Art of Living Retreat Center - Freedom

Exploring Wisdom: Stacey Vann & Pamela Hunter on Freedom

By Pamela Hunter
May 12, 2018

Art of Living Retreat Center - Freedom

 
“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds.” — Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras
 

What is being free?

How do you experience freedom? This is a question I often ask our retreat participants. Are you aware of how freedom feels in your body, mind, and Spirit? Our awareness forgets simply for the joy of remembering. Feel your feet on the earth and observe your breath.

 

Remembering freedom

Remember a time as a child when you felt free. How does it feel in your body? Where are you? What are the scents in the air? What sensations are touching your skin? What sounds do you hear? Do you remember a taste on your tongue? Simply pause in the memory of that moment.

 

Authentic joy

Bring that memory into present time and awaken your awareness to the feeling of freedom. My memory is riding my bicycle with no hands in the California summer heat while visiting my grandparents. You are authentically joyful, because depression does not ride on your bike with your hands in the air and your heart open to the world. You are one with the wind. You are one with your Spirit. Everyday, we have the choice to choose freedom.

 

Awakening awareness

During our retreat together, we awaken our awareness to feel freedom, feel joy, feel authentic. Through the simple actions of self-care, self-love, self-reflection, we remember our joy. How did we ever forget?

 

Join us for self-care, self-love, and self-reflection at our Awakening Your Essence retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center, from September 21 to 24, 2018.

 

Stacey Vann, E-RYT 500, and Pamela Hunter, E-RYT 500, are the Aloha Sistas. Stacey is a mother of five, Soul-Centered Life Coach, Doula, Reflexologist, and the Founder of the Mahabhuta Yoga Festival and Galactic Child Yoga. Pamela is a mother of two, an Integrated Health Coach, an Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Certified trainer, and the owner of Fun Lovin’ Wellness.


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: exploring wisdom , freedom , happiness , joy , memory , mindfulness , pamela hunter , stacey vann
Art of Living Retreat Center - Walking through the Door

In House: Stacey Vann & Pamela Hunter on Walking Through the Door

By Pamela Hunter
April 30, 2018

Art of Living Retreat Center - Walking through the Door

 

“Walk through the door. It’s the step you’ve waited your whole life for. Go ahead and do your work, realize your vision, and find your wroth. We’re walking with you, every step of the way. We will always be with you. You will find your way… follow your heart.” – Wah!

 

Walking through the door

I remember walking through the door to my very first yoga class, and then my first workshop, and finally, not soon enough, my first retreat. The progression of being ready to walk through the door for the different intensities of my yoga journey was all-life giving.

 

What has yoga given you?

Yoga gave me a home to come to within myself and within community. What has yoga given you? How does yoga feel for you? Do you remember when you first walked through the door? Sometimes we need to free ourselves from our typical daily life in order to sit in the rhythms of our soul.

 

The magic of awareness

We invite you to sit for a moment here and now and observe your rhythm. Feel your feet and the earth you touch. Notice the motion of your breath. Follow your heartbeat. Sense what you taste in your mouth. Does the taste match what you are smelling? Allow the noises you hear around you to be included. Envision your essence pulsating from within. Our vibrational rhythms support us as we awaken our awareness to feel our essence where we can embrace our innate wisdom, truth, consciousness, and bliss.

 

An invitation to self-care

Is your heart calling you to interweave your yoga with essential oils, sound, nature, and community? Can you give yourself time and space to walk through the door? Join us for self-care, self-love, and self-reflection at our Awakening Your Essence retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center, from September 21 to 24, 2018.

 
“Come and you will find the inner one you want to. 
Find the inner mind you’ve waited so long to.” — Wah
 

Stacey Vann, E-RYT 500, and Pamela Hunter, E-RYT 500, are the Aloha Sistas. Stacey is a mother of five, Soul-Centered Life Coach, Doula, Reflexologist, and the Founder of the Mahabhuta Yoga Festival and Galactic Child Yoga. Pamela is a mother of two, an Integrated Health Coach, an Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Certified trainer, and the owner of Fun Lovin’ Wellness.


