Exploring Wisdom: Dealing with Jealousy

By Wah! & Dr. James Leary
September 12, 2018

Jealousy - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

In this series, regular Art of Living Retreat Center presenters Wah! and Dr. James Leary answer your questions about life, love, and spirituality.

“How do you deal with jealousy?”

 

Wah!: Jealousy is just self-hatred turned outwards. When you’re jealous of someone else, the root of that energy is actually self-loathing. You’re projecting onto someone else, and telling yourself that you’re not good enough, that you think the other person is better. The work in jealousy is to dissolve, forgive, and love yourself.

 

Once you do that, there won’t be that comparison anymore. You’re able to arrive at the statement of “I am. I am this way. I didn’t make myself this way, I just simply evolved to this point and this is who I am right now.” And that’s okay! That’s magical, and that’s special.

 

James: In my own growth with jealousy, I’ve learned that it’s never simple. But when you look at it and think about it, when you really break it down – Where is that thought coming from? Where is that emotion coming from? – you inevitably learn to embrace and love yourself, and turn your attention away from a place of lack.

 

Wah! Wah! blends a seductive, Eastern-tinged spiritual sound with a unique mix of pop, world music, ambient electronica, hip hop, and reggae. She teaches women’s leadership trainings, sound healing workshops, yoga teacher trainings, and performs healing concerts in planetariums and theaters throughout the United States.

         

Dr. James Leary, DOM, DMQ, PhD, has been treating people successfully for 30 years. His Life Qi Renewal is a protocol for life activation which draws from many teachers and healing methods. Dr. Leary’s expertise has been utilized by healing therapists, professional athletes, and corporate executives all over the world.

         

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: James Leary , jealousy , self love , self-care , Wah! , wellness
Spiritual Power of Routine - Art of Living Retreat Center

The Spiritual Power of Routine

By Julia Cameron
September 7, 2018

Spiritual Power of Routine - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Recent retirees tend to speak of having mixed feelings about routine. On one hand, they enjoy being free from the externally-imposed schedule of their work lives— they may choose to sleep later, to travel during the week, to eat meals when they fancy them instead of hewing to a strict timetable of meetings and business hours. On the other hand, the lack of routine can be a source of stress. If a person hasn’t shaped his or her own days for decades, it can be a tricky adjustment to determine what exactly is the ideal routine for this new phase of life.

 

Finding a routine

I ask you to be open-minded: although it may take some trial and error, it is possible to find a routine that can begin to feel like a spiritual practice, opening you to guidance, energy and creativity. Creating routines for yourself that comfort you will quiet your mind, and it is this quiet mind that allows inspiration to spring forth.

 

My routine

My daily routine begins when I rise. Before getting out of bed, I reach to my nightstand, take hold of my notebook and pen, and write my three Morning Pages. Pages done, I turn to breakfast, and after breakfast I undertake the steps my pages have suggested. “Walk the dog, change the sheets, read my Ernest Holmes prayers, call my sister, write the foreword for Natalie’s book…” It is a rare day when the pages fail to dictate the next right thing. “Call Domenica,” my pages may suggest. Most of the time the pages yield “good, orderly direction,” which I use acronym for “G-O-D”— God. Afternoon exercise keeps me mentally and physically fit as daily I hike the dirt roads surrounding my house, keeping an alert eye for coyotes and snakes. Late afternoon is an ideal time for working on my current writing project. Once a week, I schedule an Artist Date.

 

How structure gives you freedom

With such minimal structure in place, we find ourselves feeling serene and secure. We are led in directions that serve our spirit. We are once more given routine, but this time it is a routine of our own choosing that responds our inner impulses, not an external taskmaster. Routine brings us into contact with our own capacity for discipline. We learn inspiration from the regular practice of Morning Pages. As we daily invoke the higher power to communicate through our pen, we are nourished with new ideas.

 

The spiritual value of routine

The spiritual value of routine is nowhere more evident than in a monastery. Monks rise at a set time, pray a set morning prayer, then enter a day where bells chime at regular intervals, cueing them to move from activity to activity. Setting time for work, time for prayer, and time for relaxation yields a rewarding, fulfilling and productive life. When we undertake Morning Pages, we undertake routine, but we also undertake a certain form of prayer. As we write, “Please guide me,” we are given a flow of inspiration.

 

Prayer, mindfulness, morning pages

We are indeed guided. As we write each morning about whatever is current for us— feelings of loss, confusion, excitement, wonder, regret— we are, in effect, praying on the page. And it is indeed as if a benevolent force beyond ourselves is listening, whether we choose to name this force or not. Morning Pages give us a path through the day, a place to set our own goals and deadlines. When I call my daughter, I find myself serving as a sounding board. Our exchange is mutually healing. Morning Pages are a jumping-off place for the rest of our lives.

 

Julia Cameron the Artist's Way

Julia Cameron has been an active artist for over four decades. She is the author of more than forty books, including such bestselling works on the creative process as The Artist’s Way, Walking in This World and Finding Water. Also a novelist, playwright, songwriter and poet, she has multiple credits in theater, film and television. 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of The Artist’s Way, with over five million copies sold.

 

This post first appeared on juliacameronlive.com, and is reposted with permission from the author.

