power in the pause

Winter Solstice Meditation

According to many religious-spiritual traditions, the Winter Solstice symbolizes a time for important festivals and observances to welcome stillness, silence, gratitude, blessings, and reflection. Mindful meditation during the Winter Solstice enhances insight and sets intention for the year to come. This is the perfect time to optimize on positive opportunities and increase awareness.

Here are some tips on balancing your energy through meditation during this winter:

Think positively

Keep your energy happy and uplifting – whether in the car, at home, or at work, spend at least five minutes of the day being mindful of the beauty that is around you.

Keep yourself hydrated

Drinking water is the best way to detoxify the waste in the body, flushing out negativity so that positivity can enter in during your meditation.

Keep a list of goals or prayers

Spend some time imagining your dreams or goals. Try writing them down on paper, or make a “vision board” and place it some where you can view it daily. Spending time each day focusing on your dreams and goals during meditation can amplify the outcome.

catspawC2Solo meditation or Group mediation

The beauty of meditation is that you can do it alone in the sacred space of your home, or you can connect with other like-minded friends to meditate with in a group setting. Whether your preferences are alone or with a group, meditation creates a stillness that allows us to look inward for growth and development.

Enjoy this winter! Let it be a time of opportunity and manifestation. For more tips on meditation, please contact us

Help Creativity Flow

Are you working on a new project, or embarking on a new creative adventure? Devoting some time to balance your 2nd Chakra may help! This chakra is also known as the sacral chakra, and is found in the pelvic area. It is associated with creativity, passion  and the color is orange.

When the 2nd chakra is in balance, you’ll feel joy, abundance, and wellnesspaprika. If it is out of balance you may feel fear, depression, or struggle with addiction. Through yoga and meditation, you can maintain or restore balance to this chakra, and help creativity flow!

Yoga poses for the sacral chakra focus on the pelvic area. Since the chakra is associated with creativity and passion, be playful with these poses. Play some fun music, or perform the poses as you imagine a child would. Sit in an easy cross-legged pose and place your hands on knees. Begin to rotate the pelvis in clockwise circles, allowing the spine and upper body to follow. Complete 5 or 6 circles in this direction and then reverse.

Next draw the soles of the feet together into butterfly pose and let your upper body fold forward, bringing the hands to rest wherever comfortable. Allow your heels to press into the pelvis, bringing the focus of the pose to that region.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother great 2nd chakra pose is cobra. Lay on your belly, press your hands into the mat beneath your shoulders. Raise your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat, and continue to press up using the hands as far as comfortable. Keep the focus on the second chakra by pressing the pelvis into the mat.

At the end of your practice, close with a meditation on the sound associated with the second chakra, vam – follow your breath. Breath in pause, exhale pause. 

Pause to help creativity flow.

mixed media of Svadisthana – 2nd Chakra by Diane Wright @sunjourneystudio

Transformation

As I think about the topic of this blog post – “Transformation” – it is a word that has carries a lot of weight. If you look up the word “transformation,” the dictionary says:

A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance: Its landscape has undergone a radical transformation.

The thesaurus offers these alternatives: change, alteration, mutation, conversion, metamorphosis, transfiguration, transmutation, sea change; revolution, overhaul; remodeling, reshaping, redoing, reconstruction, rebuilding, reorganization, rearrangement, reworking, renewal, revamp, remaking, remake; informal transmogrification, morphing.

In order to change, transform, or evolve, I believe we have to ask the question “where am I?”

There ardwright2e some obvious answers, like where you live, what color are your eyes etc. But let’s say you have lower back pain and you have heard that doing yoga is a benefit. This isn’t your first class; you have practiced yog
a in the past, but this is your first class in a long time. You step to your mat and the instructor says we are coming to a forward fold and you used to be able to touch your palms comfortably on the floor. Today, years later, you can barely get your hands to touch just below your knees. You hear the instructor say bend your knees to take the pressure off your low back, and you think to yourself, “How did I get so tight?”

 

That question might be interesting, but it’s not very useful. The more important question is, where do I want to be? To answer that question, you have to know where you are. That may seem like an obvious statement, but we struggle with this on a daily basis. I have heard countless times, “I used to be able to ….” But the fact is, we often transform in ways we don’t want and aren’t even aware of while it is happening. If we pause to ask, “Where am I,” and answer honestly and without judgment, we can discover changes that happened when we weren’t looking.

It is that process of asking questions and honestly answering them that prepares our mind, body and spirit to transform. If I have a student who wants to do a standing balance – say, half moon – but she doesn’t have good balance, we would start by using the wall for support. That’s where she is now; and who she wants to be. Transformation is not about what was; it is about what is.

When we come to our yoga mat or meditation cushion we get to prepare, practice, and transform what is going on in our lives.

Mixed Media – Return of the Sun by Diane Wright  on display in the Art of Nature show at  Mile Hi Church.

This blog first appear in SDIWorld (Spiritual Directors International)

 

 

 

Step up to the Plate

Do we really need an opportunity or crisis to step up to the plate?

stepuptotheplateOur theme for April is, “Practice Matters.”  Since the baseball season has just begun (Go, Rockies!) I thought I would use a baseball metaphor to make a point about the importance of practice.

When we begin yoga, we have to learn to come to our mat or meditation cushion even when we don’t want to.  We have to “step up to the plate.”  It is only when we show up at the appointed place for a specific purpose that we can see what will happen, whether it is a home run or a called third strike.

Stepping up to the plate does not mean, though, that we have to practice the same way, inning after inning, day after day.  Not every turn at bat requires swinging for the stands; sometimes a bunt is all you need.  It’s OK to mix it up; take a different route.  If, like lots of people, you have a job that has become boring, you have probably figured out ways to show up and make it interesting, so you don’t come home drained every day.  Even the sunrise isn’t the same every day.  So, stepping up to the plate can mean, try a new yoga pose or a different meditation that isn’t yet part of your practice.  But make a routine of coming to the mat and practicing something.  The more we practice – the more we take our turn at bat – the more we learn about ourselves. (Seth Godin book: It’s Your Turn and It’s Always Your Turn.

 Pause to step up to the …

Why Practice Matters

imagesPractice Matters.  Why it matters is the theme for April at Catspaw.

In yoga we refer to coming to our yoga mat as a practice.  When I come to my cushion (Catspaw Cushions of course;) I refer to it as a practice.  Just what exactly is the definition of practice?

Practice – noun

1. the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use 2. repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency

Practice – verb 

1. perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency  2carry out or perform training, rehearsal, repetition, routine, preparation.  

Whichever definition you use, practice is about showing up, even if you don’t want to.  I am not suggesting mindlessly going through life, but I am suggesting that you participate in your life.
Chewy_Jumbo_Chocolate_Chip_Cookies-close-580It seems like a simple formula or recipe.

You want to make that ardha-chandrasanadelicious chocolate chip cookie, or come to a balanced and open Half-moon – Ardha Chandrasana?  You can’t do either one if you don’t consistently do it.  We have to be like Fred the donut maker, from the old but well-loved commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts:  It’s time to make the Donuts.

Pause to practice.

 

 

Sign up here and we'll send you a "How to Zafu" (use a meditation cushion) cheat sheet!