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: in house , journey , mindfulness , pamela hunter , stacey vann , wellness , yoga
Art of Living Retreat Center

The Practice: Creating a Home Meditation Space

By Alejandra Roca
February 10, 2018

Art of Living Retreat Center

 

Recharging your body and mind, improving your focus, and boosting clarity are all great reasons to meditate — but what if you could improve on what you’re already doing?

 

What if you could create the perfect meditation space in your home?

Carving out a private enclave for meditation doesn’t have to be tough, whether you’re living in a studio-sized condo or a spacious estate with a dozen spare rooms you’ve never used. With a few simple tips, you can transform any space into a private nook where you can disconnect from daily stresses, internal dialogue, and negative experiences.

 

What is a meditation space?

A meditation space is a sacred spot where you can release stress, find serenity, and center yourself. Sacred doesn’t necessarily mean religious or spiritual; in this context, it means you only use the area for meditation, yoga, rest, or stillness. It’s your own personal retreat within your home, and you can designate a corner, a partitioned space, or even an entire room to it as long as you feel good about your choice.

 

Exceptional spots for a meditation space in any home

This is your space, so there isn’t a one-size-fits all spot that works for everyone. Ideally, you’ll be able to walk through each room in your home and narrow down your choices to rooms you absolutely love — those that make you smile, relax you, and give you a sense of peace. As you search for your perfect meditation space, be mindful that:

 
  • Facing a southeast corner will bathe you in early morning light, which may be perfect for dawn meditation.
    Facing a northwest corner will let you bask in the sun’s waning rays, which ould be ideal if you’re an evening meditator.
  • Facing due east emulates Buddha, who sat beneath the Bodhi tree and meditated directly toward the early morning sun.
 

Where to meditate in a small home

If you don’t have much room to spare, a terrace, patio or corner of a room in a condo or townhouse might be the perfect spot to set up your meditation space. Add a privacy screen or hang billowing curtains from a single point on the ceiling to shut out the world while you connect with your inner self, or clear out a closet for instant (and expense-free) privacy.

  • Although it’s tough to find spare square footage in a condo, apartment or studio, you can make extra room by:
  • Swapping out your sofa for comfy chairs
  • Installing a loft bed in a room with high enough ceilings
  • Storing non-essential accessories and furnishings rather than trying to cram them all into your space
  • Using wall cabinets rather than freestanding bookshelves in your decor
 

Where to meditate in a more spacious home

Create your private paradise in a quiet corner, in an enclosed room or the garden to find your inner peace. One of the keys to successful meditation is carving out a distraction-free environment where you can get comfortable.

 

Spots to avoid

Steer clear of high-traffic areas or those where distractions are likely to pull you off the path to Nirvana. Try to avoid the kitchen, the living room, or anywhere too close to the lavatory, the front door, or a space that faces the street. Your home office may drag your mind toward work, and a place that makes you want to nap rather than meditate, like your bedroom, might be a little too relaxing.

 

Meditation room ideas

The more peaceful, relaxing, and beautiful your meditation room is, the more time you’ll want to spend there. you’ll feel it pulling you in before you start your day, each time you need a break, and when you wind down for the night.

 

The perfect room decor in a meditation space

Designing your Zen meditation space for self-help and personal development requires you to stick to a few principles:

 
  • Keep your space clean and clutter-free.
  • Only include items you love and that contribute to your happiness and peace.
  • Add natural elements where possible, such as living plants and stones.
 

The bare essentials

You don’t have to dedicate an entire room and a month’s salary to creating your meditation space. The simplest — and sometimes most effective — meditation spaces feature only bare essentials, such as:

 
  • Meditation cushions or a soft spot to sit
  • Natural light
  • Something with personal significance, like bells, crystals, or affirmation stones
  • Fresh air
 

If you can, spring for a serene color palette in the room. Neutrals, which are the most popular (think earth tones and off-whites), are what you’ll find in monasteries and professionally designed meditation spaces, but here’s where you can make it interesting. Dark colors make a room feel smaller, which is ideal if you want to feel enveloped in your space, and pastels lend an airy, open feeling to any room, which could be perfect if you prefer a sense of freedom while you meditate. Bright, glossy white that produces glare is generally off-limits, though, because it’s too harsh for the serene environment you’re trying to create.

