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
Men's Spirituality & Power Animals

Men’s Spirituality & Power Animals

By Dr. Steven Farmer
October 7, 2018

Men's Spirituality & Power Animals

 

Men can’t help but be spiritual. The fact of being alive is a spiritual experience, yet many have lost their conscious awareness of this fundamental truth. Gradually over the past several centuries, the rational, logical mind has usurped the creative wisdom of Spirit and the deeper awareness of the interconnectivity of all life. Civilization has further eroded men’s intimate association with the natural world, and instead, earth and all its non-human inhabitants– plant, animal and mineral– have been viewed solely as resources for the sustenance of more and more human beings. The prevailing belief has been that the planet is to be dominated and subdued rather than viewed as a beautiful, giving, abundant Mother Earth with whom we can have a mutually beneficial and cooperative relationship.

 

Men’s spirituality, internal rhythms, and instinctual selves

What happens for most of us men raised with this as the norm is that we become removed not only from the more natural rhythms and seasons of the earth, but dissociated from our own internal rhythms and instinctual selves. Many never hear– or else ignore– the call of Spirit that beckons us to follow our soul’s destiny. Instead, we chase materiality to the exclusion of the deeper currents of life. Although this path may yield great riches– or at least a comfortable existence– the cost to our bodies and our souls is great.

 

One of my favorite poems by Rainier Maria Rilke (translation by Robert Bly,) speaks to this:

 

Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.
And his children say blessings on him
as if he were dead.
And another man, who remains inside his own house,
dies there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out
into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.

 

One of the men’s groups I have participated in would read this as part of the opening ceremony each meeting. It speaks to the spiritual adventurer that lies inside every man. Typically, unless he is raised in a way that supports this kind of exploration, his soul’s urgings to seek out the bigger truths of the earth and the cosmos remain dormant until such time as they are awakened– if they ever are.

 

The two by four approach

Over the many years of working with men, I’ve found that this awakening can sometimes come as a result of the “two by four” approach. This happens when a man is going along, thinking everything’s okay with his work and his relationship, (even though there’s this nagging voice inside saying otherwise,) and God hits him with a metaphorical two by four. His wife divorces him, he gets laid off from his job or his addictions catch up to him– some momentous disruption of his life takes place. He can ignore this or take it as a signal to change, but by the time he’s in his late 30’s or 40’s, it becomes more difficult to deny it.

 

When lack clarifies

I was in serious straits following my divorce from the mother of my two daughters. I felt alone, confused and unclear about what direction my life was taking. I loved my girls, but didn’t feel competent as their father. I was burdened with guilt from divorcing their mother while they were still young. I knew I had to change my life, but wasn’t sure where to go. The seeds of my spiritual awakening had actually begun during my marriage, following a dramatic realization that I felt unlovable as well as unworthy of being loved. It took the separation to underscore a heartfelt need for a deeper and more profound love– a kind of love that I later realized to be the love that all spiritual masters spoke of.

 

During the years that followed, I found solace in a sequence of spiritually focused organizations. My involvement in each typically lasted about three to four years, at which point I would move on and explore another “church that stands somewhere in the East.” About fifteen years ago, my seeking brought me to shamanism. From my first initiation, I knew it was the path I’d follow for the rest of my life. I also realized that each step I’d taken had been necessary to move to the next one.

 

Animal spirit guides

I’m not suggesting that every man needs to follow a shamanic path. However, there are important aspects of shamanic practices that I’ve found to be particularly attractive to a lot of men.

One of these shamanic technologies is forming a relationship with an animal spirit guide, or power animal. Power animals touch something deep and ancient inside a man, a yearning for a more intimate and heartfelt relationship with the natural world. That relationship has often been forgotten in the haste, competitiveness and isolation from nature that are so endemic to the modern world and modern man. Power animals help a man remember at a profound level his ancient and interrelated connection to Mother Earth. Working with power animals and animal spirit guides is a spiritually practical way to work with the various energies of the earth.

The whole notion of power animals has its roots in some of the earliest spiritual practices of humans cross-culturally. It continues in indigenous peoples today. It’s particularly fitting for today, when many men are awakening to the wisdom of our long-ago ancestors and realizing that so-called “primitive” people have much to teach us.

 

Part of the pack

Our ancestors also knew another secret: we need one another. Sometimes our lives depended on our connection to each other, and in combat situations this is still true. These days, getting together with other men generally happens in order to work together, play a sport or go to the pub and have a few– all perfectly legitimate ways for men to hang out together. Yet at some point in a man’s life, it’s important to expand on these characteristic ways of being together, to break the sense of isolation that many men experience– to be supported by other men in our mission and purpose on this earth. This is as spiritual as a man can get.

