The Power of Gratitude

To live in a constant state of gratitude is to be content with all-that-is.

Only when we make peace with all-that-is are we able to rise above, or overcome all that we consider to be negative in our lives. The situations within our own personal lives that we consider to be negative are only negative because we choose to perceive our circumstances through that lens. When we create a shift and recognize the reasons to be grateful for all that we have, we then begin to realize that where we are is actually pretty good!

Give to receive. That is law.

Whatever we give is what we shall receive. Whether it be love, judgement, fear, or gratitude; Whatever goes around comes around.

The power of living in a state of gratitude typically tends to be pretty underestimated. I’ve found this aspect of my life to be so important now that the last thing I say before I go to sleep and the first thing I say as soon as I wake up in the morning is “Thank you.

When we teach ourselves how to be thankful for all that we have, we also open ourselves up to allowing and receiving that same type of positive energy. If we only focus on the things that are “wrong” in our lives, then that focus will allow those types of experiences to continue. 

I know how easy it is to slip into the ego’s tendencies of complaining about all the things we claim to dislike in our lives. I know how easy it is to slip into thinking about how good our lives would be “If we just had…“, and I know how easy it is to slip into negative ways of thinking when things don’t go our way; But it is still our choice whether we want to focus on the positive or the negative.

It is, and always is, that simple of a decision.

Some ways that one can practice living in a constant state of gratitude are:

Starting a Gratitude Journal

This can vary from writing a list of at least 5 things you are grateful for every day, to keeping a journal dedicated to gratitude.

Saying “Thank You

This can be saying “Thank you,” right before you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up in the morning, to simply becoming aware of saying “Thank you,” to people in general.

For Every Complaint, Find Gratitude

Every time you catch yourself focusing on complaints, become aware of at least one thing that you are thankful for. Make the shift.

 

These are just a few examples that work for me, but like always, the list can go on forever and it is important to follow whatever path works for you personally. All my love and best wishes, thank you.

 

The Art of Being

There is no trying, only doing.

The moment one “tries” to be a certain way is the moment they get lost in the process. 

The beauty of simply being is that one doesn’t have to try or do anything. This is what some would call, “going with the flow”. It is the art of intentionally transitioning into a state of allowing and acceptance.

When we try to act, or even think a certain way, we are also unconsciously establishing the implication that we have to do in order to be. But we are already complete as we are.

Although it is important to recognize that through this natural process, awareness is powerful. Being is not simply giving up and falling into a state of unconsciousness, in fact, when we are in a state of being we are becoming more aligned with our higher consciousness. When we allow things to flow naturally, it is important to do so with the presence of awareness so we also become conscious of the things that were once running behind the scenes as unconscious patterns.

So being is not simply a doing in order to gain a temporary sense of relief from our lives, it is a way of livingOnce we begin to live life in this constant state of flow, it creates the shift into becoming our natural state. There is no more trying, there is no more “If I could just achieve this, I will finally be complete,” there just is, and that is a beautiful thing.

Practicing Unconditional Self-Love

When one begins to practice unconditionally loving them self, they are also nurturing a positive relationship between their mind, their body, and their being.

Unconditional love is not something that can be obtained, or a goal that is to be reached. Unconditional love is something that we as human-beings are constantly learning how to practice and cultivate within our own lives. 

So many of us often create limitations for ourselves by reinforcing self-constructed negative belief-systems, like patterns of self-doubt and self-judgement. In my personal experience, it feels much better to work towards letting go of such a mentality, and to give yourself a break.

One thing I have learned is the importance of making myself aware of the fact that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as I am able to perceive these mistakes as a lesson to learn from instead of a grievance with the power to hold me back from growing.

Instead of holding such high exceptions for ourselves, as if we’re not human-beings with imperfections, we should work towards being more compassionate and understanding towards ourselves, as we can then more genuinely express compassion and understanding towards others.

It is not selfish to prioritize yourself; if anything, once one practices loving them self unconditionally, they can then radiate that love to others,  and share it with whomever they decide to share it with.

You are already complete as you are, you don’t need any external validation to determine your self-worth, and that is truth. ♥

Patience, forgiveness, nourishment, making peace with being alone, a nice warm bath; self-love takes many forms, but at the end of the day, it simply comes down to what works best for one personally, based on their own personal life-experiences.

Trust in whatever feels right for you, and everything else will begin to fall into place.

Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)

IN THIS POSE: Gravity is working to increase blood flow throughout the body as well as draining the lymphatic system. This pose also helps to strengthen the core and triceps.

