How to make 2018 the most badass yet

As a cup-is-always-half-full, silver-lining, eternal-optimist type of gal, the phrase NEW YEAR, NEW YOU makes me cringe.  

As much as I love the idea of a New Year, New You, from an Eastern Medicine perspective, it’s misleading and impossible.   It implies you haven’t been YOU all this time in 2015, 2016, 2017…and poof, all of a sudden 2018, here I am, new and improved.  You don’t just wake up one morning a new person. While that might have worked for Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, that is not reality and we all know that.  Yes, you may wake one morning with a new attitude; but a new attitude is not a new you.  A new attitude is the same YOU with a new attitude.  

But let’s stay optimistic here and focus on the motivating intention of making 2018 you the person you know you want to be, dream of being, the “real you” inside, without all the BS.  How you doing with that?  I hope you’re doing awesome, staying motivated, and committed more than ever to make 2018 your year.  However, if your New Year’s resolution is slowly falling to the “well maybe next year” priority list, keep reading.  You’re not alone for many reasons.  Below, I’ll share my 5 reasons why I don’t like this impossible phrase, but I’ll also share 5 ways to mentally prepare yourself if you truly are ready to make 2018 the biggest, the brightest, the most badass year yet.

So here are the reasons the NEW YEAR NEW YOU is misleading and makes me want to shake my computer every time I read it:

  1. A NEW YOU DOESN’T EXIST.  It’s an illusion.  You have always been you.  In yoga lingo, we call this your “True Nature.” Most of us are just out of touch or disconnected with our “True Nature.”  And to reconnect with that True Nature–what I believe the saying “New You” is trying to get at–doesn’t just happen when the clock hits midnight, or when you lose weight, or when you can do a handstand, or make your clothes look like you jumped straight out of Pinterest.  
  2. STARTING A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION IN JANUARY IS OUT OF ALIGNMENT WITH THE RHYTHMS OF NATURE.  And yes, no matter which way you look at it, you are part of nature.  January in the Northern Hemisphere is the dead of winter.  In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the middle of summer.  Neither of those times are conducive to truly making and sticking to a plan.  Winter is all about self-care, slowing down, and reflection.  Summer is about playing, partying, firing up your life, and shining brightly.  Hard to follow-through with new plans when everything about you is wanting to hibernate (north) or play and have fun (south). Truly, the best time to set a resolution or new year plan would be in SPRINGTIME!   If you want to stay in touch for my Integrated Yoga and Eastern Medicine Springtime workshop (online and in-person), make sure to sign-up for my Instragram feed and newsletter.
  3. NEW YEAR, NEW YOU MARKETING ASKS YOU TO THINK OF YOURSELF AS LESS THAN WHOLE.  In some way, you are broken and you need to be fixed.  This type of messaging is fear-based.  Sadly, it works.  For the majority of people, it’s easier to believe “there’s something wrong with me” or “I’m not good enough” so therefore, I need to buy this product or that program to make myself new.  Again, your inner-YOU is not broken, it’s totally enough, and doesn’t need fixing.  Your inner-YOU may be covered by years of bad habits, trauma, unfavorable experiences, and lack of self-care but all that, all those layers are not YOU.  The real you, under all that, is still there and is waiting for you to uncover, rediscover, and love it like you do your phone and gadgets.  
  4. MOST PEOPLE WANT A QUICK FIX.  Most people don’t want to take responsibility for their own life. [sigh] Most people want a quick fix, someone to tell them what to do, how to do it, and what it should feel like.  Truth is, only YOU know if it’s working for YOU!  Life is not like a yoga class.  You don’t just show up, listen to a teacher, totally trust them 100%, feel good, and say “I’m fixed.”  If it were that easy, every yoga teacher would be out of work.  Life is not a quick fix.  It’s a journey.
  5. PEOPLE DON’T MAKE SELF-CARE A PRIORITY.  Most people don’t want to do the work it takes to uncover their True Nature.  Uncovering the layers of bullshit, drama, habits, guilts, fear, beliefs is exhausting…but also exhilarating.  You do the work because the work is the most important thing you can do for yourself, your family, your community, and the global family.  Living in your True Nature is the most important work you can do in this life.  