 

In all indigenous cultures, men would spend a good deal of their time together, whether hunting or preparing and enacting rituals to honor the sacredness of life. In Australian aboriginal cultures, men’s sacred ceremonies were exclusive of females, and vice-versa.

 

I’m a strong advocate of us gathering in groups on a regular basis to share our triumphs and concerns, and to give and receive support with one another. I’ve been involved in men’s groups for the majority of my adult life, and I can say unequivocally that this has made me a better man. I’ve developed close relationships with a few men who are spiritual brothers, ones I can call on in a time of need. And by need, I don’t mean only when I’m broken and bleeding, but milder needs as well.

 

Learning trust

Yes, there are blocks for most of us to overcome– the main one being to trust other men enough to be vulnerable. We’ve all been hurt in some way by other men, starting with father, and betrayals by other men stay with us for a long time. We may even have been teased for being too sensitive. In addition, when men get together, the specter of homophobia can appear, inhibiting us from revealing our inner feelings and thoughts. It takes a different sort of courage to confront these blocks and overcome them, to test the waters of trusting other men, to discern who can be trusted– and who can’t.

 

If you think of yourself as a spiritual seeker, then I strongly encourage you to look into the idea of a men’s group. You can put it together yourself with a couple of mates that you’re close to, taking a leadership role. Again, it requires courage to take this kind of risk, but the worst that can happen isn’t all that bad, and the rewards will become self-evident by your taking such a bold step.

 

Whether you’re new to shamanism, already have some training, or curious as to how you can integrate these principles into your daily life and/or an alternative healing practice, deepen your experience and understanding of shamanic realities. Dr. Steven Farmer hosts Integrating Shamanism Into Your Life and Work at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 16-18, 2018.

 

Dr. Steven Farmer is a psychotherapist, shamanic healer, and the author of several best-selling books and oracle cards. In addition to workshops on Animal Spirit Guides, Integrative Breathwork, Healing Ancestral Karma, and shamanism, Dr. Farmer offers Integrative Healing sessions in person or remotely by phone, Zoom, or Skype, as well as an individualized Spiritual Mentorship program. He is on the board of the Society of Shamanic Practice and also offers a certification program, the Earth Magic® Practitioner training.

 

This article first appeared in Creations Magazine, and is reposted with permission from the author.


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: community , fatherhood , indigenous culture , men's spirituality , men's wellness , power animals , shamanism , spirituality , steven farmer , wellness , wisdom
Life is a Journey - The Art of Living Retreat Center

Life is a Journey

By Dara Kurtz
October 6, 2018

Life is a Journey - The Art of Living Retreat Center

The path of life doesn’t always take us where we want to go. Sometimes, circumstances force us to deal with things we don’t want to have to deal with. Other times, where life takes us is so much better than our grandest dreams.

 

Life is a journey.

I was reminded of this the other day, when I was taking a walk. It was just a normal walk, but it was a good lesson to me, and maybe to you, to keep moving forward. Whatever season of life you’re in. Whatever you’re facing. Whatever is going on in your life.

 

I walked down the path. I’d been on this path, many times, and love it there. Walking in the woods is one of my favorite things to do, and I walk the same path many times each week. Sometimes, with a friend, other times, alone.

 

Life is a journey.

 

A new path, a new discovery

As I began to turn, taking my normal route, something caused me to pause. I’m not sure what it was, but instead of turning the way I usually go, I stopped. I hesitated. I wondered, “What would happen if I went another way?”

I found myself thinking, “What’s down there?”

 

I’d never asked this question before. Never thought to even wonder what was down the other path. But, in that moment, for some reason, I wanted to know. I wanted to discover what was there.

 

Instead of turning the way I’ve always gone, I turned the other way. I went down the opposite path. I took a chance.

I walked for a little while, taking in all my surroundings, admiring the beautiful woods. There were new things to see, to discover, and I was glad I had ventured down this different path.

 

It was a good lesson for me.

 

I’ve been struggling with several things in my life, and wasn’t sure which way I wanted to go. I’ve been consumed with thinking about which decision would be “best,” not even considering taking a different approach. Going down a different path.

 

Your takeaway

Don’t be afraid to walk down another path. To take a risk. To go where you haven’t been before. Sure, there’s a risk when we walk into the unknown. We don’t know what we’ll find. We don’t know what we’ll see. We don’t know how it will turn out.

 

But, that’s OK.