 

Join Julia at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 9th-11th, 2018, for her retreat, The Artist’s Way: Blasting Through Blocks. 


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: creativity , Julia Cameron , wellness , writing
What Kind of Messenger Are You

What Kind of Messenger are You?

By don Miguel & don Jose Ruiz
September 6, 2018

What Kind of Messenger Are You

 

We are all messengers

Have you ever noticed that we are all messengers? Every one of us uses the word to form our opinions, to express our point of view. We are constantly using the word to deliver and receive messages to those around us and to ourselves. The question is: What kind of messages do we deliver? Do we deliver the truth, or do we deliver lies?

 

The world is populated by billions of messengers, but what kind of messengers are they? The answer is obvious. You see the consequences in the world. Delivering lies is the core of the problem, because all conflict ­­– whether it’s inner conflict or conflict between humans – is the result of believing in lies and delivering lies.

 

The majority of the humans on earth have no idea that words have the power of creation. They have no idea where the power of their word comes from, which means that words have power over them.

 

What kind of messenger are you?

What kind of messenger are you? Just allow this question to go directly into your heart, where you can feel the meaning and intent behind the words. What kind of message do you deliver to your children, to your beloved, to your siblings, to your parents, to everyone around you? Are you a messenger of gossip and lies? Do you feel comfortable with all the drama that comes as a result of believing in lies? Is that what you share with everyone around you? Is that what you teach your children?

 

You are always delivering a message to everyone around you, but mainly you are always delivering a message to yourself. What is the message? That message is the most important one, because it affects your whole life. How do you treat yourself? Are you kind to yourself? Do you respect yourself? Do you even like yourself? What kind of life are you creating for yourself? Are you happy or are you suffering? If you’re suffering, if there’s drama and injustice in your life, then you’re not being impeccable with your word. All those voices in your head are distorting your message. What kind of message will you deliver to the people you love the most if the messages you deliver to yourself are guiding you into suffering?

 

Whose messages are you delivering?

Now use your imagination to see the kind of messages other people delivered to you in your entire life. People were always delivering messages to you, and you were always perceiving their messages. How did all those messages affect you? Out of all the messages that you received, how many of those messages did you agree with and take as your own? How many of those messages are you still delivering now? If you’re delivering somebody else’s messages, whose messages are you delivering?

 

What will make a difference in the messages you deliver? The answer is awareness. Just have the awareness of the kind of messages that you’ve delivered and received your entire life. Once you’re aware of the messages you’re delivering, and the messages other people are delivering to you, your point of view will shift completely. The moment will come when you clearly see the effect of your words, the effect of your actions, the effect of your presence on other people. You will see exactly what kind of messenger you are, and you will clearly see what kind of messengers the other people are. After that, the importance of being impeccable with your word will be obvious.

 

The power of your word

Once you become aware of the power of your word, you can change the way you communicate with yourself and with other people. Perhaps you’ve misused the word because you were innocent, because you didn’t have awareness. But once you have awareness, you cannot claim innocence anymore. You know exactly what you’re doing, and whatever you’re doing is perfect, but now it’s your choice.

 

Now the question becomes: What kind of message do you choose to deliver? Is it truth or is it lies? Is it love or is it fear? When you are impeccable with your word, you deliver a message of truth and love.

 

Get in tune with your authentic self, release the fear of what you are without your beliefs, and embrace unconditional love with the Ruiz brothers at the Art of Living Retreat Center. The Agreements of Love takes place October 12th-14th.

 

This article is excerpted from The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery by Shakta Khalsa. © 2010 by Miguel Angel Ruiz, M.D., Jose Luis Ruiz, and Janet Mills, and is used with permission from Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc., and reposted with permission from the authors.

 

Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. is a Nagual, a Toltec Master of Transformation. He is a direct descendant of the Toltecs of the Eagle Knight lineage and is the son of don Miguel Ruiz. By combining the wisdom of his family’s traditions with the knowledge gained from his own personal journey, he now helps others realize their own path to personal freedom.

   

Don Jose Ruiz is a Toltec Master of Transformation and modern day Shaman. He is a direct descendant of the Toltecs of the Eagle Night lineage, and is the son of don Miguel Ruiz, author of New York Times bestseller The Four Agreements. He is the author of The Fifth Agreement, Ripples of Wisdom, and My Good Friend The Rattlesnake. Along with his family, he teaches workshops and offers transformational journeys around the world.

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

 
TAGS: authenticity , communication , relationships , self-actualization , The Ruiz Brothers , truth
How I Quit Smoking - Art of Living Retreat Center

Seeing is Believing: How I Quit Smoking

By Jurian Hughes
September 1, 2018

How I Quit Smoking - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

On June 11, 2003 I smoked my last cigarette.

 

When I count the things that I’m most grateful for in my life, “I quit smoking” is almost always number one. Even now, after fourteen years, I’m aware that this one factor changed the quality and course of my life perhaps more than any other decision or achievement I’ve made since.

 

Quitting smoking is one of my proudest accomplishments. I enjoy the clarity around it. Either you smoke or you don’t. There’s no vagueness about it. I was a smoker. Now I’m not. To this day I’m fascinated by how I did it.