So maybe you’re like, but yeah, yeah, that isssss me.  Everything above.  Yes, that’s where I am.  I’m ready for all that.  I want to do the work.  I’m tired of hiding.  I know there is a me inside just waiting to be uncovered from all the dust that has slowly built up.  If this is you, AWESOME! Amazing!  Get it. 2018 is your year!  Don’t let any amount of my realism get in your way.  Here is a reality check for truly taking on this New Year, New You mindset, so when February 1 rolls around, you’re still motivated and when January 1 rolls around next year you can look back and think, “wowwwww, that was quite a year.  I DO feel like a new me, a version of me that’s more ME than ever before.

  1. STAY COMMITTED.  MAKE YOURSELF A PRIORITY.  Ask yourself daily, “Do I really want to uncover the real ME that has always been inside?” Meaning, do you really want to do the work: physical, mental, emotional, digging up the past, learning new habits while ditching old ones, making new relationships, letting go of patterns and people who no longer align with who you are?  You know, really doing the work to uncover the layers of what you believe, why you believe it, and ready to think, act, create, and grow based on who YOU are, not what someone told you to be?
  2. DON’T GET ATTACHED TO THE UPS AND DOWNS.  It’s not all golden rays of sunshine and happy Care Bear clouds.  The process, the journey (not the destination), the work (possibly the most important work you’ll ever be a part of), is a rollercoaster.  This rollercoaster is what most people jump off of at some point thinking, wtf, this is not what I thought it would be like.  But really, what did you think it was going to be like?  Be ready for life to feel like it got turned upside down, shaken, kicked, and rattled…but believe me–IT IS WORTH IT.  YOU ARE WORTH IT!  Also be ready for some really high times too.  Like some of the most elated, unforgettable feelings of freedom, bliss, love, relaxation to name a few. Don’t get attached to these either.  Life is always up and down, like rollercoasters or waves.  What goes up, must come down, and luckily it will go up again–as long as we don’t get attached to these ups and downs.
  3. FIND SUPPORT.  Ask for help and seek support from friends and professionals in areas you find challenging.  For years I tried to do this “life journey business” on my own.  I barely talked to anyone about it.  I used my mat, my journal, and my escapism (literally to the middle of the Pacific) to try and figure it all out myself.  It was about 5-6 years into this path that I really truly realized, I didn’t have to do this on my own, there were a LOT of other people who shared similar experiences and it was actually not as scary, frientening, and tough when I reached out and allowed my life to be surrounded by people, friends, and health care providers who I TRUSTED with my stories, experiences, and body.  With this said…
  4. BE WILLING TO CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIORS.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.  Be open to trying new modalities.  Ask friends and other mentors if they have personal recommendations for supportive health care providers.  Thinking outside the box might mean changing your Primary Care provider, or consider seeing a Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Physical Therapist, Private yoga classes, Reiki healer, Sound therapy, Homeopathy.  With this said…
  5. YOU’RE WORTH IT! Your health, your physical, mental, emotional, health and wellness, are priceless.  Just because your insurance doesn’t cover it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the types of treatment or support you need.  You may have to pay out of pocket to get what works for you.  Sometimes this requires creative money planning and a re-evaluation of financial priorities.  You might find excuses not to pay out of pocket because you don’t believe you are “worth it.”  Believe me, YOU ARE!  Without you, no amount of money or success in your life matters.  Your physical and mental presence is the most priceless asset you have.

New You really means a new attitude and commitment to finding time every day to peel back the layers of all the bullshit, drama, and habits that limit your ability see, think, feel clear, and to heal the parts that feel broken or out of alignment.  It requires taking “me” time every day (some days more than others) to do the work. So, I don’t mean to burst your New Year Resolution bubble if you’ve been flying high on the global energy created by the changing of a year, but I do hope you find more truth and lasting motivation for your New Year mindset.  

From my heart to yours…Aloha & Namaste

 

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Gratitude as an Act of Devotion

When the hustle and bustle of the holiday season grabs you by the arm, neck, throat, or well, you know what, rather than fight back, smile at it this year and say “Thank you.”

Huh? Thank you???

Yep, “Thank You!” with a big smile of course.