 

Pro tip: If natural sunlight hits the wall and makes you squint, the paint color is wrong for your meditation space.

 

Zen touches

Your meditation room can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. A few carefully chosen elements can turn any space into a soul-nourishing haven. Consider adding decor such as:

 
  • Attractive incense burners
  • A fountain for the sight and sound combination
  • Singing bowls
  • Decorative cushions
  • A Zen sand table
  • Aromatherapy diffusers
  • Adjustable lighting
  • An altar
  • Candles
 

Bare wood floors can add a sense of authenticity to your meditation room, and they can make the room appear (and feel) larger – but they’re not necessary as long as you have the proper posture. A plush area rug or tatami mat on top of carpet can carve out a private space where you can meditate, practice yoga or rest without costing you a fortune.

 

The best plants for meditation spaces

The Art of Living Retreat Center

Most people find that having at least one living plant makes a huge difference in the quality of a meditation space. They’re essential for pulling volatile organic chemicals out of the air and allowing you to commune with natural, earthy elements. Plants that thrive in low light and contribute to Zen include:

  • Philodendron
  • Pothos
  • Sansevieria
  • Echeveria
  • Monstera Deliciosa
 

What not to put in your meditation space

Few things are more distracting than clutter, so your meditation room needs to be light on things that can counteract your Zen. Avoid electronics (the TV has to go!) except for music players or electronic aromatherapy diffusers, and banish toys, paperwork or other distractors that will prevent you from connecting with yourself.

 

Bonus tips for the perfect meditation room

  • Buy plug protectors in case you’re tempted to bring in electronics (other than that music player). They serve as a gentle reminder that technology is unwelcome in your space.
  • If your window has a bad view, use Japanese rice paper or privacy glass decals to shut out the world without compromising your natural light.
  • This room is your escape, so nothing that pulls you back into your everyday existence belongs there.
 

What’s your dream meditation space like?

With a little planning and a dash of inspiration, anyone can create a spectacular meditation space — and we’d love to hear about what you’ve already done. Share your story in the comments below!

 

by Alejandra Roca. This article first appeared on Redfin.com

 
 

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: meditation , mindfulness , silence , wellness , wisdom , yoga , yoga practice
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
Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: Sarah McLean on the Power of Attention

By AOLRC
November 1, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center

This autumn at the Art of Living Retreat Center, Sarah McLean, best-selling author and meditation expert, brought retreat guests through a journey to understanding the value of attention. Attention, as Sarah puts it, is your superpower: the most important ingredient for living a powerful, purposeful, love-filled life. We recently sat down with Sarah to chat about meditation, identity, and love.

 

AOLRC: What would you say your main message is? 

SM: Meditation is your birthright. You don’t have to know a secret language or take on a new religion. Everybody has the capacity and the capability of meditation.

 

My favourite benefit of meditation is the ability to turn attention inward, dive into the source of our lives, the source of our consciousness, the source of our expression and attention, and to really get to know who we are outside of our roles, responsibilities, worries, plans, histories, relationships – to just know ourselves as the center point of peace that is wise and clear and love.

 

AOLRC: So, if we were to take ourselves outside of the context of our roles and responsibilities… who are we? Who do we find there? 

 

SM: That’s such a great question. Who am I? Who is this one looking through my eyes? Who are you? You know, I wish I could give you a short answer, but I think that everyone’s journey is to discover the source of who they are. As a meditator, I’m always talking about attention, and bringing that attention back, whether it’s to your breath, to a mantra, or to a physical sensation.

But what is attention? Where does it arise from? What is the source of attention? For me, these are all similar questions to the one we’re asking – who am I? Who is this one who’s paying attention? It’s not just a though, or a personality, but who is it? What I’ve personally come to realize is that my expanded, open attention is a currency. A currency of love.

 

When I give you attention, it’s a connection and I’m loving you in this way. When you give me attention, you’re loving me. As long as the attention is very expanded, like the aperture of a camera – it’s much different than the contracted attention that can occur when people are stressed, fearful, or trapped in a self-limiting belief.

