All posts tagged yoga

Does Ujjayi Breathing Make Your Yoga Practice Victorious?

WHAT IS THE UJJAYI BREATH AND SHOULD I PRACTICE IT? In Hatha Yoga, we practice a series of physical exercises intended to purify the subtle energy channels in our body/being, so that we may one day experience a state of non-dual unity, that is, a oneness with the divine energy that pervades all things. The practice begins with mindful, physical exercises designed to open our body and free energy movement in the body/being. As our energy system awakens and clears, we may be ready to practice pranayama. The literally translation of the Sanskrit word “pranayama” is the “extension” or “drawing out” of prana, that is, of life force. It is a series of breathing exercises geared to broaden and expand our field of awareness, so that we may continue an even subtler purification of the body/being. Through my years of teaching YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, I have noticed that some students and teachers who have come to my classes and workshops tend to use a particular breathing technique known as ujjayi breathing during their practice. Translated as the “victorious” breath, ujjayi is intended to aid in yogic mastery, which ultimately is over the ego and our illusory perception of divisiveness. Some Hatha yoga styles such as Ashtanga and Vinyasa encourage the practice of ujjayi breathing…

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The Gift in Adversity

I just returned from being in England over the past few weeks. On a professional level, it was an excellent, full on time performing and teaching, moving my projects forward, meeting great people and finding out more about the world and myself. But what I learned was beyond all of this. The day after my first show at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in London, I developed severe laryngitis. This may seem like a tragedy for one who uses her voice to perform and teach. But for one who has made a promise to the spiritual path, I know that the universe has an amazing way of keeping us honest and on path. Adversity is nothing other than a gift in disguise. As I allowed myself to soften into the physical and emotional discomfort I felt having absolutely no voice, I found myself inundated with memories from what seemed to be a past life memory in London dying of consumption (tuberculosis). At that time, my lungs were full of fluid. I could not breathe, and I felt silent in my ability to voice feelings of powerlessness. In the present, what lingered was resentment of having died in a state of sorrow. So I welcomed these feelings as part of healing my laryngitis. However, my memories did…

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Mind Body Spirit Festival and Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie

Dear friends,   I leave early Monday morning for London, UK where I will be performing and teaching at the Mind Body Spirit Festival. Waiting for me in London will be the freshly printed copies of my new book Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie. I thought you might like to read another sneak preview:   In the yoga community, we have come to a place that is like spiritual adolescence. We know the basics and we are out in the world. Wal-Mart sells yoga mats and Costco sells Eckhart Tolle’s books. We can express lofty ideas and speak beautiful things. But in order to grow, we must go deeper. We know how to fool our parents, as many teenagers do. But we cannot fool nature. Eventually the teenager realizes that to be responsible means to understand the consequences of his actions, just as the junkie needs to discover the wanting at the root of their addiction in order to heal. If we are to address the pervasiveness of greed and wanting in our lives, we need to start talking about and becoming aware of our shadowy habits that support them, including the ones lurking in our yoga practice. We need to mature as yogis and as people. We are not being truly honest with ourselves if…

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Coming Soon: Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie

Dear friends, Today I am busy at work finalizing my upcoming book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie”, about the pitfalls I experienced on the yogic path and how you can avoid them. The book will make its debut at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in the UK later this month. In the meantime, though, here is a teaser for you to enjoy: We use the word “junkie” loosely. You can hear it uttered with enthusiasm when someone expresses particular zeal for something. They may be addicted to that thing. But the offhand use of the word can easily mask what may be a shady underbelly lying in the darker recesses of their psyche. The word “junkie” ultimately refers to someone who is an addict. As such, it points painfully to a human being who erroneously identifies with some elusive external substance, person, place or thing as his or her source of permanent happiness. There are many forms of addiction deeply interwoven into the fabric of our culture. Addiction is somehow a part of the modern, human psyche. The popular, casual use of the word “junkie” seems to give us unspoken permission to broadcast our compulsions in a way that does not ask us to look more deeply at them. Inadvertently, the word illustrates how we…

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Yoga as Energy Medicine

I pull myself away from the intense focus of creating my new album and preparing for my upcoming show (May 11, 8pm at the Yoga Sanctuary, 2 College Street, Toronto, for those who do not know) to teach a “YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine” workshop today. The workshop celebrates the official launch of my new YEM instructional DVD and CD. I am very pleased with the products and look forward to the opportunity to serve this afternoon.   I feel that my life is blessed. Not that it is without challenges. It is simply that I feel deeply grateful for the gift of being here, on this planet, at this time. As I pursue my love of music and share the grace that sound can fill our being, I also am able to support people’s evolutionary journey home to “the One” through the practice of yoga, in particular, through the style of Hatha Yoga that I teach called YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine.   I cannot imagine what my life would be like as a musician without yoga, because they are intricately linked. Not because my current show is called “Yoga In the Nightclub”, but because spirit can be served through sound and sound can invoke spirit. They are vitally interlinked and sacredly bonded. I have…

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A World of Sound, The Voice of the Divine

