3 Things Your Yoga Mat Would Tell You If It Could Speak

By AOLRC
January 18, 2019


A Heartfelt Letter from a Yoga Mat to a Yogi

My dear yogi-being,

Namaste!

You and I have been close companions on this beautiful journey of yoga. Today, I am going to take this opportunity to tell you what I’ve been wanting to say for a long time:

1. It’s okay

It’s ok if you miss your practice. I know that sometimes you miss your yoga practice for other things in life – for the laundry, for a party, for meeting friends or that dinner date.

Sometimes you don’t practice for a few days for one reason or another. But when you come back to your mat, there is no need to be unnecessarily harsh to yourself or blame yourself when it takes longer for you to melt into your forward fold, grip your foot during dancer’s pose, or transition effortlessly into chaturanga.

I’m here to say it’s ok, no matter how long you’ve been on or off the mat. Even if you practice everyday or every other day, or rarely – I am here to invite you as you are. I miss you while you are away, but I know the other things you did nourished and added to your journey in different ways. It’s all about the journey. It’s not about the pose, it’s about how you feel in it.

2. Make it a play, I’m your magic carpet

By resting on me – whether it’s through asanas or just by lying down after an overwhelming day – you can transform your mental and physical tiredness into peace and energy. As you press your toes onto me into your Warrior II, I love how I can see the transformation in you from feeling ‘bleh’ to being as happy as a child on a sugar rush. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Flow into movements. Listen to your body. Try new poses. I’m your magic carpet, the instrument to take you to your wonderland within.

3. I’m your blank slate and best friend

I am here to give you the space to be, to release yourself. Roll me out and practice – flow to your heart’s content.

Feeling too emotional or overwhelmed? As you stretch and move through what’s been going on in your life, it’s okay if you trickle a tear in your child’s pose. You can lie down on me and just let thoughts flow. Laugh with me as you move with zeal and enthusiasm on the good days, and giggle with me when you slap face down as you challenge yourself in a Bakasana or Eka Pada Galavasana.

Pour yourself onto me because I’m the space where you can be you – with yourself, by yourself, for yourself. Let’s move and be together as we practice compassion, love and awareness through your asanas, your meditation, and your breath.

All I’m here to say is – you can tell me, and release whatever is in you through the practice. Know that you do and are enough. However it is you need your ‘you time’ – in rest or practice – take it and give it.

Love,
Your Yoga Mat

By Isha Sharma. Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Next Steps With Your Yoga Mat

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 , self-care , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga teacher training

A Breathing Practice to Calm, Soothe, & Relax

By AOLRC
December 20, 2018



For the last 35 years, the Art of Living has taught over 30 million people how to use breathing exercises to quiet the mind, reduce stress and make meditation easier – and Alternate Nostril Breathing is one of our favorites.

In Sanskrit, Alternate Nostril Breathing is called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, which translates to “subtle energy clearing breathing technique”, and it has many benefits. Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and bring a feeling of relaxation to the entire body. It also relaxes the mind in preparation for meditation, which can be helpful for those struggling to settle down before meditating. When performed for just a few minutes, Alternate Nostril Breathing can instantly reduce stress and fatigue, and is a quick and efficient practice to do before high-stress situations such as job interviews and public speaking engagements.

How To Do Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Sit in a comfortable position with the spine long and the hips relaxed. Release any tension from your jaw. Close your eyes.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm face upward, or in the Chin Mudra by pressing the index finger and thumb together.
  • Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows with the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. Use the ring finger and little finger to open and close the left nostril and use the thumb for the right nostril.
  • On an exhalation, close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
  • Breathe in through the left nostril and then close with the ring finger.
  • Release the thumb on the right nostril and breathe out through the right nostril.
  • Inhale through the right nostril, close with the thumb, release the ring finger from the left side and exhale through the left nostril.
  • These two full breaths are called one round of Alternate Nostril Breath.
  • Perform 5 to 9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils. Remember to always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.

The Nadi Shodhana Pranayama will relax the mind and prepare it for meditation, making it a great technique to perform before meditating.

The Benefits

  • Calms and centers the mind
  • Brings the mind to the present moment and out of the past (releasing old fears, regret, and worry)
  • Therapeutic for the circulatory and respiratory systems
  • Stress relieving and relaxing for the body and mind
  • Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
  • Helps purify and balance the nadis, the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
  • Maintains body temperature.

3 Things to Remember

  • The breathing pattern is breath out, breathe in, switch sides.
  • Do not force the breath – keep it gentle and natural. Allow the breath to be smooth and even without creating force or pressure. Do not breathe through the mouth or make any sound such as in Ujjayi breath.
  • Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.

Full article originally posted on ArtofLiving.com

Watch Art of Living faculty member, Jim Larsen, guide Alternate Nostril Breathing.

