It is the day after your birthday. You wake up, do a little yoga, drink a little tea, make some oatmeal and open your laptop. It's time to get back to work...
What do you find?
Facebook messages from people all over the world, dropping into your page, just to say:
And that is (channelling Kelso from "That 70s Show") AWESOME!
When we stop for a moment to appreciate the technology of mass communication, the ridiculously amazing gift is obvious:
The ability to organize a Festival in Goa with
Wild Yogi friends in Russia; the opportunity to giggle at reception (awkward dancing) photos from my cousin's wedding; the means to rally a campaign for the micro-finance of women in war-torn and poverty stricken communities, world-wide—these magic tricks are nothing less than miraculous.
They are (I repeat) TOTALLY AWESOME!
But the beauty of Facebook goes deeper than its ability to connect us.
It also has the power to remind us of who we are—each one of us, as authentically differentiated individuals.
Because we are not ONLY the united pulsation of a dynamic organism of Universal consciousness, collectively influencing the health and vitality of our eco-system and social structure. We are not JUST the undivided image that satellites capture from space; or the unified Ideal of a single and Infinite awareness that transcendental theories of Yoga advance from a lofty (and often hungry) etherial state.
Our values and ideas are NOT unanimous. Each person's circumstance and adventure is totally their own, and our faces hold uniquely beautiful details that cannot be replicated by another—ever.
And that is what I Like
most about Facebook. It is a book of faces and no two are alike. My uncle writes "Happy Birthday" on my FB wall. A friend from Germany sends a poem.
Some self-proclaimed "guru" in India posts a virtual birthday cake.
A dear old family friend shares a photo of my mama pushing me in a stroller. I have never seen it before. She is absolutely radiant, with the face I remember from childhood... the face I remember from last week when we talked on Skype...the face that I will never take for granted...with its one-of-a kind beauty.
We may be part of something really HUGE; an Infinite and Universal Dynamism that connects us all.
But we are not the same.
And for that, I am eternally grateful.
One of the most precarious places to be is a pedestal. Have you been there? Standing high above your friends, afraid to look down, feeling tipsy— imbalanced—and asking yourself, in the famous words of David Byrne:
"Well... How did I get here?"
Or maybe you don't even realize that you have gotten so high, until you come crashing to the ground—hard and fast—like a hangover; or the boulder from that insane You Tube video.
Today, I received a message from an STF. She admitted that she had put me on a pedestal, and was disappointed that I had let her down. My first response was defensive. Why had she put me up there in the first place? That is one of the most predictably destructive things you can do to a friendship, after all.
But then, I examined the language that we hold around this idea: she had put me UP, but I had let her DOWN. When she imagined me tumbling to the ground, she was the one who actually fell.
When you view another as higher than you, it gives you an example to aspire to. It means that you too can become as "perfect" and "whole" as you imagine that person to be.
It also means that when she falls, you fall. Ouch.
We are all human, after all, perfect in our imperfections and an inspiration to one another. When we say, "Namaste," we are bowing to that part of us which is Infinite and Whole. That Divine beauty, however, is only recognizable because it is embedded within this human grit. What's sacred is the balance—Staying human so that we can digest our gut-level experiences, yet taking ourselves lightly so that we can fly.
Somewhere along the line, my friend had gotten the idea that it was safe to elevate her idea of me. And for that, I am truly sorry. It is my responsibility to expose my realness, my human stink and dirty feet...along with my intense love. Ultimately, it is my responsibility to be and share my true self. So let's be clear:
I am not the teacher.
The teacher is in YOU. The teacher, the healer, the guru moves through all of us by Grace. The wisdom of the Universe is pulsing through our interaction and relationship to Life. We each have ultimately infinite access to the powers of Truth and Love. Your Inner Guru speaks to you through the lessons of your authentic and individual experiences—the good ones and the shitty ones. They are all opportunities for growth. They are all opportunities to become more loving and grateful....
all of them—including the disappointing ones, like when your friends or family let you down.