Hello Friends, As you may know, I am in the thick of the creative process finalizing my new album. This album is a nod of gratitude to the yoga community for the support I have received over the years, and of recognition of my deep spiritual roots there. The album uses my independent hit single “Yoga In the Nightclub” as a point of departure. The album includes traditional Sanskrit chants, original pop songs, anthemic dance tracks and expansive, spacious soundscapes that allow listeners to rest in the lap of the Divine. The creative theme for the album is “Songs to the Divine Mother”, an expression of gratitude to my guru Amma. The release party is fittingly on Mother’s Day weekend, at 8pm on Friday May 11 at the Yoga Sanctuary at 2 College Street (at Yonge). All ages are welcome, and kids under 6 are free. Advance tickets are available at my online store Positive Possibilities. There will be an early bird special, so make sure you order yours early. Full details will be on my websites soon. I hope to see you all there! I feel like I am in a creative cave as I create sounds to produce songs in my music studio. For me, it is a fully engrossing process. A friend from Montreal is in from Toronto and asked me to come to his…

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Sacred Sexuality: Beyond Wanting – Part 4: The Body Channel – The Art of Love

(Continued from Wanting Fulfillment or Open to Divine Love) What channel are we choosing to tune into and amplify when we mate? Whatever our state of consciousness at the time of sexual interaction, that consciousness is amplified by the act of sex. If we are wanting, seeking fulfillment and brimming with desire, we will feel satisfied temporarily from our climax, then ultimately feel empty once again and want more. The cycle of wanting then continues.   But if we approach sex from the point of view of the sacred, from a place of mindfulness and a practice of the release of wanting, most guys will say at first that they can’t get it up, and women will not know how to be sexy because they are so used to seducing or playing hard to get. Once the cat and mouse games or prey/predator games fall away, we are left with our naked self, our inner being, raw, vulnerable and real. Ok, you may ask, so what is so sexy about that!? That is when real lovemaking begins.   When we allow ourselves to let go of wanting the other to fill us up, when we let ourselves be real, as we are, another energy comes through our body and being. It will charge our entire being…

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Hello from the Yoga Show

Dear friends, I am at the Yoga Conference in Toronto to promote Yoga as Energy Medicine and Yoga in the Nightclub. If you are there, please come by and say hello. I am in booth 806. My next blog topic is sacred sexuality. It will be posted beginning tomorrow. But here is a preview of what I’ll be talking about: Tantra and sacred sexuality are not the same. As I said in my recent blog entries, Tantra as a whole does not condone the use of sexuality while on the spiritual path. But not everyone is meant to be a hard-core yogi where celibacy is usually considered essential. Most often, people wish to find a more integrated approach to their spirituality and their modern, family life. So where does sex fit into that? Until tomorrow, be very well. This human form is a gift. Celebrate it! Parvati

Tantra Yoga: What’s Sex Got To Do With It? – Part 4: Funky Sex and Multiple Orgasms

(Continued from The Catch: Tantra’s Sex Appeal and the Need for a Guru) A branch of Tantrics, known as the Left Hand Path, supported, encouraged and condoned the use of sexual rituals as a means to cultivate spiritual enlightenment, whereas the majority of Tantrics, known as the Right Hand Path, frowned upon such, casting out the beliefs of the other group as erroneous, even dangerous. The Right Hand Path instead promoted celibacy as a means to mastery over desire and wanting, in order to merge with the Divine while in form. Saying Tantra is about sex is like saying that Muslims are about terrorism. Nothing could be further than the truth. The vast majority of Muslims are a faith-loving, good people who promote wise and compassionate action. An extreme sect promotes the use of terrorism. The same could be said for Christianity and Buddhism and other world religions, where small sects seem to paint a general picture over the tendency of that belief system. Perhaps because we lack cultural and spiritual maturity as a people, we allow the flavour of one grape to affect the entire batch of wine. I have always had a natural connection to the unseen realms, ever since I was a child. As such, my yoga and meditation practices and studies naturally…

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Tantra Yoga: What’s Sex Got To Do With It? – Part 3: The Catch: Tantra’s Sex Appeal and The Need For A Guru

(Continued from Hatha Yoga, Sex Rituals and Tantra’s Shadow)   “Wow,” you may be thinking. “A spiritual path where sex is seen as a path to the divine! Sign me up!” But here’s the catch. Firstly, Tantra as a whole does not support the actual practice of sexual rituals. Only one offshoot branch of Tantra does, and that is a branch not generally condoned as a viable path by Tantrism as a whole due to its inherent spiritual dangers. These dangers are part of the second catch.   Secondly, when a spiritual aspirant begins to look at matter and the body as vehicles for spiritual evolution and personal transformation, he begins to walk the razor’s edge journey to spiritual enlightenment. He must learn to discern between the ego’s tricky wanting and expansive evolution. He must learn to balance the relationship between Nature’s involutionary tendency, that is, the rootedness of being in form, and the evolutionary cosmic play as it unfolds spiritually.   A Tantric aspirant can easily either become overly mired in the pleasures of the physical and lose spiritual expansion, or he can become overly lofty, detached and ungrounded by the spiritual and lose the presence of the physical. Like a gracious balancing act, the Tantric yogi walks an extremely potent path that is both…

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