 

How I quit smoking

Before I made the decision to quit smoking I projected myself into the future ten years. I saw who I would become if I continued smoking. I could easily imagine what my body would feel and look like, how active I would be (or not). I imagined the quality of my life – chest pain as I walked up subway stairs, the smell of my apartment, clothes and hair.

 

I had a very real and tangible sense of who I would become if I continued down that road. And I knew it was not who I wanted to be. I wanted to be another woman – a physically fit, vital, brighter, more hopeful, more engaged person than I was at that time. And I could see very clearly that if I continued smoking I was not going to get there.

 

Resetting my intentions

So I stopped. Immediately. That was it. Once I had seen so clearly where I wanted to go vs. where I was headed, I simply stopped smoking. The intention was not “Quit Smoking.” The intention was robust health, overall well-being, more joy. Quitting smoking became a necessary step toward the person I was determined to become. Though I had tried to quit numerous times before, that final time it was actually…easy. It was simple, inevitable.

 

Getting clear

During that same time I made a lot of other changes. I stopped hanging out with men who were no good for me (and met my beloved partner David shortly thereafter). I left a career that was no longer fulfilling me (and found my way to teaching in the world of yoga, dance, voice and play not long after.)

 

Now when I find myself needing to make a life change, I imagine myself going through the same process that I went through back in 2003. I try to get as clear as I can about who it is that I am passionate to evolve into next. Once I see her clearly — and believe that I have the ability and the right to have her life – I know the steps will reveal themselves.

 

Seeing is believing

“Seeing is believing” says the old adage. If we can see a future self we can begin to imagine what her life feels like, what it’s like to be in her skin, to move through her day, to spend time as she does. The more fully we imagine her, the more real she becomes, and then her evolution becomes…inevitable.

If you imagine your life full of joy and dance and the ability to help others experience more of that, too, join me this Sep 22 – Oct 2 at Art of Living for a ten-day Let Your Yoga Dance Teacher Training Immersion. See it. Believe it. Take the first step.

 

Jurian Hughs, E-RYT 500, MFA, is founder of the Yoga of Voice; co-founder of A Wild Life Sanctuary™; co-creator of The Yoga of Yes; a Let Your Yoga Dance® teacher trainer; voice coach; personal mentor; writer; speaker; and theatre performer known for her passionate, playful, and engaging teaching style. As a senior faculty member of the Kripalu School of Yoga since 2006, Hughes has led thousands of workshops and programs and trained more than 1,000 Kripalu yoga teachers.

 

For more about Jurian, visit jurianhughes.com. Join Jurian for her ten-day Let Your Yoga Dance® Teacher Training at the Art of Living Retreat Center from September 22 – October 2, 2018.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: jurian hughes , mindfulness , self-care , smoking , visualization , wellness , yoga
Maintaining a Practice - Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: the Daily Practice

By Wah! & Dr. James Leary
August 30, 2018

Maintaining a Practice - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

In this series, regular Art of Living Retreat Center presenters Wah! and Dr. James Leary answer your questions about life, love, and spirituality.

“Sometimes I lose my daily practice. Do you have any inspirations for continuing a daily practice? What advice can you offer?”

 

Wah!: Having several things that you like to do and know how to do, that each take different lengths of time, is a really great toolbox to have. When you have an hour, maybe you’ll do a yoga routine with relaxation. If you’ve got half an hour, maybe it’s just the yoga routine. If you’ve got 15 minutes, maybe it’s a little bit of Marma, and if you have five, maybe it’s even just going outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air, inviting Mother Nature to be with you for the day. No matter what it is, just do something.

 

James: If you look at it, there’s 1,440 minutes in a day. Most people don’t even really afford themselves a few minutes of quality time. For me, my biggest practice is my daily meditation of stepping outside. I’ll wander a little, find something in nature that really catches my eye, take a deep breath, and I’ll just be clear.

 

I just allow nature to come in and allow me to breathe with it. Whether it’s 10 seconds or five minutes, it’s such a clearing and energizing way to increase the ability to take in what we need to from the universe.

 

Wah!: Something that we teach in our classes is the practice of taking a clearing breath. You can’t bring in a new day if you haven’t cleared the old. Inhale, find something in the consciousness that is congested, that doesn’t serve you or belong, and then breathe it out. Release it into the universe.

 

That’s all you have to do–the universe follows your lead. We have these false beliefs that we should be the ones to fix whatever is wrong, but all we need to do is tie into the energy of Mother Nature, which is around you, and allow healing to flow through you. Start your practice with a daily exhale, set your intentions, and let Mother Nature in.

 

Wah! Wah! blends a seductive, Eastern-tinged spiritual sound with a unique mix of pop, world music, ambient electronica, hip hop, and reggae. She teaches women’s leadership trainings, sound healing workshops, yoga teacher trainings, and performs healing concerts in planetariums and theaters throughout the United States.

         

Dr. James Leary, DOM, DMQ, PhD, has been treating people successfully for 30 years. His Life Qi Renewal is a protocol for life activation which draws from many teachers and healing methods. Dr. Leary’s expertise has been utilized by healing therapists, professional athletes, and corporate executives all over the world.