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Instead of throwing this old table in the dumpster, Marley and I re-created it, transforming it to our new favorite devipiece. What have you transformed from trash to treasure lately? Upload a description and photos to my FB page. Be sure to tag my friends at Shakti Yogi Journal for a chance to win a year subscription!
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1. Upload a description and photos of your transformed treasure to R.R. Shakti page on Facebook.
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Webinar Series in three parts. 6:00-7:00 p.m. MT
I am so excited to be offering my first ever webinar series in three parts on Yoga Psychology for Mamas.
My PhD program in Mythology and Depth Psychology has completely transformed my approach to yoga and after 12 years of teaching, I feel more inspired than ever.
Inner Power Yoga programs offer an opportunity to honestly examine the personal myths that influence your life: your beliefs, behaviors, and ultimately your experiences. This first Inner Power Yoga webinar series addresses one of the most complicated challenges and joys on the planet; the adventure of being a mother.
Over three sessions in 6 weeks, you will explore your current personal motherhood myth. Whether you are a seasoned mother, a brand new mom, or a mama to be, you have a story that begins before you were even born. Does your story empower you? Does it inspire you? Or perhaps it really doesn’t serve you as much as it could. By the third session of this webinar series, you will have had an opportunity to revision your story as a mama—in a manner that is truly authentic and personal to YOU. NOV. 6 PART ONE:
Our first session will be a fun and illuminating introduction to four mother archetypes (or universal images) that speak to you and through your psyche. NOV. 20 PART TWO:
In session two, we’ll dive deeply into four common and limiting myths that constellate mothers today; including the contradictory voices of “I am the only one who can care for my child.” and “I’m the worst mother ever.”DEC. 4 PART THREE:
Our third session will be a time to recreate and rebirth our myths of motherhood.
You may be surprised to discover how powerful you truly are. ALL THREE SESSIONS ONLY $25 WHEN YOU REGISTER BY NOV 1. ($45 after 11/1)
(REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS WILL RECEIVE ACCESS TO RECORDED WEBINAR) REGISTER NOW!!
What is an inner guru?
Unlike English words, which generally objectify, Sanskrit words describe the essence of something. The essence of “guru” is associated with many different ideas: master, weighty, large, respectable, great, serious, parent, teacher, valuable, venerable, and difficult to digest. Guru is associated with heaviness in the stomach and is used to express pregnancy or a pregnant woman. The guru principle, in yoga, refers to the teacher that guides one’s awareness towards the Infinite. According to the Siddha Yogis, the guru principle is “The universal power of grace present as the inner Self of all beings.”
When we speak of the Inner Guru in Inner Power Yoga®, we are talking about the quality of consciousness within. This is the source of one’s unique and authentic inner vibration which includes emotions, thoughts and inspirations when these are pointing toward a deeper or higher truth—beyond ego absorption. The Inner Guru is the Soul. It is the source of the Soul. AND it is the creative spark that turns an everyday human into a Soul Artist.
The Inner Guru is the voice you hear from the stillness of the lotus heart, when all obstacles and limitations are removed and you listen. What is an archetype?
Archetypes are observable aspects of the mysterious universal vibration that unifies humanity as a deeply connected tribe of individuals. Archetypes occur as images, symbols, thoughts, patterns, expressions, motifs and ideas that have gathered from the collective unconscious and may be recognized by personal awareness.
Throughout the years in his study of the inner-workings of the human psyche, Psycho-analyst, C.G. Jung conceived archetypal components which play important roles in the psychological and social development of each individual. These unconscious personalities are the soul images of the ego, persona, shadow, anima and animus. They accompany and inform the attitudes and behaviors of a person throughout the stages of his or her life. They serve as the guiding force into the nebulous world of the unconscious; the realm that Jung recognized as “the Unknown which immediately effects us1.”
What is a guru archetype?
