  When used fresh, crush a few thin leaves and apply to minor cuts and scrapes.   At the health food store you can also find some plantain salve which eases itching and promotes healing.

You can buy ’10 Tips on Herbs, Spirituality and Food as Medicine’, along with Doris’ many other books and booklets  on amazon.com. (Muuyu Tip: These books are great Christmas gifts for anyone hoping to lead a more healthful life.  Just saying!)

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Doris Richardson-Edsell is a a registered nurse, yoga instructor, author, mother and grandmother.  She has worked as a counselor and group therapist at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, New York, for over 25 years.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read or hear more of Doris’ expertise, you can check out her  previous blog posts here and here or visit  Doris’ webpage, Body Mind Health, where she discusses and advises on all topics concerning holistic healing and health.

 

First Ever British Yoga Festival

The first ever British Yoga Festival, organized by UK’s best-selling YOGA Magazine, runs next weekend (Friday 5th until Sunday 7th December) at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

The Festival, which is expecting a turn-out of approximately 15,000 people from London, the UK and around the world, will showcase a host of yoga workshops, classes and demonstrations.  The line-up includes everything from Acro to Ashtanga with some Fierce Grace, Full Moon Flow and Yoga Rave  stirred in for those who like their yoga a little on the weird and wonderful side.

The impressively starry line-up of teachers includes Claire Missingham, Howard Napper, David Sye, Sonia DoubellRachel Okimo, Vena Ramphal, Dirish Shaktidas and Radhanath Swami.

YOGA Magazine and Festival organizers told Muuyu, “”When we launched in 2003 YOGA Magazine was the first dedicated UK monthly magazine to promote the benefits of a yogic lifestyle.  Now, after building up a solid reader base over the last 11 years, we felt that this was the right time to host our first ever British Yoga Festival due to the increasing appeal of yoga, and industry and reader demand for a yoga show to offer something different.”

With that in mind attendees can also look forward to a vast range of stalls and an array of activities including Ayruveda, diet and nutrition, green living and meditation and a full children’s programme.

To mark their first ever festival, YOGA Magazine will also be aiming to set a new world record for the UK’s largest indoor yoga class. This will take place on Saturday 6th December at 1.30pm and organizers are hoping for over 2,000 people to join in.

So if you’re in London next weekend, grab your mat and make your way to Islington.   To keep the industry thriving it’s important to support new and ambitious events such as the British Yoga Festival. And chances are you’ll  have fun, meet other like-minded folk and find a great class or workshop to do that you wouldn’t have had a chance to find otherwise!

For further information look here.

Siobhan01

Siobhan is the Head of Communication and Content with Muuyu and a co-founder of the company.  Born in Ireland she has close to 20 years’ experience working in the areas of PR, communication and journalism.  She is also the editor of the Muuyu blog.  Siobhan has been practicing yoga on and off for most of her adult life.  However it was while doing a post-natal yoga class when pregnant that she really began to connect with her practice and she has been a regular practitioner ever since.

Connect with Siobhan here.

 

Yoga Fashion’s Gift of Grace

Since its establishment the yoga attire company weargrace has become brand of choice for women who want their clothing – both on and off the mat – to spark a deeper, authentic personal style.    Muuyu was fortunate to recently catch up with weargrace Founder, KAREN JOYCE, to find out what inspires the former Gucci Image Director as the woman at the helm of this unique yoga clothing collection.  

 When did you establish weargrace and what was the momentum behind it?

I have been practicing yoga for many years and in 2009 after 20 years in the fashion industry, I left my business and traveled to Asia in search of more meaning, deeper self-understanding and a greater awareness of the ancient disciplines of the east.

In my travels and study I found that the ancient teachings and philosophy inherent in yoga and meditation are very different from their western interpretations.  There is a very pure and simple side, a more meaningful foundation that gets lost in our hectic lifestyles and conditioning.

The creation of weargrace was an opportunity to use a language that I know (fashion) as a vehicle to share these precious teachings by embodying them in the brand values and the clothing itself.

This idea was born in late 2009 and developed through many subsequent trips to Asia and many yoga experiences in different parts of the world.  The first collection was produced is 2012.

You’ve talked before about there being three specific events that woke you up to the fact that you needed to change the work/life you were leading, but at what moment did you start to think about setting up your own yoga fashion line and were you not worried that the work might consume you once again?

I started thinking about a yoga line in 2009 when I sat in my teachers training workshop in Bali, listening to the profound, life changing philosophy behind this ancient discipline and observed that everyone was dressed the same.  Yoga attire was totally disconnected to the teachings.  It occurred to me that the clothing could be a vehicle to remind people of the precious values inherent in yoga and to keep these teachings alive.

I trusted that if my work could be a natural extension of who I am and the values I sustain, that I could stay aligned and not fall into the old work patterns.

“Living” the precepts of yoga and meditation is much harder than studying it on an island or in the Himalayas.  The real challenge comes in the integration of this wisdom into the ups and downs of everyday life. This remains a continual challenge for me and is what stimulates me to keep weargrace growing and to stay true to the message behind the brand.

Weargrace is so much more than a fashion brand. Along with the weargrace collection there are also grace retreats and a philosophy that promotes the practice of yoga – Can you explain further how these strands all tie together? 

