Fear - the Art of Living Retreat Center

What if I Am Safe, Loved, Seen, Powerful, Loving, and Heard?

By Coral Brown
December 27, 2018

Fear - the Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Turning Fear into Faith has become a steady practice for me since I became pregnant with my son last January. I don’t mean a religious kind of faith, but rather a faith in myself….and the universe. Fear is a very powerful energy, but like any kind of energy, it can be harnessed, manipulated and transformed. If fed, fear festers and turns into anxiety.

 

What if?

I know that when the classic, “What if….” questions arise it is a sure sign that I am feeding fear and laying the groundwork for anxiety. Reframing these What ifs into positive questions is a powerful practice that, if pursued diligently, can have a significant impact in reducing anxiety. The fact is, the positive question/statement is usually more likely to be true than the negative!

What if I get into a car accident? vs What if I arrive safely at my destination?

What if….. I am safe, loved, seen, powerful, loving and heard?

Fear is powerful and, when necessary, can cause us to react in ways that are life saving; like jumping out of the way of a moving car, but faith, faith is life changing. Faith and trust in oneself creates a solid base from which we can dwell with joy and insight.
Cultivating these qualities is a practice that is supported by understanding where our needs and fears originate. Separating the real from the unreal, moving from dark to light can be achieved by exploring our internal storage system, better known as the subtle body, specifically, the Chakras.

 

Understanding the Chakras

I view the Chakras as psycho-spiritual processing centers that assimilate and store information. They hold the personal and emotional memories of our lifetimes. The root Chakra is called Muladhara, which translates to the ‘dwelling place of support’, and when unsettled switches on the fear response which alerts the nervous system that there is danger. Whether this danger is actual or only perceived to be real, the breath quickens, there is a surge of blood flow to the muscles and the body prepares to fight, take flight or freeze.

 

Understanding the subtle body, as well as the physical body combined with summoning conscious thoughts that are based in faith and trust interrupts the fear feed back loop and resets the whole body-mind system.

 

Acknowledging what makes me feel safe gives me the tools that I need to stabilize myself when I feel unsafe. Understanding why these things make me feel unsafe helps me understand and compassionately witness my history and how I came to be the powerfully imperfect person that I am today. For example, thru my research and studies as a holistic psychotherapist I have explored the parallels between western psychology and eastern philosophy over the last 10 years.

 

The stages of development

I have found that the human psyche’s stages of development overlap the development of the chakras quite profoundly. Our first stage of development takes place from birth to age six- seven. It is during this time in our lives that the muladhara chakra is being formulated. The core needs that must be met at this time in our lives revolve around food, safety, security, nurturing. These are our basic needs and when one of them is unmet our foundation is disrupted and fear is the response that is engaged. I know that when I am hungry or overtired I can be pretty cranky and definitely not at my kindest, toward myself and others. I observed my reaction as we bought and moved into our home 4 years ago, even though we had a lovely home to move into it was still a very unsettling process. But being pregnant was the big one.

 

Fear for the baby’s health, fear for the potential stress on my marriage, fear about the changes to my livelihood… I could go on! I absolutely could not afford to let these waves of fear ruin my experience! So I worked hard to stay present, breathe, trust, I prayed, walked, sat by the ocean, communicated with my husband, nourished myself… And it worked, for the most part!

 

We experience these muladhara earthquakes throughout our lifetime and the way that we respond to them will be influenced by how this chakra was developed. How safe, loved, secure, nourished and nurtured did we feel as a child? What strategies did we learn to get these needs met? Are we still using them today? Are there more appropriate and meaningful strategies that we could employ?

 

While the deep work that helps prevent the paralyzing effects of the fear cycle is found in the root chakra, each chakra represents specific needs and there are emotional and behavioral reactions when these needs are unmet. Most of the time these reactions limit our ability to live to our fullest potential and experience deep and lasting joy.

 

Start this work by paying attention, observing, witnessing, but not judging your reactions to muladhara imbalances. Journal, discuss or mediate on your childhood experiences. Visualize moments when your needs are fully being met and the feeling that you experience. Manifest a safe, secure, nurturing and loving reality!