 

So, for me… who am I? The answer is that I am love. And who are you? You’re an expression in the same field of love. Everything is.

 

AOLRC: And how do you feel Ayurveda sets us up for a good meditation practice? 

 

SM: Well, in order to meditate, it’s ideal to be comfortable. Ayurveda is all about preventing stress from accumulating and masking your true nature. When we don’t see ourselves and the world clearly, we’re not comfortable, physically or otherwise.

 

Getting enough sleep, digesting your food, and living in tune with nature and its rhythms are all important practices. Ayurveda really is a beautiful entry to nourishing your body and mind to be a well-tuned machine. It enhances your awareness. It’s not only about digesting your food well, but about digesting your life, being present for your experiences, being aware of your surroundings, choosing sensory inputs that are nourishing to you.

 

AOLRC: What came first for you, Ayurveda or meditation?

SM: Well, I was walking with a question, as many people do. I was 26 and working in real estate, and this question kept coming up – what’s next for me? This isn’t it. So I kept thinking about that question, and like anyone who is on a quest, if you’re present – the science, the wonders, the synchronicity started to appear to me.

 

I was reading about yoga, meditation, herbs, different ways of living in tune with nature, seasonal therapies, massage. And I picked up a book on Ayurveda. I started to get excited, because I’d been interested in all of these practices separately, and Ayurveda encapsulates all of that.

 

I met someone on the beach, and he asked me “So, what do you really want to do with your life?” And I told him that I was interested in Ayurveda, and believe it or not, his entire family practiced Ayurveda and meditation. He totally lit up when I said it, and it excited me so much that I went and started to read several books by Deepak Chopra.

 

In the back of his book Perfect Health, it said that if I wanted more information, that I should call this number. So, of course, I called it, and it was the Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts. I met a lovely man called Ron Pleasant, and his wife Melody Pleasant – aren’t those beautiful names? Ron asked me – “Would you like to come work here?” And, of course, I said yes.

I packed up my car and drove up to Massachusetts. I worked and lived there, immersing myself in the Ayurvedic lifestyle, meeting with vaidyas from India, learning about herbs and Panchakarma, and spending lots of time in meditation.

 

I learned that meditation supports everything, because it excavates the deepest stresses, even for people who grew up in a difficult environment. Ayurveda, accompanied with meditation, allows for that return to wholeness. For me they’re inseparable.

 

AOLRC: A lot of people conceive of meditation as something that happens in the head, not the heart. What, in your experience, is the connection between the heart, the mind, love, and meditation?

SM: For me, love is much more than a sentiment. It just is; love is. Meditation is about meeting your mind , meeting the way you think, meeting that, the one who is thinking, and merging the two. When you look deeply into anything, what you find is love.

 

Whether we’re looking deeply into a flower or deeply into a soul, deeply into a child’s eyes, or deeply into a forest – we always find this field of love that is expressed as a tree, as a child, as a flower, as you, as me.

 

When you say the word “I”, and point to yourself, you generally point to your heart. You are not pointing to the head. When you point to your heart, this is where the “I” lives: the same presence that is looking through your eyes.

 

When your awareness expands, you realize that you are that. That is what the mantra Aham Brahmasmi indicates, I am the universe, I am you, you are me, this is that. Everything and everyone (whether you believe it or not) is an expression of love. For me, “that” lives in my heart. I drop my attention to the heart, instead of the head, and walk heart-first into any situation.

 

AOLRC: What would you like to share with someone just starting on the path?

SM:  We’re all on a journey, and it all starts somewhere. I know when people come to my center in Sedona or meet me at a retreat, that many tell me that they’re in transition. They knew that their old way had ended, but they didn’t know what the new way was.

 

Quite often, people are on a quest of their own. Whether it’s a quest for health, a quest for joy, a quest for love, or a quest for peace. To acknowledge that and to be present is powerful. Mindfulness helps you be open to the ways in which you’re being pointed.

 

There’s a lot of mystery around meditation. I don’t teach that. I teach techniques. You don’t have to take on a new religion. All meditation requires is three ingredients – your willingness to do it, your gentle, non-judgmental attention, and a focus for your meditation, whether it be something you see, feel, or hear.