When these two terms are used together as “Guru Archetype,” they may be considered the conscious and unconscious patterns that inform one’s personal, inner teacher. These particular symbols, ideas, and energies inspire the teachings that resonate with a particular person as they recognize them arise. The Guru archetypes may present themselves from within the still center of meditation, or from the chaos of a dance party. They may be found on the movie screen or in a novel. Guru archetypes are living energies that “haunt” every day life. When they are identified as the motivating factors that inspire a particular Soul Artist, that archetype (and its teachings) become even more accessible.
When you know your guru archetype, you may hear the voice, see the beauty and discover the meaning in everything around you. Four guru archetypes.
The same archetypal energies that have informed the world's greatest mysteries throughout history, also empower the authentic expression of your own deepest truth. Explore these mythic characters as they radiate, vibrate, soar and roar from the collective unconscious and within you. Let the qualities of your inner guru amplify your heart's desire, reveal your life's purpose and illuminate the beauty of your soul.
There are many many archetypal patterns for the Inner Guru.
This workshop series offers introductory insight into four re-occurring archetypal patterns that may be of inspiration for you. LEARN MORE
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Last weekend marked the half point of our Inner Power Yoga® Teacher Training in Nederland, CO. And with it, our tribe brought their sweet imaginations and creative talents in the form of some awesome Upanishads projects. The Upanishads are Vedic texts, which offer poems, songs and stories regarding the individual soul and it's relationship to the universal spirit. Each project was a beautiful and unique response to the text. One yogini wrote her heartfelt and touching contemplations:
"What is it to die of self?
Such a simplified question with a series of multi-layered answers! I pondered this with great heart felt openness! Because SOMETHING touched me deeply the first time I read this and I would go on to re-read it at least a dozen more times! I thought about this for weeks—it would pop into my mind when I was doing the dishes, working, and doing yoga. These words just kept coming at me. It was almost as if the universe was beating into my head—luring me to the read the words again and again! Like a nagging tooth ache, not to be ignored!!! The words just kept repeating over and over in my head. Occasionally I got annoyed and/or frustrated. Sometimes feelings of being overwhelmed came with the thought of these words. Many different answers came to me with many more questions added to it. It almost seemed like it was a question within many questions—that had answers within many answers— infinity in its self! No wonder I felt overwhelmed!
To die of self, to kill the self, to reach my true self—My Atman.—God; what a seemingly impossible feat. At first my ego concluded it would be complete abandon of the concepts of life and death as I have understood it to be for my entire life!—My very reality. Then after truly thinking about this, some questions came to me:
When did it become the norm for me to chase the material and physical pleasures of this physical world? When did money, property, and instant gratification become my God?
At what point in growing up do we lose our childhood joy of simply living life, the beauty of a leaf and watching it float in the wind— and love everything— including playing in the dirt!?
Is everything I know and am an illusion?
Has this illusion been molded to fit what I have believed it should be instead of what it is?
Is it what others believed it should be?
Has any of it made me happy?
Are any of us TRULY happy?
Have I been living a lie my entire existence?
Is the whole world a lie?
The questions went on and on in my mind! They just would not stop!!! I now know that, the whole process was Atman breaking through ego! Time was running out for this OMwork assignment. I had been avoiding it. Originally I had planned on doing a collage. I even cut out pictures, bought poster board, glue sticks and metallic markers! but I could not seem to make myself sit down and actually do it! I didn’t know why the block!!! What was I afraid of? Then after finishing my report on Saraswati, it dawn on me—since I couldn’t seem to get the Upanishad words out of my head, I should write my thoughts down! And finally my thoughts quieted and I was able to make sense out of the chaos!
So I sat down to answer the question:
What does it really mean to die of self?
And at that moment the answer seemed so unbelievably simple to me. I heard my own voice in my head say, "to die of self means cultivating a symbiotic existence with all of life itself!"