Parts of the body to focus on as you practice this pose: 

  • NeckWhile doing this pose you want to make sure to not apply pressure to your neck, you should not be feeling any pain or tension. This is where the support from the hands and arms comes in; cup your hands around the back of your head for support, keeping your forearms resting firmly on the ground. Your weight should mainly be resting on your arms; at no point should the weight of your body be resting on your neck or spine, as this can result in pain or injury.
  • Triceps – In this pose, the triceps are mainly used to stabilize oneself, and as a means of control as you transition from the ground into the air. Along with the core, the triceps are also used to maintain balance and prevent oneself from falling backwards.
  • Core – The core is very much at work in this pose, the stronger your core is the easier it will be to stay balanced while in the air.
  • Spine – The spine is what controls the alignment in this pose. When the spine is kept vertically aligned, it will prevent one from falling while in the air.
  • Hamstrings and Glutes – The hamstrings and glutes are also at work when one is transitioning from the ground into the air. They are also at work when one is adjusting their legs in order to become in alignment with the spine as a means of balance.

The goal is to eventually be able to lift yourself up into this pose without jumping, by walking your legs up towards your torso and extending them up slowly.

If you are just starting out, it would be helpful to place a pillow or something soft on the ground behind you as you lift yourself up into this pose as a precaution in case you fall backwards.

It would also help to have someone else present to assist in lifting you up, and to be there to hold your legs in the air in case you lose your balance.

It is okay to jump off of the ground in order to extend your legs into the air, but it would be beneficial to work towards walking your legs up towards your torso and slowly lifting them up into a bent position before extension, as well as bringing them down slowly when coming out of the pose instead of allowing them to drop down abruptly.

Don’t forget to breathe and release tension through each step.

It is important though to not push oneself too far, as this can result in an injury such as compression. Only ever go as far as is comfortable for you, you should not feel any pain when doing these poses.  

And as always, try not to make perfection the enemy of progress.

Breaking the Karmic Chain of Action and Reaction

UB Karmic Chain

The ongoing cycle of suffering and violence can never be broken with more suffering and violence.

It is no surprise that violence brings nothing but suffering into this world; whether it be through war and abuse of power, or violence within our own homes. My mom always used to tell me, “hurt people hurt people,” a line which has stuck with me to this day.

When someone hurts us, our immediate reaction is usually to hurt the other person back in defense (although really one is just defending a mental construct that they identify with within their own mind, but that’s besides the point). This relates closely to the principle of the Law of Retaliation, or “an eye for an eye.” But like Mahatma Gandhi said, “an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Now this is not to say that we should take violence from others, but rather learn how to become nonreactive towards it. When we come from a place of non-reactivity, from a place of inner peace, we then hold the power to break the cycle of violence and suffering instead of contributing to it.  We then become the impact for positive change just by living in that state of mind.

If we all came from a place of peace and love, to promote progress instead of the “us” versus “them” mentality, we could achieve great things in this world, beautiful things. If we focused on building and bringing each other up instead of attacking and pulling each other down, so much unnecessary suffering could be avoided, and there would be no limit to the things that we could create in this world, as well as the experiences we could  create in our own lives.

So from the words of Yoko Ono and John Lennon, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” (click here to view the video)

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

During these chaotic and unpredictable times occurring in our world right now, it would be beneficial for anyone to have some kind of practice or routine to ground oneself, instead of allowing oneself to gravitate towards and feed into fear and negativity.

Every individual has the power to make a difference in this world simply by living from a state of higher consciousness, and being a conduit for peace, love, and positivity for all of humanity. We all have the choice of whether we want to bring healing or suffering into this world, but in order to radiate positive, loving, and healing energy towards others, we must first love and heal ourselves.

Yoga is a simple and efficient grounding technique that has been around for ages.

I do a series of simple stretches every night before I go to sleep to ground and align myself, and because it helps me to release any tension being held in my physical body.  One of my favorite poses that I do every night is Standing Forward Bend, as well as West Stretch Pose (or what some would call Seated Forward Bend) which has made doing a full Standing Forward Bend much easier for me.

STRETCHES: Hamstrings, Spine, Calves, and Glutes

WEST STRETCH POSE (Paschimottanasana): West Stretch Pose is basically the same pose as Standing Forward Bend, except one is sitting down, so gravity is not the main focus as it is in Standing Forward Bend. Practicing this pose every night will help to stretch out one’s hamstrings and glutes, which can often be a tight area for most people. Stretching these areas will also help to make it easier and work towards doing a full Standing Forward Bend.

STANDING FORWARD BEND: Like most poses, Standing Forward Bend has variations so anyone can practice this pose and receive the benefits. With daily practice, one can eventually master doing a full Standing Forward Bend, which is not always an easy pose to do for people who are just starting out.

But mastering a pose is not the goal here, the goal is to feel good and take care of one’s body. Mastering of poses is just something that you obtain through the process.

In Standing Forward Bend, gravity is doing most of the work; lengthening and releasing tension in one’s neck and spine while simultaneously stretching the glutes, calves, and hamstrings. Although you probably most often see people in this pose with their hands on the ground or pressed against the calves with their legs straightened, there are also variations where the legs are bent, or where one just allows their head, torso, and arms to hang down while  extending their spine and keeping their legs straight.

Continue reading Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)