 

I always encourage people to realize that mediation is a practice, a training of your attention. We’re not meditating so we can have a great meditation; we’re meditating so we can have a great life, so we can live with this awareness of Self. The experience of the real Namaste.

 

AOLRC: And what is that real Namaste for you?

 

SM: It’s an awareness of the Divine living through me, as me. Whether you call it God, or love, or Source, or the unified field. I bow down to that. That is much wiser than I am in my limited scope of attention. It’s omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, infinite. Once I recognize that in myself, I can see the same in you. The same in people I don’t like. The same in every living being. The life force of love.

 

AOLRC: Is there anything else that you’d like to share?

 

SM: I’ve never met anyone who can’t meditate. Thoughts are natural in meditation. It’s the nature of your mind to think, be creative, to identify and judge, and label. That’s the nature of the mind. It doesn’t mean you’re failing.

 

My book, The Power of Attention, is all about that. You learn to sustain your ability to pay attention to one or two things at a time. It could be your breath and the mantra. It could be japa practice. There are many ways to do it, but it’s you and that which you’re paying attention to. Subject, object. What happens over time is that the separation between the two dissipates, and all that’s left is pure awareness. Some call that transcendence. And it gets back to the question, what is it that’s looking through your eyes? Turn your attention back to the source of your attention, and you’ll just find love.

 

AOLRC: So if I’m practicing meditation, but I feel like I’m not capable of focusing my attention, what advice would you give me? 

 

SM: It’s said that we have 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s a thought every 1 to 2 seconds. That’s just the nature of your mind, to think. Attention is something that seems to be scattered – bells, whistles, phones, ads, politics. It seems like we’re at the mercy of what’s the loudest and shiniest. But when we start to value our attention, we recognize that we only have so much of it. We recognize its power, that it is love, that it does enliven that which we do, especially if it’s our open, non-judgmental attention.

 

Then we recognize that it’s something we have to train. It’s a skill set. We don’t acknowledge that in our school systems, families, or culture.

 

Being listened to – how do you feel when you’re being listened to? I had a woman in our retreat say that she felt as though her thoughts were more organized when she was being heard. What does it feel like when you’re being listened to, versus when someone keeps checking their phone, looking above your head, or watching the TV over you? There’s a certain feeling that exists or a certain exchange that happens with attention.

 

It’s not just between you and another human being, but it’s between you and everything in your life. So start to appreciate your attention, start to pay attention to how you pay attention, and what you pay attention to. Meditation is training for that. Too many thoughts? Come on back again and again and again, and start to get a handle on your own attention, because only you can train yourself.

 

AOLRC: And how was your experience of the Retreat Center?

 

SM: I feel very supported here. The food is fantastic! The housing is beautiful for everyone, whether people are here for a single room and a spa experience, or in a dorm room. Everybody in the dorm experience loved it. The meeting room was great. The environment was so peaceful, the sunrises and sunsets, the owls in the middle of the night, the crickets. It’s definitely an immersion into nature and I love it. I think it’s so important to have a community that is committed, not to commerce, but to consciousness.
 


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: attention , meditation , mindfulness , Sarah McLean , wellness , wisdom
Art of Living Retreat Center

Anger, Laughter, and the Practice

By AOLRC
October 12, 2017
Art of Living Retreat Center
Anger can be a useful tool when used with awareness and a purpose. However, most of the anger is useless and harmful. Remembering and practicing the following may be helpful.

(more…)

TAGS: anger , art of living , art of living retreat center , happiness , laughter , lifestyle , mindfulness , wisdom , yoga
Art of Living - Faith in What

Exploring Wisdom: How to Cultivate Faith

By AOLRC
September 25, 2017

Art of Living - Faith in What

Faith. We hear this word so often in a spiritual context that we’ve begun to take the meaning for granted. What is faith, exactly? And on our own individual  journeys, what do we put our faith in? Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spoke about the role of faith in the path of spirituality during his last visit to Boone; what it is, how to develop it, and how to develop trust in yourself and your journey. 