         

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: James Leary , mindfulness , self love , self-care , Wah!
Writing Beyond the Block - Art of Living Retreat Center

Writing Beyond the Block

By Julia Cameron
August 25, 2018

Writing Beyond the Block - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Writing begins with enthusiasm. We launch into a long project with optimism. We have an idea, we trust our idea, we set about putting it to the page. All goes swimmingly for a time— until we hit The Wall. The Wall occurs, in most writing, about two-thirds of the way into our work. Put simply, The Wall is doubt. Our previously good idea suddenly seems suspect. We doubt its validity. Our writing skids to a halt.

 

Moving past doubt

“Julia, I feel such doubt, it stops me in my tracks,” I have been told many times. I sympathize. Doubt is an excruciatingly painful feeling. It tempts us to take creative U-turns, abandoning our work.

 

“Julia, it was going so well, and then I found myself thinking, ‘what if I’m kidding myself?’” That is the voice of doubt. It whispers that we are without talent, and that our hopes of a career are mere grandiosity. It encourages us to mistrust our perceptions. The Wall towers high.

 

Learning to surrender

Typically, when we encounter the wall, we attempt to power our way past it and over it. “It’s a good idea,” we say to ourselves defensively. “I know it’s a good idea.” But our forced optimism doesn’t win the day. The Wall still towers, casting its ominous shadow on our work. But there is a better way to conquer The Wall, and that is to surrender. Instead of trying to convince ourselves of the brilliance of our idea, we need to say instead, “I am willing to finish this piece of work even if my idea is terrible.” In other words, “I am willing to write badly.”

 

Writing badly–on purpose

The moment we are willing to write badly, we begin to have freedom. The Wall no longer dominates our emotional landscape. Instead, like convicts striving to escape prison, we do well not by scrambling over the wall, but by digging our way to freedom under it. Most of us find this approach to the wall a novel idea. We are not really willing to write badly, and yet, when we give ourselves permission, we find that by being willing to write badly, we may write very well indeed.

 

Julia Cameron the Artist's Way

Julia Cameron has been an active artist for over four decades. She is the author of more than forty books, including such bestselling works on the creative process as The Artist’s Way, Walking in This World and Finding Water. Also a novelist, playwright, songwriter and poet, she has multiple credits in theater, film and television. 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of The Artist’s Way, with over five million copies sold.

 

This post first appeared on juliacameronlive.com, and is reposted with permission from the author.

 

Join Julia at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 9th-11th, 2018, for her retreat, The Artist’s Way: Blasting Through Blocks. 


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: creativity , Julia Cameron , wellness , writer's block , writing
Nature, Dance, and Meditation - Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: Nature, Dance, and Meditation

By Jon Turk
August 23, 2018

Nature, Dance, and Meditation - Art of Living Retreat Center

In my life, I’ve done some very long expeditions into the wilderness, some lasting several months. What I’ve learned is that when you spend time in silence, in vulnerability, and in connection with nature, what happens is that these useless thoughts that you have are just thrown out. You’re left with a cleaner mind.

 

I want everyone to experience that peace of mind, so for a long time, I’d been trying to find a way to help others reach that state. But you can’t compress a three-month experience into three hour class. You can certainly help somebody with the techniques of meditation, but you can’t “teach” someone to meditate in a weekend. It doesn’t work that way. It takes commitment and dedication. No matter what I did, I couldn’t design a methodology that had that kind of impact.

 

Then, something amazing happened to me. I was presented with an opportunity to become a storyteller with a modern dance company headed by Jody Weber.

 

Dance and ecstasy

We spent a couple of years performing one of my stories, The Raven’s Gift. It energized our audiences in an incredible way. I realized that this was because we’d compressed around five years of exploring Siberia into one very ecstatic movement. Dance reaches a form of ecstasy that speech just doesn’t.

 

It was a wow moment. Instead of taking people into the wilderness and trying to compress this experience, we could create ecstasy in storytelling through dance. Dance could be the meditation.

 

Many, many animals dance. If you’ve ever seen a polar bear sliding down an ice or snow field and just having a bang of a good time, that bear is actually dancing. Dance is so much deeper than speech. It’s a medium that journeys your brain into ecstasy.

 

Healing through dance

Everybody gets broken in life. You break your bones. You break your spirit. People break. It’s inevitable. So we have to learn how to heal, and one of the ways we can do this is through dance.

 

Jody and I visited a youth detention facility to teach. It’s beautiful spring day and we’re in this gray building with bars in the window. People are walking around with guns, and the warden says to us, “You have one hour to give these child criminals a bit of hope.” We hadn’t practiced anything in preparation for this, but we begin anyway.

 

The dancers we’d brought with us get up and say, “Okay, we’re going to dance the dance of flowing water. Water flows. You can’t stop water. It doesn’t get interrupted, so we’re going to be the way.” The dancers started dancing, and I’m thinking “Oh boy, these kids are not gonna buy this.” Well, let me tell you. By the end of the hour, we had every single one of those hardened, sometimes violent, child criminals up and dancing. At the end of the hour, tears were just streaming from my eyes. We were dancing our ways not necessarily out of physical prisons, but personal ones, and that was very powerful for everyone involved.

 

Forgetting our mythologies

People are the only animals that think about things that don’t exist, so we make up stories. These stories take up a lot of brainpower. Nature takes those extraneous thoughts and just sucks them out like a sponge. That’s why we experience such peace in nature. That’s why we connect with cats and dogs–they talk to us, but in that deeper language. This is what music is. Dance, animals, a snowstorm, a sunny day in the desert–all take these mythologies that we build out of us and turn us back into something more peaceful. And that’s something incredibly powerful.