 

Join me at the Art of Living Retreat Center this April for The Psychology of the Chakras, where we will examine each of the chakras and their correlating stages and age of development, as well as the common behavioral characteristics and imbalances for each one. We will use dialogue, journaling prompts well as pranayama, meditation and mantra to rewrite our stories and dissolve the limiting beliefs that prevents us from living our lives to the fullest.

 

Coral Brown is a teacher of teachers, drawing on two decades of experience in yoga, philosophy, and holistic counseling to provide nurturing and open space for the processes of healing and transformation. She has trained in the Iyengar and Jivamukti methods and is a senior teacher of Prana Vinyasa Flow. Coral leads teacher trainings, retreats and workshops around the world and regularly contributes to Yoga Journal. You can learn more about her work at coralbrown.net.

 

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: chakras , Coral Brown , fear , gratitude , muladhara

8 Yoga Poses that Kindle Gratitude on Thanksgiving

By AOLRC
October 23, 2018


Start your Thanksgiving day with 8 yoga poses that inspire gratitude.

For the best results, hold each pose for five to ten breaths.

1. Mountain Pose with Raised Hands (Urdva Hasta Tadasana)

This welcoming, powerful pose kindles gratitude as you open your heart and stand grounded in receptivity. Feel hopeful and grateful for all your dreams and the unknown adventures of the future that give you a sense of purpose and openness respectively.

2. Standing Forward Fold (Hastapadasana)

This releases the spine and invokes gratitude as you learn to trust your feet to hold you and allow fresh, oxygen-rich blood to move towards your brain for mental clarity. Allow your worries and negativity from the day to roll down your spine and pour onto the floor, and feel renewed with gratitude for the positivity in your life.

3. Child’s Pose (Shishuasana)

This gentle hip-opener inspires gratitude as you fold forward into yourself, get closer to the earth as if you are putting a gentle kiss of gratefulness on the forehead of mother earth. Bow down and surrender. Let go of things that are not serving you. Find gratitude for your very breath—a sign that you are alive and everything is possible.

4. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

This challenging pose inspires gratitude as you practice courage and vulnerability while remaining open. As you open your heart, throat, and shoulders, find gratitude for all the courage you’ve summoned into your life, and how it’s helped you through challenges big and small.

5. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

This hamstring stretch inspires gratitude as you focus your attention inward. As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful.

6. Supported Reclining Heart Opener (Supta Baddhakonasana)

This relaxing chest opener softens and opens up your heart chakra and inspires gratitude as you allow the props to support you. Think of a friend, family member or mentor who is dear to you and all you’ve learned from him or her. Allow the thought of this person to inspire feelings of being nurtured and loved. Feel the gratitude for yourself and those around you radiating out from your heart center.

7. Knees-to-Chest (Pavanmutasana)

Lying down, draw your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins. Take a moment to feel gratitude for yourself. Hug yourself and accept who and where you are.

8. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

This “ahhhhh”-inducing pose inspires gratitude as you rest completely and let go of all tension. Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles. Finally feel compassion and gratitude for all beings everywhere, wishing them health, happiness, and ease on their journeys as well.

On this Thanksgiving day, I encourage you reflect on what your yoga practice has done for you over the years. Not only will this get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving, but it will also give your practice new meaning and purpose.

Celebrate gratitude for a month

Studies prove that giving thanks can make you happier, and gratitude increases a sense of well-being by 10%. Try it and find out for yourself!

Starting from Thanksgiving day, maintain a gratitude journal. Every morning, start your day with a simple gratitude meditation about 3-10 things you are grateful for, both big and small. Simply jot down the little moments of grace that comes effortlessly into your life. You will be amazed at how these small blessings cultivate a beautiful “just right” abundance of love and joy. Make the whole month about giving thanks, not just one day. And you will see that it will become your lifetime habit.

Finally let us remember that Thanksgiving is much more than turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. This year find gratitude not only for your blessings but also in the challenges that have shaped who you are today.

By Sejal Shah. Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Next Steps

Join us for Sri Sri Yoga Teacher Training – an authentic and immersive 3-week 200H Yoga Alliance accredited training with a world-class faculty. Dive deeply into yoga and emerge from this life-changing immersion as a confident, heart-centered yoga teacher with a profound practice to share. Next training June 20 – July 11, 2019 Learn More


 

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

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , experiences , gratitude , health , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat , yoga teacher training
Practicing Blessing - Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: Jurian Hughes on Practicing Blessing

By Jurian Hughes
July 1, 2018

Practicing Blessing - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

A few years ago, my beloved David Wallace and I taught a program together for the first time. We spent the week leading up to New Year’s with a tribe of like-minded souls, diving into ‘Practicing Blessing’. And what an incredible blessing it was! Though I confess I had some trepidation about our teaching together – we are soooo different! – it turned out to be, of course, the great gift.