With this week being Thanksgiving we are constantly being reminded to be grateful. I love it! A week where everyone is practicing and engaging in yoga. Alright, I have to admit, I tend to view my life in terms of Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, the five elements, the eight limbs of yoga or Vedic wisdom. That’s just how I see things.

http://haunanichong.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/gratitude-sunset.jpgIshvara Pranidhana is a sanskrit term used and practiced a lot in yoga. It means “Devotion to Supreme God.” It’s one of the Niyamas, or personal observances, outlined in the Yoga Sutras by Pantanjali. If the word “God” freaks you out, like it did me for many decades, use a term that does resonate with you like “Love,” “the Universe,” “Divine,” “Nature” or “All Things.” One of the easiest ways to practice Ishvara Pranidhana is by feeling, being, and acknowledging gratitude in your life. When we truly feel and share our gratitude internally and externally, magic happens all around–improved energy, better sleep, people treat us better, random acts of kindness come out of nowhere (and really, they aren’t so random). Don’t believe me?

My mom just shared a story with me the other day. She travels a lot for work and got stuck on the east coast due to a broken airplane part. Her flight to San Francisco was delayed for 48 hours. While the majority of the people were kicking and screaming over the situation, she decided to take another approach. She surrendered to the situation and decided to take the perspective that “everybody is trying to fix the situation (flight mechanics, customer service representatives, etc). I should be grateful for all these people working to get me home safely.” While others were shouting and yelling at the ticket agents, she decided to smile and let them know she was thankful for their hard work. Just by expressing her sincere gratitude, not getting upset or blaming the people who were trying to help her get home sooner, she was rerouted and given a first class seat for no extra fee. Presto! A random gift based in gratitude.

Granted, I’m an optimist, but I know my life runs much more smoothly when I’m not fighting myself, the urge to be somewhere else (even if it’s in a long line at the store) or needing something else. I’ve learned through the years that if I ditch the December Downers, self-pity parties and let the Frantic Shopper or Family Drama Queen take a vacation, my life is so much richer and easy.

http://haunanichong.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/holiday-dinner-smiles.jpgThis holiday season, feel the feeling of gratitude and find gratitude in all aspects of your life (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual). You can express gratitude inwardly and silently or outwardly through gestures and words. Express your gratitude outwardly by smiling to yourself for no reason, smiling at strangers, listening to a friend, sibling, or person on the street who always tries to start a conversation with you. Inwardly, practice gratitude through how you perceive yourself, your state of mind as you move through the airport, cash register, and sitting with family. Most importantly, share your gratitude to the Universe, or Divine, by saying “thank you” and truly feel this gratitude in every cell of your being. When we acknowledge all the gifts and blessings in our life the Universe responds with “You’re welcome.” Don’t be surprised if “You’re welcome” is an unexpected gift you’ve been patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for.

What “yoga is” to me.

At some point during my studies in Yoga, Oriental Medicine, Hawaiian Healing and Ayurveda a teacher once shared with me, “Until you can see Love in all things, until you can Love all people, you’re not ready to practice this medicine.”  I remember being floored, my gut turned inside out (at the time, not good for my IBS, which I’m happy to share is completely healed through Natural Medicine), my dreams dashed for a second, but my heart was racing and the internal me was shouting “Yes, Yes, Yes!”  This was a moment in time when I realized I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

Of all the modalities I have studied, in my own heart I consider them all a form and practice of Yoga.  Yoga, in the more general sense of “unification of the present,” is a path to seeing, feeling, hearing, observing and being connected to all things.

In an attempt to bring more clarity to what this means for me in a practical sense, I want to share what yoga is to me.

Yoga is…

Uniting the body, mind, emotions and spirit with the breath of all life.

A breath of life that eventually shows its identity of all things to be LOVE.

Feeling the breath of life breath you.

Where challenges become opportunities to grow and expand our boundaries, and deepen our relationship and understanding of God, of Love.

Hearing the sound of your own heart’s song in the stillness of your mind, and then living in accordance to your authentic heart song, without inhibition.

Choosing Love first.

Forgiving.

Seeing Transformation as a Way of Life.

Recognizing the interconnectedness of ALL life, including your self and choosing to live in HARMONY, in BALANCE, and with RESPECT for all things.

LOVING yourself, recognizing that before you can truly Love another, you must first begin to Love yourself.

The art of remembering, returning to your own Heart Light and refusing to let others tell you otherwise.