 

Jon Turk earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1971 and was nominated by National Geographic as one of the Top Ten Adventurers of the Year in 2012. Between these bookends, Jon wrote the first environmental science textbook in North America, while simultaneously pursuing extreme adventure: he has kayaked around Cape Horn and across the North Pacific, circumnavigated Ellesmere Island, and made first climbing ascents and ski descents on remote mountains all over the world. Between 1999 and 2005, Jon learned Koryak wisdom from Moolynaut, one of the last of the old time Siberian shamans. Jon has written four popular books on his adventures and the Conscious Revolution that will carry humanity into the 21st century with hope, sustainability, and compassion.

 

Join Jon Turk and Jody Weber at the Art of Living Retreat Center from October 5th to 7th, 2018, for their retreat, Techniques of Joyful Meditation. 

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: dance , meditation , mythology , nature , storytelling , wellness , wisdom
Inner Bonding - Art of Living Retreat Center

The Inner Bonding Process

By Margaret Paul
August 13, 2018

Inner Bonding - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

This past May, the Art of Living Retreat Center hosted Dr. Margaret Paul for Inner Bonding, a weekend of transformative healing. Below, she elaborates on what the Inner Bonding Process is, and how it can change your life. 

 

If you don’t value yourself or think that you’re good enough, why would you be motivated to take care of yourself?

 

A new solution for happiness

I worked as a traditional psychotherapist for 17 years, and I did not see people healing on a deep level. They’d feel better after a session, of course, but then something would happen in their life and they wouldn’t be able to deal with it. They didn’t have the tools, techniques, and inner strength needed to overcome the struggles of everyday life. I started to pray for a process that would go deep in terms of healing, for something that people could draw upon no matter where they were or how they were feeling.

 

That’s when I met the co-creator of Inner Bonding, Dr. Erika Choprich. I’m certain that Spirit made sure that we met so that we could combine our experience and knowledge. Our process has been life-changing for me, and I know it has been life changing for others, as well.

 

Learning to love yourself

With the Inner Bonding Process, people really get a handle on their anxiety and depression. They become motivated to take care of themselves, especially with what they put into their physical bodies. Their addictions to sugar, cigarettes, alcohol, what have you, begin to fade away.

 

Their relationships improve. Many people begin to realize that they’ve never learned to take responsibility for their own feelings and how to truly love themselves. In our society, we don’t have role models for that! In order to know what to do in any given moment, you have to access your inner guidance. You learn to ask yourself, “What’s loving to me right now? What can I do that’s in my highest interest?”

 

Nurturing emotional intelligence

Let’s say that you’re angry, and you’re convinced that your anger is because someone else has been unloving to you. Somebody else has put you down, judged you, rejected you, or pulled away from you. Your first instinct might be to say, “Well, of course I’m angry! Look at what they’re doing to me!” But in the Inner Bonding Process, we learn that anger is a symptom of our inner child, our soul, our essence, angry at us because we don’t know how to take care of ourselves in the face of somebody else’s unloving behavior.

 

When we get angry, we’re abandoning ourselves. We get defensive, we explain, we give up, we shut down, we take it personally, we blame the other person. We teach people to turn around and say to their inner selves, “How am I treating you? What am I telling you? How am I judging or abandoning you? How am I not being an advocate for you in the face of what somebody else is saying?”

 

That inner self might say, “Well, you’re judging me all the time. You’re putting me down. You’re not standing up for me. You’re not keeping me safe. You numb me with food. You don’t even know I exist.”

 

This self lets us know whether we’re loving ourselves or abandoning ourselves. When we feel peaceful, full, loved, and valued, then we know we’re taking care of that self.

 

Unlearning childhood pain

Growing up, we deal with a lot of pain. And we learn that we need to avoid pain at all costs, because it overwhelms us. Many of our parents treated us like we weren’t good enough, like we had to be perfect, to perform, that their love was conditional on how we looked or how many A’s we got or how popular we were. We absorbed all of that, and we started to treat ourselves the way we were treated by our parents or caregivers or church.

 

We perpetuate the abuse, and then wonder why we feel so bad. Why we feel so much pain. We don’t know what to do with it. We don’t know how to manage it. But that pain is telling you something about yourself.

 

The people who should have taught us how to handle this pain may in fact have been the ones hurting us. We learn to disconnect, dissociate from our feelings. We learn to think that feelings are weakness. We learn to think that we were bad when we were feeling our feelings. We’re supposed to just be okay all the time. With the inner bonding process, people learn to reconnect with their feelings and to interpret what their feelings are telling them.

 

They learn how to embrace themselves with compassion, to take responsibility to move closer to our feelings, to move with an intention to learn. We all want to receive love and avoid pain.

 

Love yourself in every area of your life

The 6 Inner steps of bonding helps you learn what it means to love yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, within relationships, organizationally, and financially. You learn what it means to show up for yourself, and that creates a sense of fullness and peace inside. You develop new neural pathways in your higher brain, your prefrontal cortex. You become a loving adult who naturally relies on your higher brain.