(more…)

TAGS: art of living , faith , happiness , healing , knowledge , mindfulness , sri sri ravi shankar , wellness
Art of Living Journeys

Art of Living Journeys: Lillian’s Creative Spirit

By AOLRC
September 18, 2017

Art of Living Journeys

Lillian Bijoux, an artist and singer-songwriter, describes her experience with the Art of Living Happiness Program as something that moves and and inspires her creative spirit.

 

Lillian remembers feeling free and open as a child, unrestricted by her mother’s admonishments to “be like everyone else.” However, with the death of her father, she buried her free and loving spirit, leaving her severely depressed as a single mom of four. Bijoux first opened her heart again with a dear friend’s support, which was a turning point that began her journey towards returning to her naturally passionate, spirited self. Here’s a bit of her account of her experiences with the SKY meditation offered by Art of Living and IAHV:

 

A Newfound Sense of Happiness

Oh, it’s given me so much happiness. It’s washed away all my sorrow and grief and pain. And even my doubts, over time; it’s taken time because I do it every day; it’s an incremental process.

 

I do my Kriya practice everyday. I do it when I feel anxious or angry or whatever. An unpleasant emotion and it washes it away. I am transformed into newness, aliveness and innocence, I guess you’d say, again. I am constantly in awe of the whole process and so thankful, full of gratitude that it’s happening. I feel like I am reaching my potential in life and that I’ll find my purpose in life through this practice.

 

A Clearer, More Creative Mind

The first week I was doing the Sudarshan Kriya, I had 13 new original songs that came spontaneously, the words and music at the same time. And I‘m a painter, and it’s like the spirit calls me to get up in the middle of the night, so I get up and paint. And the writing; you know, God sits on my shoulder when I’m writing.

 

An Accepting Attitude

I like to have new experiences now. I’m just open to whatever happens. And pain doesn’t bother me anymore. Physical pain or emotional pain doesn’t bother me like it used to.  I am able to cast it aside, let it wash through me, and then it’s gone. And then I’m new again.

 

A Contagious Passion for the Practice

I want this for my family and for my dear friends. I’ve tried to convince them but now I’ve decided to be an example, like look at me, look what’s happened to me;  how I am new; I’m different and I am thankful to be alive.

 

I am so in admiration of Sri Sri because he has dedicated his life to healing the world and the other people’s hearts. I think everyone is capable of doing this and radiating love out to others because if you love yourself then you can love others.

 

If you’re interested in learning the practical applications of breathing, meditation and yoga exercises, register for the Happiness Program, which runs every weekend at the Boone Art of Living 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: art of living retreat center , creativity , happiness , Happiness Program , mindfulness , wisdom
Art of Living Retreat Center - A Mindful September

Articles We Love: A Mindful September

By Paige Reist
September 14, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center - A Mindful September

 

September is a month of new beginnings and opportunities, and in the spirit of the season, the Art of Living Retreat Center blog is excited to share our new series: Articles We Love. We’ve combed the web so you don’t have to, finding nuggets of wisdom, empowerment, and motivation for your mid-month boost. The articles we love this month address activism, aging, and rewiring our thoughts for a more mindful approach to health and wellness.

 

Silence the Voice In Your Head that Keeps Sabotaging Your Health

Kathleen Trotter for Huffington Post

As the year begins to wane, it’s easy to lose steam on your health and wellness routine.
In this wonderful article, Kathleen Trotter talks about how to overcome ‘brain propaganda’, or the self-defeating thoughts that are keeping us from following through with our health resolutions.

 

“Create a life in which you are loyal to yourself. Become your compassionate best friend — someone who wants you to become the best version of yourself that you can be. Someone who encourages you to learn from your experiences, but also does not fan feelings of body shame, self-hate, and brain propaganda.”

 

8 Steps Yogis Can Take to Turn Political Anxiety Into Mindful Activism

Larissa Hall Carlson for Yoga Journal

The world is a tumultuous place right now, and sometimes it feels as though balancing self-care and care for others is an impossible task to take on. Larissa Hall speaks on the beauty and necessity of shifting our personal yoga practice and sankalpa to a more community-minded focus.