Yoga is YOU…You were born from yoga, born into yoga, and will die in yoga.  Yoga is your, his, her, my true nature.  The stillness of the mind simply reminds us of our true nature and our true nature is experienced in Yoga.

Asian Medicine Wisdom for Autumn

It’s Autumn which means several things in my world.  Autumn is a wonderful transitional season.  The mornings begin to have a nice crisp in the air once again that just screams to the lungs…Wake up!   And as soon as I take in a deep breath, my body responds with AAAAH!  Oh Autumn, how I love thee.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a.k.a TCM, Autumn is correlated to the element of Metal.  For all you non-TCM geeks, without even having to try to figure out what that means just consider what the qualities of metal are.  Don’t give yourself an aneurysm thinking about it.  Just consider.  Let me get you started.  Metal is ___(fill in adjective here)______________.  Voila!  Now you can begin to relate to the season of Autumn more personally.  Consider how these qualities apply to your own life, your relationships, mental state, habits, or more importantly how you can use these qualities to bring more balance in your life, i.e. cutting things out of your life that no longer serve you or help you to be the best you can be.

Yes, Autumn, as metal, is more sharp or cutting than the playful energy of summer.  Things all around us begin to show their life’s cycle: wilting, withering, changing colors, falling off trees.  Woah woah waoh, not to get you depressed.  This is a natural cycle and part of your own nature of being.  Asian Medicine is all about celebrating the nature of things and since YOU ARE A PART OF nature, this means celebrating YOU!  This is the perfect time to allow what needs to naturally die away, go.  Let go.  The nature of Metal.  AND when we let go, that creates space allowing for the opposite to occur…receptivity or filling.

More TCM geeky stuff that you should know is the metal element is connected with the Lungs and Large Intestine.  The yin and yang organs of receptivity and letting go.  These images and connections become the perfect guidelines for the natural processes in our own life, no?

In Ayurveda, Autumn is associated with the dosha, or imbalances, of Vata.  Vata is represented by the elements of Air and Space just like the Lungs and Large Intestine.  In fact, the house of Vata is the…drum roll please…Large Intestine.  Coincidence?  Never is.  More like Divine connection!  At this time of the year, it is natural for things in our lives to become irregular, mobile, quick, dry, cold, light, and rough.  Not just on a physical level (lungs and large intestine) but at the mental/emotional level as well.  Both TCM and Ayurveda give us guidelines of how to live with the seasons and not allow these qualities to take over too much and create dis-ease or illness.

During the change of the seasons, Vata, the energy of movement, is predominant. It’s important to avoid excesses in all areas of your life at this time.  Breathing exercises and meditation are important to practice every day.  Begin packing a scarf or top-layer with you every time you leave the house, just in case the weather shifts.  When the weather gets windy, protect your neck.  Most importantly, nurture moderation and stress-free living to keep the immune system functioning at its peak performance.

General food guidelines to follow at this time of the year include:
1) Eat foods that are sweet (whole grains, not cookies), sour & salty (rock salt, not potato chips)
2) Limit the intake of spicy, raw, cold, and light foods. i.e. cold salads, sushi, and cold bean salads.
3) Enjoy warm, cooked foods, a variety of proteins, and healthy fats.

Consider, sipping on the following Vata Balancing Tea throughout the day to help make the transition of the seasons easier on the mind and body.

Ingredients:
1C water
3 deep breaths
1 Intention of “Balance”
1/4 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ajwain (available at most local Natural Food store)
sweetener (optional): sucanat, rice syrup

Directions:
Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add spices. Cover and steep, or use a coffee/tea press, for 3-5 minutes. Sweeten to taste & serve. Serves 1.

Enjoy with balance and the intention of letting go those things in your life (thoughts, habits, relationships) that no longer serve you while being more receptive, or filling your life with things that DO serve you. This is Autumn! Enjoy.

Aloha & Namaste

To learn more specifically about your personal constitution and what foods, spices, beverages, breathing exercises and physical exercises or yoga asana are best to bring your body and mind into balance, call or e-mail Haunani today to schedule your private 1-to-1 session.

You are the difference!

Another blog discovered in my archives from January 10, 2010.