 

Parent your inner child

We need to approach our feelings as a loving adult. Your inner child needs to trust you, so you need to be open and compassionate and to really listen. We have to learn to reconnect with our intuition and to honor our feelings rather than squash them. This is what inner bonding is about. Learning to trust your inner guidance. We become our own guru. We access really amazing information.

 

Our goal can’t be to avoid pain–that makes our frequency too low. We can’t come at it from a perspective of protection, avoidance, and control. We access it only when we’re open to learning about what it means to love ourselves, and to identify our false beliefs.

 

Find your purpose

As you practice inner bonding, you get in touch with why you’re on the planet, with what brings you joy to offer the world. We’re here to evolve in our ability to love ourselves and love others, and we’re here to offer our love to the world in our own unique way. We have so many gifts that have been squashed down and judged, and this process really reconnects you to those gifts. When people tap into that, it brings enormous joy.

 

Learn more about the Inner Bonding Process here.

 

Dr. Margaret Paul is a bestselling author and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, and the related SelfQuest® self-healing online program – recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including Oprah. Margaret holds a PhD in psychology, is a relationship expert, public speaker, consultant and artist. She has successfully worked with thousands and taught classes and seminars for over 50 years.

 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

   
TAGS: health , in house , inner bonding , margaret paul , self love , self-care , spirituality , wellness

Celebrating Being Through Yoga with Wendy Swanson

By Travis Eliot
August 11, 2018

 

Wendy Swanson, the owner of Be Yoga in Charlotte, is an open-hearted yoga teacher, acupuncturist, healer, and transformational leader who uses a beautiful combination of alternative health care modalities, yoga practice, and personal development work with her students. Along with running her studio, she has been leading retreats around the world for fifteen years. She recently spoke with us about her healing journey, her upcoming retreat, and the powerful awareness yoga brings.

I got involved with yoga about 25 years ago due in part to my first job after graduating from college. I suffered pain from sitting at a desk, which – as many of us know – is not good for the body over an extended period of time.

After discovering yoga through my church, people started noticing that my usually high-strung, Type A personality was less pronounced. I was a little more balanced. For those who study Ayurveda, I’m pretty Vatta, so yoga, breathing, and meditation helped to settle my energy.

From the start I found myself sleeping better and feeling better physically. I was in my body much more rather than getting caught up in my head so often. So, yoga had a huge effect on my whole being and helped me to relax so my true self could be expressed more fully.

But, as I continued on in the same career, I became miserable. I had a sales and marketing job in a very corporate environment. I was practicing yoga but was unhappy in my day to day working life. I knew that I was meant to do something different.

When I received an acupuncture treatment from a close friend, I was blown away by the results. I was also intrigued by the fact that it’s an ancient medicine with thousands of years of history. After I began to study acupuncture rigorously along with my yoga practice, I knew I was on my path.


Practical, Real-life Approaches with Miraculous Results

For so many of us, it’s impossible to give up our desk jobs because it’s the way we make a living. I work on methods for balancing this working lifestyle with numerous patients and students. We often hold ourselves in a scrunched, hunched-over position, sitting rigidly behind a desk or steering wheel.

While yoga asks us to assume shapes that may look kind of odd, these positions help with the six rotations of the spine so that we can feel elongated and free in our bodies. It is so amazing that once we feel good in our bodies, that translates to feeling good in our minds.


I really feel like my life purpose is to help people get out of the fight or flight stress response so that they can return to being present in their bodies. Both yoga and acupuncture help us move out of the sympathetic part of our nervous system which triggers the fight or flight response, and engage the parasympathetic nervous system, in which we can rest, digest, and renew.

Yoga and acupuncture go so well together that I often combine the two. I do a lot of restorative yoga and I’ll actually add in some acupuncture because this combination is extremely effective in calming the nervous system.

When our nervous system has been calmed, we make better decisions in that. We’re able to deal with our loved ones in a more compassionate and loving way, and we’re able to feel better in our bodies.

I have my own chronic pains from accidents and injuries, and yoga and acupuncture help me to stay in balance with that. It’s not about making every ache, pain, and problem disappear, but rather about how to be present with these things and how to lead a life that feels more open, more loving, and more fulfilled.


How to Slow Down Time
The meaning behind the name of my retreat, ‘Celebrate Being Through Yoga’, is acknowledging, honoring, and embodying our true selves. To celebrate being means to practice being authentically ourselves. It means showing up for our families, our friends, our jobs – whatever we may need to show up for – and feeling that we are enough. This is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

For me, showing up means being present in the little moments that make up our days. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of getting in the car, then arriving at your destinations having no idea of how you got there. Many of our day-to-day activities become habits. So showing up also means slowing down.

We still have to accomplish the tasks in our daily routines, but we can savor each moment more fully. We can really taste our coffee and feel it’s warmth when we sip it. We can pause and feel the connection when someone asks how we are.

So, it’s not necessarily about changing anything. It’s simply about noticing. By noticing, it’s possible to expand time. As we get older, time moves more quickly, and sometimes life gets very busy. So this practice allows you to truly enjoy and be there for the moments you get to spend with your child, for example. You may not have hours and hours, but when you can be present in the time you do have, it’s enough.