 

While David is a thoughtful scholar, minister, and poet, I’m a body-feeling dancer, chanter, and yogi. Together, with our distinctive/complementary styles, we literally practiced blessing together. For five days, we practiced actively cultivating ways in which to live in the space of embodied connection to spirit. It was, by turns, surprising, humbling, inspiring, delightful, empowering, raw, and beautiful.

 

The blessing of dance prayer

The highlight for me was New Year’s Eve, when we offered what may be the first-ever flash mob dance prayer in the middle of Kripalu Yoga Center’s busy lunchtime dining hall. Amidst hundreds of guests and their chatter, Simon de Voil’s beautiful song “Deep Peace” rang out. A hush came over the room as twenty, thirty, then perhaps forty of us rose from various points throughout the hall, to silently, in a simple dance, bless the throng. People stopped eating to receive our wordless offering. Better yet, some stood, or sat, and joined us. It was one of the most moving events I’ve witnessed in quite some time.

 

I had to try to capture some of that. Sean Nackoul helped me make this video of the dance prayer in the snow, so you can practice it, too…

 

I, too, am a dancer

Dance prayer teaches me something I am always forgetting–the power of simplicity. I am so thankful to my teacher, mentor, and friend, Megha Nancy Buttenheim, creator of Let Your Yoga Dance®, who introduced me to dance prayer over a decade ago and reminds me that ‘less is, so often, more’. My goal at this stage of life is not to perfect my dance technique, but rather to make the beauty, the joy, the sacred practice of dance so simple, so accessible that everyone who comes into the room has the experience of “I, too, am a dancer.”

 

Practicing gratitude

The simplest, most helpful practice I’ve taken on since our ‘Practicing Blessing’ program is to write down daily the blessings of the day. It’s been quite eye-opening to observe my inner landscape as I do this; to witness myself on the days when it’s difficult vs. the days when I could go on forever. It’s teaching me what I value by highlighting the things that show up over and over – David, Smitty, health, friendship, work that feels worthwhile, a momentary connection with a stranger that infuses my day with meaning… This practice of taking time to remember and record the ways in which I have been blessed helps me to feel like I can then, in turn, be a blessing to others. Simple, yes.

Today, may you feel your blessings overflowing, and know that you, too, are worthy and capable of being a blessing in the world.

 

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: blessing , dance , gratitude , in house , jurian hughes , yoga
Slow Down - Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: Wah! on Slowing Down

By Wah
April 9, 2018

Slowing Down - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Slowing down seems like it’s the opposite of what you might want — to move forward. But when you slow down and reconnect to the energies of nature and divinity, you have enough flexibility and openness to move forward with a greater clarity of intention and a wealth of grace.

 

Slowing down

When things are going great, that’s when you can move fast. We all love to move fast, moving here, going there, getting it all done. But when it’s time to regroup, moving fast is the absolute worst thing you can do. Moving fast when you’re injured, sick, or in a bad mood only sends you down the wrong road faster.

 

Don’t miss the view

Anger comes from trying to force something into existence. Every one of us has felt that illusion: thinking we’re in charge, that we make our life happen. Life choices help us steer the boat, but we didn’t make the boat or create the water. If you want to make something happen, if you want to rise to the top, it’s actually an indication of aggression. Aggression moves against the flow. Aggression is unable to regroup and find a different way. My teacher Amma says, “You’re riding on a train, and you want to get to your destination faster, so you jog back and forth on the train.” You don’t get there faster, of course. But you do miss the view.

 

Your breath will tell you everything

Where are you going, that you have to get there so fast? Are you sure you can maximize your success? Or, let me ask you this — are you breathing? Can you take a fresh, clean breath right now? If you can, you’re in the flow. If you can’t, you need to regroup. Your breath will tell you everything, because it holds the same information as the rest of your cells. What is in your consciousness is also in your cells; what is in your cells is in your field. What is in your field is in your life. So what’s your intention? What do you want to discover and feel? And are you feeling it only as you get there? If you feel it all along the way as you take your journey, you inform your body and mind as to why you’re going this way in the first place.

