Happy October! I love this time of year. I delight in the exquisite quality of the autumn light and the rich colors and textures of the natural world. I feel blessed to be an embodied being living on this beautiful planet. Enjoying the simple pleasures of my garden reminds me how blessed I am! I love the deep green kale, the orange pumpkins, red amaranth and quinoa, yellow sunflowers and pink and orange zinnias. I give thanks for the abundance in my life. Friends, family, yoga, healthy food, nature, community, love - what more could a person ask for?
Here is a collection of quotations to keep yourself in the flow of abundance this month!
Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into. Wayne Dyer
Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life. Wayne Dyer
Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level. Eileen Caddy
You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. Khalil Gibran
We stop looking to manifest abundance; we are abundance. Even without a job. Even when you give away the majority of what you create. Even when there is no one but ourselves standing at the finish line to thank us for doing out part to help save the world. Robin Rice
Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing. Alexander Solzehnitsyn
Giving thanks for abundance is sweeter than the abundance itself. Meylana Rumi
Gratitude is the open door to abundance. Unknown
Embracing Discipline as a Rite of Fall
I love the "lazy" days of summer where we leave behind our "busy-ness" to go on vacation, pick berries or do nothing at all. I believe these "lazy" times actually are rich fallow periods that give rise to our dreams and aspirations. Often we have to leave our "busy-ness" behind and embrace "laziness" to hear the call of these dreams. After a long day of being on the lake or the beach, doing nothing one could call "productive", there is sometimes a small feeling of discontent that sneaks in, a divine discontent, a little something that nudges us to look at our lives and see if our lives are truly as we want them. These are fertile times that offer glimpses of our true purpose and deepest desires. These are the times when we say to ourselves, "I really should get back to doing my art, my yoga, my music, my writing (you fill in the blank) or I really do want to start a new project, a new study or even a new career.
So, as September rolls around, I am only too happy to embrace routine, structure and discipline. Yes, discipline. My teacher John Friend says, "Discipline is discipleship to something greater," That "something greater" is our dreams and deepest longings. It takes great discipline to actualize them. Discipline is applying the necessary constraints that allow us to focus our energies and to expand and actualize our dreams.
In Anusara Yoga, the principle of alignment that corresponds to discipline is Muscle Energy. Muscle Energy is the physical energy of contracting, of drawing in from the extremities to the core, so that our bodies become stable and contained. From the stable core, the energy can then expand outwards, allowing the expression of the pose to become bigger and more vibrant. So, it is with discipline in any area of our lives. When we draw in and focus our energies, we create a container from which something greater can then emerge and expand.
As September rolls in, ask yourself, "What are my dreams and deepest longings? What am I committed to beginning or re-visiting this fall?" Listen to the answers of your heart and commit yourself to heeding them. Something beautiful and wonderful is sure to emerge!
This comes from my August 2009 newsletter.
The Sweetness of a Peach
Summer, and indeed August, is the time when Nature verily beckons to us to leave behind our "work" and to revel in her beauty and fullness. In fact, it is an act of ingratitude if we don't stop to gaze at the sunflowers and green beans, noticing how much they have grown since yesterday, to wade into a cool stream, to admire the pink light of the sunset, and to taste the sweetness of a ripe peach. To live fully is to appreciate the magnificence of life. This is our birthright and our greatest joy.
The yoga path views embodiment as a rare gift. Cultivating an awareness of this gift and a remembrance and recognition of ourselves as a part of this Magnificence is the reason for practicing yoga. The peach wants to reveal to us its sweetness, wants us to taste it.
May your yoga practice reveal to your your own sweetness, inviting you in to a deeper relationship with yourself and with life!
This comes from my July 2009 newsletter.
Yoga in all its many forms is an invitation to step into the magnificent "current which is traditionally called Grace", says Paul Muller Ortega, renowned academic scholar of Indian religion and pracitioner of Tantric Yoga. Through the practice of yoga, we open up to something that is bigger than ourselves, yet is intrinsic to our very being. "What is that force that expresses itself as everything and as me?" asked Paul to me and the other 60 participants that sat with him in satsang, "open eyed contemplation" during Summer Solstice weekend last month. Paul stated that yoga practice is "intelligent alignment with an already moving force" and that connecting with this force or current, gives us access to a never-ending source of abundance. He told us that this opportunity and experience is not just for a rare few, but that tapping into this current and learning to live from this place is an absolutely essential process of being human. This process is not meant to take us out of this material world, but instead to plug more fully into the very lives we are already living and to live our lives with a greater sense of aliveness, energized focus and bliss.
We may access this current through various practices, including asana and meditation. In yoga asana, we learn to align with this current through the medium of our physical bodies. We begin the practice by softening and and opening to this flow of grace, to pure potentiality. From this receptive place, we hone our alignment with this moving force. When we engage our muscles and draw them toward our core, it is like creating the strong banks of a river to contain the current. Then from our strong and steady core, we energetically expand from our core and merge with this current called Grace, to experience balance, vitality and bliss.
As such yoga is always an invitation to dive into our true nature and come home. This month, I invite you to join me in this journey. Step into the current and align with the flow!
This post comes from my June 2009 newsletter.
All things move in cycles. As living, breathing beings on this planet, we are part of the greater pulsation of life itself. Expansion and contraction are like the in-breath and the out-breath - one cannot occur without the other. Winter to Summer, darkness to light, we dance in the balance of these complementary forces. The name "hatha" yoga reflects this, "ha" means sun in Sanskrit and "tha" means moon. The dance of hatha yoga is to move and live in alignment and harmony with the intrinsic cycles of nature.
As the summer solstice approaches, and the sun warms our hemisphere of planet, all living organisms move toward full expansion. Expansion is akin to the inhalation. Summer Solstice is the very top of the inhalation, the fullness of light and expansion. Here, there is a pause, stillness, and heightened perception. Around the world, Summer Solstice is honored with celebrations and rituals to honor the sun.
Om, Surya! Bow to the sun! How will you honor this cycle of light and expansion this month? I recommend practicing yoga out of doors. Practice Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) on a nice piece of grass, an outdoor deck or at the beach! Open yourself up to the forces of nature and find your perfect alignment and deepest presence in each pulsating breath.
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach yoga instructor.