Yoga teaches us to be present by tuning us in to each and every breath. It teaches us to get in touch with what’s going on in our bodies. We get ourselves into some really odd shapes, and then we notice the sensations along with the breath. Some of these shapes might feel great, and some might not. But when we are present with and experience these uncomfortable feelings in yoga, we are better able to handle life when it doesn’t feel so great.

We remember that we breathed through whatever unpleasant sensations or emotions came up in yoga, and those sensations didn’t last forever. Then, we felt something great in the next pose! When we practice yoga we are practicing being present for the joys and struggles of life.

This practice involves yoga asana, some fairly gentle pranayama or breathing techniques, and meditation. We will also be learning some daily practices for self-care, which in ayurveda is referred to as dinacharya. All in all, we will be giving participants simple tools to celebrate life and celebrate who they are.

Upcoming Family Programs

Nov 07-11
Family & Relationships Featured Presenters Yoga & Teacher Trainings

Radiant Child Yoga Training

Shakta Khalsa

Sharing Yoga & Mindfulness with Children

Learn More
Feb 15-17
Family & Relationships Featured Presenters

‘Make it Work’ – Couples Retreat

Tony Gaskins Jr.

The science behind a healthy relationship

Learn More
TAGS: deep , yoga

Diving Deep with Travis Eliot

By Travis Eliot
August 11, 2018


We recently had the opportunity to talk to Travis Eliot, a respected yoga and mindfulness meditation instructor, about the most profound awakenings throughout his life and how they always led him back to Yoga.

We discussed the importance of a holistic approach to practice, going inward, ‘Cadillac Escalade Yoga’, and how he makes his retreats so transformational.

He and his partner Lauren Eckstrom will be leading their Holistic Yoga Flow Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center August 16-19.

 

North Carolina, L.A., Thailand, and Back Home to the Self

I can’t wait for our retreat at Art of Living in Boone because North Carolina holds a very special place in my heart. I grew up in Winston-Salem and my fondest memories are of playing in the mountains. This will be our first retreat here.

When I first left North Carolina for Los Angeles, I spent quite a while working in the entertainment industry. But, as soon as I discovered yoga, I was head over heels. I became a ferocious student of all things yoga and meditation from kirtan to Ayurvedic medicine; you name it. These things became my life.

Fast forward to a near-drowning experience in Kauai that changed my life even more. This experience opened my eyes to the fragility of life and led me to re-examine everything. Being awakened to my own impermanence, I was able to see where I was wasting energy and effort on things that don’t truly matter. I began to invest time and energy into things that are important, meaningful, eternal, infinite – the things which yoga brings us back to.

Soon after, I found myself on the beautiful island of Kolata in Thailand teaching yoga. I felt I was using every dimension of my being to teach these yoga classes. That’s when I knew without a doubt that this was my path.

Then, in 2005, I was reminded of my mortality again when the big tsunami hit. As I watched my bungalow, the yoga deck, the whole resort get washed away by the tsunami waves, I was overcome with gratitude for the many gifts in my life: my marriage, my breath, my meaningful relationships. After that I returned to Los Angeles and single-mindedly began to teach yoga to as many people as possible.


The Wisdom of a Storm

Living through the tsunami also taught me that this experience we signed up for, this crazy ride that is the human life, involves duality. It is impossible to have birth without death. You can’t have paradise without destruction, and you can’t have loss without gain, praise without blame, victory without defeat, health without sickness, female without male, or Shiva without Shakti… you could just go on and on.

The tendency that we often have is to only want the good and pleasurable experiences in life. We just want the positive, but that is not and will never be the human experience. As long as we remain in denial of that, we are fighting against nature. It’s as though we’re swimming upstream. In this way, we cause our own suffering.

For me, it became about really working on clear sight and fully accepting that we live in this world of duality. I learned not to cling to the good, and I learned not to push away the challenging or the negative.

So, I began to maintain more equanimity in my mind through the vicissitudes of life. Rather than being on this crazy roller coaster going up and down and up down, it became a little bit more steady.

When I hit the speed bumps of life, instead of being in an old 1960s beat up Ford Pinto that’s getting all jerked around, now I’m driving a plush Cadillac Escalade. That’s what it’s like- you still have to go over the bump, but it’s a lot less jolting.

Equate that to life and you get less drama, less conflict, less reactivity, and more smoothness, so that you’re able to deal with the challenges and curveballs that the universe throws at you with more grace, nobility, and equanimity.

 

Searching in All the Wrong Places

My yoga journey illuminated another life-changing lesson. I think that our culture has taught us that we’re not good enough unless we buy products and consume more. There’s a whole multi-billion dollar industry built around this concept of telling us we’re not good enough and that in order to become enough, we need to get things.

We become ensnared within this web of what the yogis call Maya, this illusion that we can only get our happiness from external sources. The great awakening of my life was that this is not true. It’s like a cat chasing its tail, or trying to cling to a phantom or ghost. Some people spend the entirety of their lives in this way, never actually attaining anything.

A great example is actually an animal, the Musk deer. From the day it’s born, it smells this scent that it is very drawn to. It will spend its whole life chasing the scent through forests and meadows, through mountains; then eventually it dies, never having found the source of the scent. The deer could never locate the scent because that whole time, it was coming right from underneath the deer’s nose.