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 , breathing , experiences , health , meditation , pranayama , self-care , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga teacher training

Too Busy to Breathe? 5 Easy Tips to Incorporate Yoga into a Busy Day

By AOLRC
November 22, 2018



Regular contemporary life is quite hectic, and the mind, body, and spirit go through various spins just trying to keep up. While we’re running amuck, tending to chores, and fulfilling our duties, we have a tendency to fall out of sync with ourselves, which eventually results in a deterioration of our health and well-being.

The truth is that we all need a support system in the form of something that can help us keep running and remain healthy even on our busiest days. Yoga has been helping people for centuries to achieve complete balance in the body, mind, and spirit. The science of yoga is universal and does not require a specific time, place, or schedule in order for practitioners to benefit. You can make it your most reliable companion, even on the busiest of days. All yoga needs is the right mindset. Here are five ways you can incorporate yoga into your hectic schedule and achieve greater balance, harmony, and wellness.

1. Begin the Morning with Sun Salutations

If you snooze in the morning, then you shall lose the day! True to these words, yoga demands commitment, but in return, it will be your constant supporter, even through your worst days. The first step to incorporating yoga into a busy lifestyle is adjusting your body clock so that it is in line with the daily cycle. As a yogi, it is essential to function in harmony with the energy cycle of the sun. This means getting 6-8 hours of sleep, along with ensuring that the wake-up time is at or before the sunrise. Turn off the lights and put away your electronics by 11pm, so you can wake up feeling fresh and active just before the sun begins to shine its first rays. Begin your day with 10 minutes of Sun Salutations, which can have the same effect as a 45-minute workout. Through Surya Namaskar, you not only pay homage to the ultimate source of power (the Sun) but also start your day off prioritizing your mind, body, and spirit.

2. Practice Yogic Breaths On-the-Go

Breath is the source of life. Yoga explains how breath is directly linked to the health and wellness of the entire body and mind – this pranayama breathing technique can be performed anytime and anywhere. All you have to do is breathe into the full capacity of the lungs, retain the breath for a few seconds, and gently breathe out through the nostrils. This is recognized as Simple Relaxation Yoga Breathing. This process of breathwork not only clears any channel blockages in the body and mind, but also ensures that impurities are flushed out from the body in the form of carbon dioxide. If you want to kick it up a notch, there are a few other yogic breathing techniques that you can try, such as Alternate Nostril Breathing, Sudarshan Kriya, Sheetali Breath, or Kapalbhati.

3. Embrace an Ayurvedic Diet Regimen

Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, has a significant role to play in sustaining a yogic lifestyle. Our body is composed of different doshas (constitutions) that directly influence our physical and mental behavioral patterns. Maintaining a dietary discipline according to the body constitution is crucial for gaining the maximum results from your yoga practice. If you are unsure about your dosha, then seek the help of an Ayurveda expert, and begin to incorporate the suggested personalized diet that they will recommend.

4. Take Yoga Breaks

If you’re too busy to roll out the yoga mat and perform a full routine, this doesn’t mean you can’t practice yoga! If you are devoted and in need, then the science shall accompany you wherever you go. Take a few minutes in the car, at work, at your desk, or in the kitchen to practice some Chair Yoga. Try the Seated Spinal Twist, Cat/Cow Pose, Seated Camel Pose, Seated Forward Bend, Seated Tree Pose, or any other poses that you can perform comfortably and in the space of a few minutes. These poses are simple, restorative, and highly effective in keeping the circulation of energy up and running through the entire body from head to toe.

5. Conclude the Day with a 10-Minute Meditation

Now that you are all set to doze off, invest in a few minutes of guided meditation and self-reflection. This can be done by lying down in a supine position, and gently reminiscing about the gifts of life with gratitude while embracing any disparity with positivity. This will help you sleep better, as the practice puts both the mind and the body in a peaceful state.

The first step to welcoming yoga into your life is a resolution. The rest will follow.

By Manmohan Singh. 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 , Ayurveda , experiences , health , healthy lifestyle , meditation , self-care , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga teacher training
Self-Care as a Healer - Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: Self-Care as a Healer

By Wah! & Dr. James Leary
November 10, 2018

Self-Care as a Healer - 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.

“What can a healer do to take care of their energy, and not exhaust themselves when taking care of others?”

 

James: That’s a good one. I hear it all the time, from teachers and healers of a huge variety of modalities. The most common advice I hear in regards to this question is to remain grounded. As a healer, it’s easy to take other people’s energy and feel it as we work with it. You can allow your intuition to take over and to give you guidance as you work with what you know and what you feel.

 

So grounding is great until you get tired, until you take on something that you can’t handle in the moment. Rooting is much more effective.

 

If you look at trees, plants, everything that grows in nature, it all has a root system. If we root, energy can continuously move through us and return to the earth. When you’re feeling other people’s energies, it’s good to just visualize. Be like a tree or a plant and just allow these energies to constantly root through you. You could be 56 floors up in a skyscraper and still feel that you’re rooted to the earth. It’s so tangible.

 

Wah!: When you’re working with other people, affirm the whole time that they are capable of healing themselves. Often after sessions, someone will say “Oh, thank you so much, you fixed me.” and James will say, “No, I didn’t. We worked together and you did it yourself.”