About two years ago, I was sitting with a close group of soul-sisters who are dedicated, beautiful, and ridiculously funny Change Leaders from the non-profit organization, Shakti Rising, in San Diego.  It was during a fun night of honoring the sacred feminine, speaking our Dharma, and uplifting each other to greatness, that I was introduced to this quote by Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

We used this quote to inspire, thank, and remind the 100 volunteers that help run Shakti Rising that each person’s efforts were truly appreciated for the greater good of All.

As I do with most inspirational quotes, I place them on my altar.  This quote, in particular, I placed on my refrigerator next to the picture of Paramahansa Yogananda, Gandhiji, my family, and the Dalai Lama (the second altar in my house that reminds me of my abundant life each time I eat).  Each day reminding me that my thoughts, my actions, my words, my intentions are somehow in someway making a difference.  And if not in someone else’s life, at least in the experience of Love (God, Allah, Spirit, you name it)  flowing through ME in this body, this time around.

Recently this bright yellow reminder has been speaking to me differently.  It’s reminding me that transformation isn’t just possible, but that it is happening.  So, I want to share my “same-same but different” version with you as a source of inspiration, remembrance, and motivation.   A reminder of how AMAZING YOU ARE and how each and every one of your actions, interactions, and intentions are truly making a difference TODAY.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and passionate people can and will change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

Here’s to being YOU…thoughtful and passionate, willing and able!!!  Have a wonderful day.

Aloha & Namaste

Computer Age or Human Age?

Another blog I wrote on February 15, 2008.  It seems just as relevant now as before, except technology has advanced to the nth degree.  May you find some “aha” moments nonetheless.

Ancient Wisdom reminds us, “what we see on the outside is a direct mirror reflection of the inside.

I sat on a Friday night, tonight, February 15, 2008, thinking about this concept.

As a yogi, I find myself in deep contemplation often.  Where most of my peers in their late 20’s are off drinking at a bar, dancing, or getting ready for the night at 8:30 pm, I’m already preparing for bed.  I’d rather wake early to the sound of silence then stay out late in the sound of chaos.  Back to the point, so here I am Friday night reflecting on how the outside world is TRULY a direct reflection of the inside world of us, each human being.

I began to marvel at how wonderful the Internet and E-mail system has become.  How amazingly fast and efficient it is.  Click click click and I have a whole dissertation sent across the globe.  Click Click Click and I have music produced by a friend in France playing on my computer.  WOW!

Continuing to read Jeffrey Armstrong’s newest book Karma, The Ancient Science of Cause and Effect it became so clear and obvious to me how the Computer Age is truly a direct reflection in EVERY WAY of the current Human Age.

The Internet, or inner-net, of energy frequencies and bundles of energy and information streaming through space and time, from our home computers and from our computers we call bodies.  Information sent from one place to another, communicating long distances from brain to foot, foot to brain in milliseconds.  The Internet, aka “the Web”, is a direct reflection of the internal web within us.  The web of energy channels, nadis, (72,000 in all), acupressure meridians, energy points like satellites or signal receivers, vortexes of swirling energy that concentrate energy into particular areas.  The Web is our web.  We can take this one step further to extend our computer based Internet Web to that of the Web of Consciousness of All That Is.  The omnipresent Web of Consciousness that knows All and is available to anyone who chooses to tap into its frequencies…sound familiar to computer talk?

In October of 2005 I took a Healing course called Total Body Modification.  Although I never became a proficient practitioner of it, mostly because it was like learning HTML Coding (something I didn’t want to invest my energy into at the time), I definitely understood and believed the profound healing impact it had on the human bodies (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual).  Not only because it made sense to me but also because I could feel and experience the healing that took place when it was done on me.  Throughout this training the body was continually being compared to a computer.  Our physical body was the hard drive, the brain the internal processor, the heart the software, conductors and silicon connectors our energy channels.  It made perfect sense in a not so traditional way.  I got it.  How simple I thought, if a person can understand computers and their workings, they can understand the human body.  If they can take apart and put a computer back together, they could probably be an incredible healer.  Of course, in the back of my mind this gave me hope that my computer engineer brother who has been calling me his “hippy sister who’s gone woo-wooo” might come around to “get” me when he heard this correlation.  Like I said, after that weekend training, I used TBM on a few people while the language and protocols were fresh in my mind.  But after awhile, like learning a foreign language, I didn’t use it and I began to lose the language.