 

Sometimes, we need to push ourselves down a new path. Don’t ignore the feeling in your heart that tells you you’re ready for something new. Maybe it’s a new hobby. Maybe it’s a new job. Maybe it’s something you haven’t even thought about yet.

 

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s easy to get used to walking down the same path, day after day. It’s easy to accept “this is the way it is.” However, don’t forget, each day, you have a choice.

 

A new day ahead of you, on life’s journey.
To explore the world.

To notice all the amazing things life has to offer.

To challenge yourself to walk down a new path.

 

That doesn’t mean you aren’t happy with what you have or don’t appreciate the blessings in your life. It just means, for whatever reason, you want more. Maybe a new challenge. Maybe a new friend. Maybe just the excitement something new can bring.

 

Focus your attention

Listen to your heart. Listen to that pull you might feel inside yourself, and be willing to go down a new path. You never know what you’ll discover or find. That’s the wonderful thing about life, there’s always something new to learn, something new to experience, something new to discover.

 

Savor all your experiences. Take it all in.

 

Sure, sometimes the journey of life takes a turn we don’t want to be on.

When that happens, push through it. Soldier on. Lean on your friends and family and find the inner strength you possess to get passed it. You will.

 

On the same walk, several days later, I paused at the spot where I had taken the new turn. I hesitated again, trying to decide which way to go. I smiled at myself, as I turned down my “normal” route.

 

It’s always nice to come back to what’s familiar, especially after trying something new. The good news, most of the time it’s still there. This time, as I walked the usual path, I saw it with a renewed sense of appreciation.

 

Find meaning each day.

 

Do you want more from life? Do you feel a lack of fun, joy, passion or success? Whether you’ve been through a tough time, or are dusting yourself off after a percieved failure, or whether you’ve simply fallen into a rut which you’re struggling to get out of–this is the transformative pick-me-up for you. Dara Kurtz and Garth Callaghan host You Deserve to Thrive at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 2-4, 2018.

 

Dara Kurtz is a cancer survivor, inspirational author, and speaker who shares her life-changing work with people all over the world through workshops, media, and as a coach. She has learned first-hand how to get through difficult times and create the life she truly desires.

 

This article first appeared on Crazy Perfect Life, and is reposted with permission from the author.


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 , attention , dara kurtz , wellness , wisdom
Pain Management - Art of Living Retreat center

Pain is a Message: How Our Brains Try to Protect Us

By Dr. Howard Schubiner
October 4, 2018

Pain Management - Art of Living Retreat center

 

Most people don’t really understand how powerful the mind can be. However, every doctor knows that the mind can cause symptoms that are as severe as paralysis or inability to speak. This is known as a “conversion disorder,” and an individual with this condition truly cannot move the affected arms or legs or truly cannot speak.

 

Yet, in these situations, there is absolutely no physical damage to the muscles or nerves, a fact that can be documented by routine medical testing. Their brain has caused this syndrome and it is reversible. When the actual diagnosis is made and a physical injury is ruled out, if the person gets psychological help to figure out what social and emotional issues caused the brain to do this, the symptoms will typically resolve.

 

The power of Couvade syndrome

The brain can cause symptoms of pregnancy in men whose wives are pregnant. This is known as Couvade syndrome. Medical students sometimes get symptoms of the disorders they are learning about—sometimes ironically termed “medical studentitis.” In rare cases, the brain can cause death, which has been documented to occur when induced by voodoo or reported to have even happened as a result of a cruel prank.

 

If the mind can cause these severe disorders, why wouldn’t it be able to produce pain? In fact, we now know that the mind can cause a wide variety of painful syndromes, including tension headaches, migraine headaches, neck and back pain, abdominal and pelvic pain, jaw and facial pain, and almost any other pain syndrome you can name.

 

Of course, medical conditions can also cause any pain syndrome, and careful evaluations are necessary to distinguish the two. The important point to remember is that the mind can do this, so it makes sense to at least consider that possibility, especially when the pain goes becomes chronic and eludes a clear medical explanation.

 

Pain is a function of the brain

This occurs because the brain is trying to send us a message. Pain is a function of the brain, i.e., pain occurs when the brain activates a danger or alarm signal. Certainly physical injuries can activate that signal, but not all physical injuries cause pain. In a study from World War II, two-thirds of injured soldiers in a medical unit did not admit to having pain.

 

Children who skin their knees often do not have pain, or may cry only when they see their parent run towards them with a worried look. A close friend of mine accidentally shot a nail through his finger and had no pain at all while he drove to the hospital.