 

True healing is something that the person who is ailing does for him or herself. And so, in your work as a healer, always have the feeling that it’s a perfect world. The people who are coming to you are not broken. They’re just working through a certain issue. They’re learning something, and so the work you do with them or for them is something that you’re doing in order to brighten your own countenance.

 

You don’t feel drained, because what you’re doing is increasing your light, increasing your heart energy by doing this service and by helping someone who already has the ability within themselves to do their own healing. You know for sure that they will work through his issue in a way that is correct for them.

 

If you take on and try to do the work of another person or try to push their timing, that’s not your work to do. It’s their work to do. They do it in their own time, so this feeling of buoyancycx5 and joy is increased in your system as you work with them, because you’ve increased your own light and have affirmed that the person you’re working on is perfect. They’re going to get all of the blessings and information and guidance they need.

 

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: energy , healer , self love , self-care , wisdom
Balancing Relationships - Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: Finding Balance in Relationships

By Wah! & Dr. James Leary
October 10, 2018

Balancing Relationships - 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 I maintain balanced self-care time and together time within my relationship?”

 

James: Relationships are a lot of fun. People always say, “Wow! You guys have this dynamic thing that happens all the time!” People see all the good stuff, and none of the hard work. In any relationship, in order to have balance, you have to create it. There’s always a give and take. When we disagree or have something to work through, we’ll see one another and just exhale, just let it out, and breathe into it.

 

The balance comes from letting that other person have that moment, and not trying to control it, and getting to the point where you can breathe together. You have to allow yourself the ability to just exhale, and to disagree, and to say to yourself that it’s okay. And then have the intention to go further. To work through it, not away from it.

 

The spiritual part of the relationship is a must in my own personal belief. Having something like a common goal of spirituality is one of the best ways to balance your self-care with your relationship. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

Wah!: I like all of that. I would say that self-care is that time when you connect to yourself and to Source. It’s a process of regeneration, so when you’re taking care of yourself, you’re also in service to someone else. The time together should be celebratory. It should be fun. You should try new things together, and make plans that you can look forward to.

 

Sometimes when you spend too much time together there can be a sense of drag, and you feel like you can’t get any more out of your interaction. So spend time together and time apart! We’ll do our own thing and then we’ll come together for a meal, for instance. There should be a flow, a back-and-forth. There should be a rhythm of coming together and building something together, and then being apart and rejuvenating yourself, restoring so that when you come back together, you have more to bring to the table as an individual.

 

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: balance , Love , relationships , self love , self-care

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
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!
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
Meditation Expectations - Art of Living Retreat Center

Letting Go of Meditation Expectations

By Sarah McLean
July 12, 2018

Meditation Expectations - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

If you grow roses, you’ll know that sometimes one just won’t open up. You might want to pull it apart, thinking that you’re helping it bloom, but it just ends up looking like a mess. This is exactly the case with our spiritual growth, too. When you put too much effort into the natural awakening or evolution of your consciousness, you might end up with a mess on your hands–headaches, anxiety, self-judgement.

 

Releasing expectations

The way you can begin to become comfortable with letting yourself naturally progress is to let go of your expectations. Stop monitoring your experiences so closely, and let go of the results that you want. You need to be really kind to yourself.

 

To have a human birth is very fortunate. And to have a human birth where you also have the kernel of desire for enlightenment is very rare. Your path in this life is difficult, unique, and designed especially for you.  When you let go of your expectations about what enlightenment looks like, you open yourself up instead to relieve the exact medicine you need.

 

Non-judgmental attention

Your focus will start to expand as you settle into this non-judgmental attention. You move from an active mind to a receptive one, and sink into a field of love. That’s the source of attention. We are all an expression of love, and this non-judgmental attention helps you let go of your expectations further and surrender to an expansion of consciousness.

 

A state of transcendence

This is the space where the benefits of meditation arise–you purify your nervous system and dive deep into who you really are, which is a present, unique, expansive, infinite, timeless being. In that state of transcendence, you don’t know what time it is, because you’re in this timeless world. You’re in a world of healing, wholeness, and purity.

 

This state doesn’t happen because you wish it into being. It happens because you set yourself up to succeed by letting go of your attachment to the outcome.

 

Meditation is a lover. It always welcomes us back with open arms, without spite. It is always waiting for you. Go to it.

 

Sarah McLean considers herself an American Transcendentalist. She’s dedicated her life to exploring meditation: living as a resident of both a Zen Buddhist monastery and a traditional ashram in India, as well as living and working in a Transcendental Meditation center. She headed up the education programs at Deepak Chopra’s center in California and Byron Katie’s School for the Work. Sarah is a best-selling Hay House author of the books Soul-Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation and The Power of Attention: Awaken to Love and its Unlimited Potential with Meditation. She’s also a sought-after speaker who is determined to create more peace on this planet by helping people wake up to the wonder and beauty of their lives and the world around them through the practice of 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: attention , meditation , mindfulness , Sarah McLean , self love , self-care , transcendence

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