But a major lesson was learned and a new paradigm of looking at the human body and its healing capabilities understood.  Here, two years later on this beautiful Friday night I began to understand TBM in a deeper light, with greater appreciation.

If we continue to look at our external world as a direct reflection of our inner-world, we can also understand more of our human evolution in the past ten to twenty years.  Most importantly how quickly we are evolving as a species, consciously and unconsciously.  Consciously it is very easy to see how quickly technology, especially the computer industry, has evolved.  It was just ten years ago that the Internet had entered the public school systems.  Twenty years ago, I remember our school opened its first computer lab.  Dot matrix screens with green or orange print, dot matrix printers, and the only game available was Frogger or Oregon Trail.  The Internet wasn’t even an everyday word until I was in high school.  Even then, most home computers were on dial-up modems.  Remember when it would take 5-10 minutes for your computer to warm-up and dial-in?

Today, we are seeing faster, smaller, more powerful computers every month.  Not only is the hardware advancing but the software is becoming more complicated, more user friendly, and the diversity of programs is unthinkable as to ten years ago.  Computer viruses are becoming more prevalent, harder to track and able to destroy more information than ever before.  Sound familiar?  Our bodies are two upgrading, adapting, taking on more energy and changes than every before.  And like the Apple vs. IBM debate as to “stick with what I know computer” and not try the new one, we fight ourselves and deny change even if the other “sounds just as good.”  Internally struggling to stay with the comfort zone of what I “know,” refusing to even consider changing to another computer or different lifestyle.  In the process creating more stress or denying the inevitable change, becoming attached to something that is being outdated, thus our software systems begin to show signs of wear and tear…cancer, hypertension, migraine headaches, repetitive injuries.  We are definitely in a mirroring stage of existence.

While viruses become more and more ramped, at the same time the anti-virus programs, firewalls, computers that filter Junk and pop-ups are also growing at an astounding rate to keep up with the “negative” aspects of computers.  As a “healer” I can see a direct reflection of the number of Healers who have come out of their closet to step into their role as a healer in the past five to ten years.  Different modalities, creative, intuitive, channeled, and integrative methods of healing the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual body spring up every week.  They all work, and like anti-virus software, are becoming more and more powerful against the unforeseen virus.  Becoming more preventative in nature rather than curative.

Another direct reflection of the Computer World as our own is the ongoing struggle between choosing to stick with our old computer systems that we grew up with or adapting new systems that are unknown but sound more reliable, efficient, and virus proof.  Where some people take the leap of faith of buying a new computer and totally different computing system without even thinking twice, typically the switch from IBM to Apple (a more virus preventative computer), there are those who still hold on with a strong hold to what they know because they don’t want to have to go through learning something new or changing what already “works” for them.  Again, does this sound familiar to our conscious evolving (or not evolving) groups of society?  Some people quickly adapting to change while there are those who refuse to think outside the old paradigm box of what makes them comfortable.  A critical difference, once again reflected in our growing computer world, is that we can’t deny the change any longer.  It’s happening whether we want it to or not.

Consciously we can see, even in our economic market, that computers, their workings, software, and components are changing faster than ever.  Our bodies, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual bodies are ALSO changing faster than ever.  At an unconscious level, the computer industry may think they are working to keep up with developing technology, but perhaps technology is attempting to keep up with changing and evolving human consciousness?  My altruism holds faith in the later.  They are one and the same, a direct reflection of each other.

At this critical, burgeoning time of human consciousness, we can choose to hold on and refuse to change to a new hardware, operating system, processor, and software because we fear change, the unknown and we’ve become to complacent and comfortable to learn something new thereby inducing stress, virus, and other conditions or dis-eases of our computing systems.  Or we can take a step towards the unknown, go with the flow of change and ask for an upgraded operating system, processor, and software that keep us up to date with the ever expanding possibilities thereby reducing undue stress and dis-ease in the body.  How do you want to live?  It’s up to you.