Grace retreats and the weargrace philosophy are all vehicles to remind people to live from the inside out. To connect to their unique inner wisdom and guidance.  The clothing, the retreats,  the philosophy, are all part of  the same message.

You may buy a weargrace legging because you see it on Net-a-Porter or because you like the particular color or style.  Maybe you read about the prayer flag symbolism and it helps to bring more compassion to your day, or the text in the weargrace mantra inspires you to take a yoga or meditation class and you begin to live from a different space.  It is my hope that weargrace plants a seed that can lead people to their own unique path of personal growth.

You are one of the 16 hand-selected fashion lines that debuted as part of Net-a-Porter’s new, luxury activewear offering, Net-a-Sporter. How did that come about and what can we expect as part of your future relationship with them?

I first contacted Net-a-Porter in 2012, introducing the brand message, philosophy and product selection.   Candice Fragis, the buyer who I was in touch with, was very kind in her feedback, recognizing the unique offering but relaying that there was not yet a place for this niche market on the N-A-P platform.  In March of 2014, I received a call directly from Candice, senior buyer of the activewear segment.  She had remembered the brand and explained the plan to launch the Net-a -Sporter platform, and came by to see the collection.

As an avid yogi, Candice connected immediately with the deeper message behind the brand, as well as its simple and elegant style, versatility and comfort that made the offering different from all other activewear brands.

Being in the right place at the right time and having someone who understood what the brand was trying to communicate, this was grace!

In July, 2014 weargrace was the only brand to represent the yoga sector on the Net–a-Sporter platform launch.  Our presence on this important channel reaching over 170 countries is the perfect opportunity to share our unique message and offers all women simple, stylish and comfortable clothing that inspires a more personal, authentic part of themselves.

What are the future priorities for the company?

Weargrace aims to establish itself as the most modern, tasteful and meaningful brand in yoga attire, encouraging women to live from the core of their being, and connect to their unique personal style and inner guidance.

As a business woman and an avid yoga practitioner, what advice can you give to other working women in relation to using yoga both on and off the mat to live a fulfilling life? 

Yoga is not just a physical practice.  It is a tool that helps us to align with who we really are.   Approach your practice with compassion and presence.  In this connection, you will discover an inner knowing, a guidance that will help you to live from a more peaceful and authentic space.

This is living from the inside out and is my challenge every day.   To live from this space is our greatest gift.

KarenJoyce

US-born Karen Joyce is the founder of weargrace.   Following her graduation from Providence College and Rhode Island School of Design, Karen moved to Venice, Italy where she worked as a consultant for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  From there she moved to Milan where she joined Gucci as a graphic designer, then as Art Director before relocating to London as Director of Image for the Gucci Group.  In this position she managed an in-house creative agency for all Gucci’s brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga.  However, after almost two decades in the business Karen decided to make some personal changes that would greatly impact her professional life …and weargrace was born.

Weargrace products can be found on weargrace.com, Net-a-Porter and, from next year onwards, across the USA in 9 locations of the luxury department store chain, Barney’s.

On Being Silent

By Doris Richardson-Edsell, Yoga teacher and nurse

There is something enriching about not speaking, especially for an entire day.

When you are silent, things become clear in your mind, body and soul, and then you get in touch with that deeper part of yourself.  It is there right in front of you but you do not always see your spiritual self that wants to take care of you; offering your internal guidance that helps you to just be. When you find that pleasant area in your mind, you will know it well as it speaks to you; telling you that today will be good, and that all days are valued, even the ones where you are struggling with life; the good and bad days need to be honored.

Find time today to just be in silence, whether it is a mindful, meditative walk or just being with yourself in the silence of your home; focusing on your breath and nothing else.  It does not have to be a long time; just time to be without distractions and noise; time to think about nothing but your slow breath; a mindful way to get in touch with yourself and your inner soul.

Music

Soft music in the background helps to find silence for the day.  It sooths your soul and gives peace and harmony to your day.  Find a way that is yours alone; silently sitting, lying down or walking in silence. Beginning a meditative way about yourself can be so enriching; you begin to speak slower, do everything more mindfully and your body thanks you with a slower pulse and lower blood pressure.  Some will begin to notice the change in you; commenting on how peaceful you are.

Beginning with you in a graceful way

When your day begins with slowing yourself down to see where you are going and taking the time with each step that you need to do, you become calm and centered.  And you find that  listening to your body and its needs for the day, brings you to a place where you are taking care of all of your many selves; mind, body and soul.

These are the many ways to begin each day with a smile.

Doris_RichardsonE

Doris Richardson-Edsell is a a registered nurse, yoga instructor, author, mother and grandmother.  She has worked as a counselor and group therapist at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, New York, for over 25 years.

As an author she has penned a series of books on the topics of health and wellness, including plant based dieting, weight maintenance and vegan cooking.   Her latest e-book, ‘Maintaining Your Weight: Staying in the Center’, will be available on Amazon.com from 26th September.

 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read or hear more of Doris’ expertise, you can check out her webpage, Body Mind Health, where she discusses and advises on all topics concerning holistic healing and health.

You can also tune in to catch Doris on a2Zen.fm  tomorrow (25th September) 11pm EST when she’ll be interviewed on Angela Levesque’s ‘On Health & Healing’ show regarding the true meaning of ‘being healthy’.