 

“Able, dedicated yogis are taking action: maintaining enough yoga practice for daily self-care, stress reduction, mental clarity, and overall health, then getting off the mat and serving society directly. 

   

‘I thought it was now or never’ – how I got fit after turning 50

Michelle Hather for The Guardian

 

It’s never too late to take control of your health. Michelle Hather began her yoga practice after 50, and shares her story on how it transformed her health, her mind, and her outlook.

 

“I can slide my hands under the soles of my feet without bending my knees. I can hold a plank for more than a minute, run for a bus (and catch it), stand on my head – and very, very nearly do the splits. And yet 18 months ago, I couldn’t paint my own toenails.”

 

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: activism , aging , art of living , art of living retreat center , fall , mindfulness , wisdom , yoga

In House: Medha Garud on Ayurveda and Spinal Care

By Paige Reist
September 11, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center

 

In her work as a physical therapist, Medha Garud has witnessed first-hand the empowering effects of an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Through the practice of Ayurveda, we have the ability to heal our bodies, rewire our minds, and extend our lives. Read on to hear Medha’s thoughts on spinal care, pain management, and holistic health. 

 

Health from an Ayurvedic Perspective

The top three ways in which we encourage health from an Ayurvedic perspective are through diet, lifestyle, and environment. Ayurveda doesn’t prescribe a one-size-fits-all diet, but rather an individualized diet plan based on our specific body type. Following this plan keeps us in balance.

We try to live our lives as a yogi might. Yogis are often able to live for a hundred years, but we don’t see many non-yogis living that long. This is because we are so often out of sync with nature. Ayurveda teaches us how to be as close to nature as possible, and how to align our lifestyle with the natural cycles of the seasons.

 

Living with mindfulness in our environment doesn’t necessarily mean that if it’s cold outside, we eat warm food, or if it’s warm outside, we eat cooling foods. It means that our mental and emotional environments are healthy as well. Ayurveda teaches us how to build strength to deal with challenges, or it empowers us to move away from things that are not healthy in our lives.

 

Spinal Care & Ayurveda

I’m a physical therapist, and I’ve been treating patients with spinal health issues for 20 years. Before I incorporated Ayurveda into my practice, I never felt that I was reaching for the root cause of these problems that my patients were dealing with. I’d be able to give them short-term relief and advice, but then they’d be in my office again a few months later, dealing with the same issues that brought them in in the first place.

 

I feel that Ayurveda and yoga hold the answer to long-term wellness, because they address the root cause of these problems, rather than just soothing the symptoms.

 

Research suggests that different people feel pain in different ways based on their perception of it. When our perception of pain changes, reported levels of pain actually go down. With this workshop, we use the principles put forth in yoga and Ayurveda to help people manage their pain by changing their perspective on it. We’re building new neural pathways in the brain, and building confidence and body autonomy through yoga postures.

 

We also talk a lot about how Ayurvedic principles can contribute to pain management. An Ayurvedic lifestyle not only remedies the physical presence of pain, but the mental and emotional presence of it as well. We provide anti-inflammatory recipes, and teach meditation and Ayurvedic lifestyle guidelines to promote a holistic approach to a pain-free life. Each person comes away from the workshop with an individualized plan, because, as practitioners of Ayurveda know, every person is different and has different needs. As one of our participants, B. Saccone, said: “I feel more calm, but more importantly, looking forward to using these Ayurvedic techniques to maintain balance.”

 

Living a Pain-Free Life

So many people have been able to move more freely now, without pain. They’ve learned a more healthy way of life, how to eat correctly, and how to live according to nature. They also come away from the workshop with a new knowledge of yoga postures and mudras. “I am at peace with my body and my mind is calm,” said Michelle, another participant of the Ayurveda and Spine Care program. To change your pain, you must change your life, and through Ayurvedic principles, a long, healthy, pain-free life is possible.

 

Medha Garud is a physical therapist, yoga therapist, Ayurvedic practitioner, and RYT 500. Join Medha at the Art of Living Retreat Center for Ayurveda Awareness & Spinal Care from Oct 20-22. 

 

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 , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , fall , healthy lifestyle , lifestyle , mindfulness , pain management , spinal care , wellness , yoga