Going back to where this whole article began, if the outside world is a direct reflection of our inside world, what else can we learn about ourselves as evolving spirits on planet earth if we look outside?  Are you destroying yourself like our environment?  How much pollution and carbon emissions are you filling your body with or are you choosing new ways of living that reduce these chemical toxins?  Are you choosing to live and support spraying your food with toxic chemicals and pesticides the same way you spray your internal organs with pharmaceuticals and drugs?  Are you recycling because it makes you look good from the outside and it’s the fad thing to do, the way you try to do the new fad diet or health conscious trip because it makes you look like you care form the outside?  How do you really feel on the inside?  What steps are you truly living because you believe in it versus the things you do because it makes you look good?

Remember our outer world is a direct reflection of our inner-world.  I challenge you to look at the outside life in this manner and than reflect on your inner-self.  See a resemblance?  If not, it was fun to consider this point of view and to write this article.  You read this far, which means something caught your attention and I thank you for your precious time.  For those who have read this article and truly “get it” I thank you too for your time.  May our ever-changing world continue to inspire us to “Be the change we wish to see in the World.”

Aloha & Namaste

The Synergy of Yoga and Ayurveda

 

For thousands of years*, Yoga and Ayurveda have been used to heal, transform and balance the human body, mind, and thus, Spirit. Through globalization, both have spread worldwide assisting people in reclaiming their health and well-being by promoting daily practices to create health, rather than relying on a magic pill.  Both systems were suppressed in India during the British occupation but continued to live-on behind closed doors within households and particular spiritual leaders.  The reemergence of both practices is growing at a rapid rate worldwide.

Yoga and Ayurveda are intimately connected and often hard to separate.  Ayurveda is the healing and therapeutic branch of yoga, also known as Yoga Chikitsa.  Yoga is the spiritual aspect of Ayurveda.  Yoga as an individual practice is known as Yoga Sadhana.  When we use yoga as a medical therapy (i.e. when students come to yoga studios because they’ve been advised by a doctor or because of their own volition to find relief from stress, pain in the body, chronic backache, etc) this is traditionally considered Ayurveda.  In addition, the Ayurveda view of the mind and psychology stems from Yoga philosophy, thus making the practices and exercises for the mind the same.

While “yoga” has become a more integrated part of the western lexicon, Ayurveda still is yet to be discovered, or used, in the same way.  For Ayurveda practitioners like myself, this is both a blessing and a challenge.  A blessing because it means the competition is low and the potential number of people to educate is massive.  The challenge is…the same thing.  That is why Breathe. Connect. Be. was created.  To educate as many people as possible.  So stay tuned!

The Similarities between Yoga and Ayurveda:

  • Life sciences (study and practice of the human experience in relationship to other lives)
  • Acknowledges humans have an intimate connection with Nature
  • We are all connected and are endowed with life through a force and source of energy called Prana.
  • Wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential.
  • Providing guidelines on ideal daily practices, behaviors, exercises, proper use of the senses,
  • Health is the balanced and dynamic integration between our environment, body, mind, and spirit.
  • Mantra, or sound, are used to balance the mind.
  • When the whole body is balanced (body and mind), we become more at peace with ourselves (spirit) and the world around us.  From this state of internal well-being, you will naturally begin to make wiser choices for your livelihood.
  • There are four main goals of every human’s life: Dharma (purpose, duty), Artha (wealth, prosperity), Kama (desires) and Moksha (liberation).

The Differences:

  • Ayurveda provides guidelines on ideal diet per individual constitution and health conditions.  Yoga has general sweeping recommendations based on the principle observances (eight limbs) of yoga.
  • Ayurveda uses specific asana (postures) as therapy for illness and dis-ease.  Yoga uses asana to redirect energy in our bodies for spiritual awakening or self-realization.  As you might here in India, “same same but different.”
  • Ayurveda outlines a variety of aromatherapy, gem therapy and herbal remedies for illness and dis-ease.  Yoga does not.
  • Ayurveda is a complete system of medicine (refer to What is Ayurveda? blog).  Yoga is a path of spiritual awakening.  Through the path of yoga is deep healing…mostly because when you feel better you begin to make better choices.

In short, Ayurveda provides us daily, seasonal and age-specific guidelines on how to best live according to our Nature, or constitution.  Ayurveda’s main focus is balancing the physical body and mind.  Yoga’s main focus is balancing the mind and expanding the mind to discover deeper truths about one’s self.  When practiced together, they create a whole system of life science medicine which is practical for anyone, at any stage of health or life.