I sat back on the couch in complete awe! My heart felt so open and light! Tears came to my eyes! Because I just had a spiritual awakening and was able to see the whole process so clearly! I wish that I was able to share the feeling I had in my chest! (if I could bottle the feeling there would be world peace!) I want that complete joy and peace for everyone! I felt my connection to the cosmos. I felt my symbiotic relation to everything and everyone! For the first time in my entire life I felt TRUE BLISS!!
Ever since that moment, my life and my yoga practice has taken on a deeper meaning. I feel more in touch with my asanas, more in touch with myself. I have a new acceptance of the world and my monkey mind has settled. It’s not completely gone (I wish!); but, it has calmed. That in its self, is a gift!"
Written by Christina Marino from the Inner Power Yoga® blissipline tribe at Tadasana Mountain Yoga in Nederland CO.
It’s 1:28 in the morning and you can’t sleep.
You lie awake…and lie awake…and lie awake some more.
You breathe deeply, try to meditate, even imagine counting sheep. Still, you might lie awake for hours. You are sleepy
. You’re just not sleeping
. And you are not alone. According to a national survey, 54% of adults said they have experienced at least one symptom of insomnia
a few times a week.
Five years ago, I was the woman who consistently fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Then came business and school work, creating a non-profit, a yoga teacher training program, and the exhilaration of always riding the very edge of what I can actually pull off
Most of the time, life on the edge is super fun and exciting. But when I forget that the source of my energy is not me
, but the creativity of Universal Grace moving through me, imbalance occurs and I find myself lying quietly awake at night.
Fortunately, the situation isn’t hopeless. I do
know a few tricks that work pretty consistently at preparing me to catch some actual Z’s. I believe they can help you too.
First off, you have to get up out of bed. It is really tempting to just stay and fight—like a little war on insomnia. No war has ever brought about real lasting peace, and stressing about not sleeping will just fixate your attention on the problem. So get up!
Find a space that is dark and quiet with enough floor space to stretch out. Bring a bunch of pillows with you. Begin with vata
(wind energy)- relieving movements, then add hip opening and forward folding yoga asanas
(postures), which inspire peaceful relaxation and calm the mind. Move through the whole sequence slowly and mindfully. Take your time and relax in each pose.
1. Start in a seated position, and gently stretch your neck and shoulders. This will help to move excess vata out of these areas of the body. You will feel it as tension release and maybe a little popping and cracking.... GET THE FULL PRACTICE
This week, according to Statistic Brain
, 45% of Americans will make a New Year's Resolution, and only 8% will actually achieve it. The studies also report that "People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make them." Don't be discouraged from setting intentions. This year, let one of those mystical, accomplished 8% be YOU!
Join the Resolution Revolution to recalibrate your thinking for success!
Take a tip from the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra
and set a sankalpa
(declaration of purpose), following the 4P's for a successful sankalpa:Your sankalpa must be personal: You generously share energy with others throughout the year. Allow yourself this time to concentrate on your own personal development. After all, shifts in your behavior can only stem from changes in your thinking...in YOUR own citta (psyche).
Make your sankalpa powerful: Remember, you already ARE everything you are hoping to be. You already HAVE all the power you need to live your life to the fullest. You don't need to "attract" what you are seeking to find. You simply must remember that you already have it, as part and particle of the Infinite.
Use language (even from your inner voice) that is positive: if you tell yourself "I won't ever smoke another cigarette!" what your monkey mind hears is "smoke another cigarette." Instead, solidify positive behavior with positive messages, such as: "I honor myself with a healthy, non-toxic lifestyle."
And lastly, make your intention a pithy one. My Yoga Nidra teacher, Sreedevi Bringi, suggests using no more than 8 words to identify your sankalpa. When typing your heart's intention on the tablet of your brain, less is definitely more—especially with an already chattery citta.
Once you have established your sankalpa, write it down and memorize it. Then make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and listen to the following Yoga Nidra practice for a good healthy dose of positive brain-washing.
Each moment is a new opportunity to make important, beautiful and LASTING changes.
The Resolution Revolution is Now!