This was my awakening. I realized that ‘the scent’ is not out there, but rather inside us all. Through the practices of yoga we learn to go inward rather than out. As we do so, we learn that everything we could possibly want doesn’t exist externally; it doesn’t come from things in the physical world.

What we seek by consuming things actually already exists inside us all.

All the happiness, wisdom, joy, abundance, knowledge… it’s all inside of us. That being said, I believe a good teacher is one who directs students to connect inward to the resources that exist within them. That’s what was so life-changing about yoga, on the deepest level, for myself.

There are no Shortcuts on the Path to Happiness… But You Can Speed up Your Journey

It’s so, so important to step back from life and take time for yourself, and a retreat setting provides the perfect opportunity. The greatest teachers to ever walk this planet always went away into retreat; it is essential. You must remember that you can’t give to others what you don’t have to give.
On a retreat you’re filling up your energetic cup, and we will be there as your guides to lead you through.

While it is a learning experience, it’s also an emotionally healing one. It’s common to experience emotional release while meditating in a retreat setting. We call these releases the unfinished business of the heart.

When we are able to acknowledge these emotions, we are beginning to heal some of the many griefs and traumas we have become non-reactive to as we carry them with us through life. In meditation we bring compassion to our past traumas so that we can let them go.

It’s three nights and four days of allowing yourself, in a safe, loving, compassionate environment, to renew and recharge very deeply, and to let go of what has been holding you back.

Something that really compliments this process at Art of Living in particular is the Ayurveda component. We will have time within the retreat itself for everyone to experience some of the ayurveda treatments at the spa if they wish to do so. There will be time to read, nap, hike, or stroll… Whatever you like to do to relax. It truly an investment into your own health and well-being.

Travis and Lauren’s Holistic Yoga Flow Program

A lot of what we teach is based around the framework of subtle anatomy, or the five koshas. We are the muscles, bones, organs, tissues, cells that make up our body, but we’re also much more than that.

The physical sheath is known as the annamaya kosha. Then we have the pranamaya kosha, the breath body, and the manomaya kosha of the mind and heart, which the Yogis really view as being one in the same.

Next is the vijnanamaya kosha, our higher self. This kosha can be understood as the witness or observer, as though this consciousness is looking down from a bird’s-eye view. This awareness can notice thoughts as though they are moving through the sky like clouds and emotions like waves that rise and fall within the ocean of the heart.

Then, there is the anandamaya kosha. The anandamaya kosha is bliss; it’s the essence of who we are. Although we all have different bodies, stories, and backgrounds, on a deep level there’s that essence within all of us that really is one and the same. In my experience, when all five koshas are activated, it’s as if you’re firing on all cylinders.

This is why a holistic practice is so essential. We utilize a holistic approach which includes meditation to embody many of these concepts I’ve mentioned. It’s not just a work-out in holistic yoga flow, it’s also a ‘work-in’.

So you can think of it as not just exercising, but ‘innercising’ as well. You’re strengthening your body while simultaneously strengthening mental qualities like focus, concentration, and presence, which have been proven by modern science to increase your health and happiness. You’re strengthening the qualities of the heart: generosity, compassion, kindness, love. This is what we practice in our retreats.

This holistic practice helps us to strengthen and awaken, and the beauty of it is that you get to take all of this and bring it back into your life. You get to bring it into every facet: your relationships, job, hobbies, and interests, and really embody the person that you want to be.

The beauty of it is that you return motivated to live the life that you want to live. And that’s why we’re all here… We’re here to be the truest version of ourselves. That’s what our retreat is based on.


Meditation and Science: Two Rivers Converge

The purpose of practicing yoga is to bring what you gain from your yoga flow into your entire life flow. That’s the thing about yoga – it’s a practice and a training. When you’re practicing meditation, you’re actively working with neuroplasticity by rewiring the neuro-branches inside your brain. This is why boredom and resistance are often experienced during meditation.

When we’re facing something in life similar to the boredom, resistance, challenge, or struggle that we’ve experienced in our meditation or yoga practice, we can deal with the adversity with more dignity because we’ve now rewired our brain to do so.
These practices aren’t new-age ideals; they revolve around science. People are able to deal with struggles much more calmly thanks to a strong meditation practice because it rewires the brain.

Spirituality and science have been seen as two separate rivers for so long, but we are living in a truly exciting time in which these two rivers are now converging together. I think that’s why spirituality and these teachings are exploding at such an amazing rate right now.


…The Goal?

You’re not going to get everything perfect right away, and that’s okay. You’re going to mess up and make mistakes along the way. As Ramdass always says, yeah, I flunked the test many times. These great spiritual teachers, even Buddha and Jesus, had issues in their lives, and they made mistakes along the way. So, if they didn’t get it perfect, how are you going to?

It takes the pressure off to realize that this practice is not about becoming a perfect human being. It’s really about perfecting your love and your compassion towards all things, including and especially yourself.

 

Upcoming Family Programs

Nov 07-11
Family & Relationships Featured Presenters Yoga & Teacher Trainings

Radiant Child Yoga Training

Shakta Khalsa

Sharing Yoga & Mindfulness with Children

Learn More
Feb 15-17
Family & Relationships Featured Presenters

‘Make it Work’ – Couples Retreat

Tony Gaskins Jr.

The science behind a healthy relationship

Learn More
TAGS: deep , travis eliot

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