Examples of conditions transformed through the integration of Yoga and Ayurveda: Emotional conditions, chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, irritable bowl syndrome, acid-reflux disorder/GERD, headaches, migraine headaches, menstrual problems or irregularities, low energy, stress, hypertension, anger, anxiety, neuropathy, lifestyle diseases (diabetes type II, hypertension, obesity), dis-empowering life patterns and habits, underweight, joint pain, post-surgery care, poor concentration and depression.

Benefits of Yoga and Ayurveda:

  • Deep Relaxation
  • Reduced stress & tension
  • Increased self-esteem & confidence
  • Better coordination
  • Weight loss
  • Flexibility
  • Stronger bones and toned muscles
  • Overcoming limiting patterns in your life
  • Breaking habits that do not serve you in your Highest
  • Inner-Peace
  • Balance to your overall Life Knowing your inner Self more intimately
  • Becoming more connected with Nature and its cycles
  • Deeper understanding and living your Dharma (life’s purpose…again, an individual discovery only YOU can uncover)
  • Deeper understanding and integration of the four human goals: Dharma (purpose, duty), Artha (wealth, prosperity), Kama (desires) and Moksha (liberation).

*The fist written records of Ayurveda and Yoga date back to 3,000 BCE

References

Frawley, David.  Yoga & Ayurveda, Self-Healing and Self-Realization. Twin Lakes: Lotus Press, 1999. Print.

Frawley, David.  Ayurveda and the Mind, The Healing of Consciousness.  Twin Lakes: Lotus Press, 1996.  Print.

Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This is a reference work.  It is not meant for diagnosis or treatment and it is not substitute for consultation with a licensed health care professional.

 

What does it mean to be “Healthy”?

These days, “yoga” is a household term in the United States, while the term Ayurveda is still unknown.  Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, is also Sanskrit and means Science or Wisdom of Life.  It is the oldest and most complete holistic mind-body medicine still practiced on this planet.  The ancient texts and complete medical books of Ayurveda are over 5,000 years old!  Yes, even Chinese Medicine has its roots in Ayurveda.  Ayurveda and yoga are two of many ancient wisdom traditions that have laid the successful path of self discovery, awareness and transformation.   Together they are a complementary medical system that helps us to understand ourselves from all levels of existence: physical, emotional, mental, higher/spiritual self and Soul Self.  The image above is a visual guideline of this roadmap showing the interconnectedness between self and others and how your personal health and wellbeing can affect others.

Ayurveda gives us guidance and blue prints of what it means to be a Whole Being.  It is the same map that helps one to understand what it means to be healthy.  This road-map to wholeness and wellbeing is called “Swasthavritta” or the science of being established in one’s self.  Ayurveda acknowledges each person as an unique individual with different needs AND at the same time is part of a massive whole (like the image above).  Ayurveda celebrates the connection of physical, sensory, mental, spiritual AND social wellbeing!  Yes, you heard me right, SOCIAL wellbeing!  Recognizing that individual health is just the starting point and social health is a direct reflection of healthy people coming together in union, or yoga.

You might be asking yourself, “Established in one’s self?  Don’t I live with myself each day?”

True, however, are you at peace and acceptance with yourself each day?  Do you make mindful choices and decisions about food, beverage, recreation, medicine, work and relationships that support your Whole Being and, thus, your family and community’s wellbeing?  Do you know Who you are at the core of your being?  I truly believe that each person on this planet is here to understand this question and to discover it for him or herself.  According to Ayurveda, to be healthy means to have awareness and make choices that support and nurture your Whole Being—body, mind and spirit.

The concept of being established in one’s self as part of a medical system truly paves a way for a global paradigm shift in what it means to be healthy.  Healthy is not just being pain or disease free.  It’s more than that.  Healthy is swasthavritta, being established in one’s self.  Healthy is recognizing that each decision you make affects the whole, including your family and society’s wellbeing.  This ancient wisdom has many keys that can help unlock our current medical structure and evolve medicine to new horizons where people come first, not their disease.

I invite you to take a deeper look at the visual map of whole being, or well-being, above.  May you find many “aha!” moments, healing moments and inner-smiles as you begin to contemplate swasthavritta and your own life.

Aloha & Namaste.