Move with the waves

A surfer doesn’t create the wave; it’s provided by the Universe. You don’t create a trend, you simply move with the energy that’s already there. You don’t influence opinions or change people’s minds; you remain true to your own purpose and work cooperatively with those in your life. Every day there is an energy provided for you — when the sun comes up, there’s energy; when the wind blows, there’s energy. You can acknowledge what’s there for you and choose to move with it.

 

What are you grateful for? Gratitude gives you motivation. Grace gives you the softness to allow it to happen. Being flexible and malleable allows you to recognize what’s happening and change your course if you need to.

In with the new

The Qi Renewal Retreat James Leary and I offer is a chance to regroup, an opportunity to access the cells that prioritize your life and match it to your current hopes and aspirations. Most clients and students we work with are having trouble moving forward in their lives because an old pattern is not finished or resolved. Through the techniques of Life Qi Renewal, outdated life patterns can be released so the new can begin. Our favourite saying is, “Out with the old! In with the new!”

 

Wah! has been working in the field of personal development for 25 years and published books on yoga and healing. Her self-healing techniques, toning and QiDance are synthesized from a lifetime of study in yoga and meditation traditions.

Join Wah! and Dr. James Leary from April 18th to April 22nd at their Life Qi Renewal Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center.

           

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: energy , grace , gratitude , in house , qi , slowing down , Wah!
Art of Living Retreat Center - Articles We Love

Articles We Love: A Very Merry December

By Paige Reist
December 12, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center - Articles We Love

No matter how you celebrate, this is the time of year when we have endless opportunities to come together to experience love, friendship, connection, generosity, spiritual growth, and peace. Our favourite articles this month will guide you through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and help you keep yourself grounded and focused on the true gifts of the season.

 

The Yoga of Receiving: Practice Opening Up to Life’s Gifts

Sally Kempton for Yoga Journal

Sally Kempton shares her experiences on learning to accept life’s gifts. During the holiday season, we so often focus on expressing generosity, but rarely do we take the opportunity to practice the art and the yoga of receiving.

“Receiving is a yoga in itself—one that demands a high degree of sensitivity, awareness, and even skillfulness. For one thing, we need to recognize that we’re being given a gift—whether it’s a birthday present, a compliment, a teaching, a helpful piece of feedback, a genuine service, a loving gesture, or a blessing from the invisible realms. Second, we need to cultivate enough stillness and openness to take it in. Third, we need to appreciate it, to value it, or, at the very least, to value the giver’s intention. Fourth, we need to feel that we deserve it—that the gift is neither too much, too little, or too out of line with who we are. In fact, the word “receive” comes from the Latin word recipere, which means “to take back.” This implies that what we receive is already ours in the sense that we do, indeed, deserve it, that it completes something within us, or simply that we’ve attracted it by the nature of our being.”

 

Take 10 Minutes to Defuse Holiday Stress with This Mindfulness Practice

Mark Bertin for Mindful

This quick mindfulness practice will help alleviate the stress and pressure that inevitably piles up around the holidays.

“Instead of aiming for perfection and letting every detail cast us into bouts of worry, we can use the holidays to actively appreciate people around us and our good fortune wherever we find it. Even when things fall apart, there’s often more to see. Often, when you let go of hard-and-fast expectations, you open yourself up to more opportunities for connection and joy.”

 

A Low-Tech Holiday

Leah Pellegrini for Clementine Daily

There are many wonderful things about technology. It connects us and makes our lives easier and more organized, but it also has the effect of taking us out of the moment. Leah Pellegrini shares her thoughts on the benefits of a low-tech holiday.

“The holidays are intended as a cherished time of coming together: joining in revelry, gathering around sacred rituals, and laughing, lounging, and luxuriating with loved ones. As tempting as it is to tune out Uncle Abe’s long-winded stories, or to take a breather from the chaos of full house, when you use technology for a ‘break’ it prevents making the genuine connections (good, bad or indifferent) that comprise the fabric of family relationships.”

 

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: art of living retreat center , Christmas , gratitude , holidays , mindfulness , stress

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