 

Conversely, a man in Britain jumped off scaffolding and impaled his foot on a large nail. His pain was immediate and severe enough that it required intravenous sedation and pain medication. However, when his boot was removed, the nail was lodged in between his toes and had not injured him. (Reference: Minerva. British Medical Journal. 1995, 310: 70.) His pain was caused by the brain activating a powerful danger/alarm signal.

 

How your mind looks out for your body

Over the past decade, I have seen hundreds of people with pain and other conditions caused by the mind. I have learned that pain is a message that the brain is sending to us. Since (unfortunately) the message is not in English, it is up to us to interpret it in order to make the correct diagnosis. If you break your ankle, your brain will activate pain, and the message is: “Stop walking on that foot and get a cast.” If your neck begins to hurt after your boss repeatedly criticizes you, the pain is telling you that your boss is “a pain in the neck.”

 

I once saw a woman who had pain in her buttocks. I asked when that pain began and she stated, “About the time my husband retired.” I saw a woman with foot pain and after she learned about the mind body connection, she began to get the feeling that her pain was symbolic of her feeling that she “couldn’t stand what was happening” in her family.

 

Emotional conditions manifest in the body

Of course, not all pain is symbolic. It is up to the brain to “choose” what kind of message it gives to us at any particular moment. However, all pain has a message of some kind, whether related to a physical condition or a psychological situation. While many people with mind-body pain begin to feel that their brain has betrayed them by giving them such pain, in actuality, their brain is trying to protect them from what the brain perceives to be a dangerous situation in their body or their life.

 

The brain of a man who developed anxiety and headache when he went to work perceived work to be dangerous in some way. His brain experienced him walking into work as if he were walking into a building on fire and created a powerful message (anxiety and pain) to warn him of that “extreme danger.” In order to recover, he had to override that message by telling his brain that he was not in danger and that he needed the pain to subside. He also may have needed to alter his work or his reaction to people at work in some important ways.

 

Mind-body conditions

The concept of the brain trying to protect us was dramatically demonstrated to me last week. I saw a young man who had widespread pain that kept getting worse and worse. I evaluated him and it was very clear that he suffered from a mind-body condition. After gaining that understanding and as he began to deal with the issues in his life, he began to improve and feel that he had more control over his symptoms. However, some added stress caused him to develop new symptoms, and he began to have thoughts of suicide.

 

He made a rash decision to end his life and got into his car to find a bridge from which he could jump. As he put his hands on the steering wheel, he suddenly lost all feeling in his pinky finger on his right hand. He found it hard to grip the steering wheel, and suddenly he “came to his senses” and got out of the car. He is alive and now recovering from his painful syndrome. His brain had produced the pain as a message to alert him to some very difficult situations in his life, but it also sent him the powerful message of numb finger to prevent him from taking his own life.

 

For chronic pain, the problem might not be in the body, but in the mind

If you know people who are suffering from severe and chronic pain, please alert them to the possibility that their brain is giving them a message and causing pain. If medical evaluations do not reveal a clear cause of their symptoms, the problem might not be in the body, but in the mind. In these situations, which are more common than most people realize, there is hope for recovery. Their life may depend on it.

 

Unlearn your pain, earn CME credits, and empower your practice with concrete knowledge of an emerging model of care that brings together cutting-edge research and advanced clinical interventions. Dr. Howard Schubiner hosts Beyond Pain Management at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 30 – December 2, 2018.

 

Dr. Howard Schubiner was a full Professor at Wayne State University for 18 years and now works at Providence Hospital in Southfield, MI.  He has authored over 60 publications in scientific journals and books and performed research in the fields of adolescent health, ADHD and stress reduction. Dr. Schubiner is the founder and director of the Mind Body Medicine Program at Providence Hospital.

 

This article first appeared on Psychology Today, and is reposted with permission from the author.


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: mindfulness , neurology , pain , pain management , wellness
Basics of Ayurveda - Art of Living Retreat Center

Ayurveda 101: The Very Basics

By Paige Reist
October 2, 2018

Basics of Ayurveda - Art of Living Retreat Center

We are passionate about the power of Ayurveda.

Our bodies, minds, and spirits are intimately interconnected. When the body is in good health, the mind and spirit thrive. We’ve seen the incredible ways in which practicing Ayurveda has changed lives over the years, and that’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves at Art of Living not only to nurturing your spiritual and emotional wellness, but your physical wellness, too.

 

Ayurveda isn’t as esoteric as it might seem at first glance. It’s actually a simple, logical system of health that you can easily incorporate into your day to day life. In this article, we’ll be exploring the basics of Ayurveda, demystifying this ancient way of life and bringing it home to the modern world. We want you to live your happiest, healthiest life, and through Ayurveda, you can!

 

So what is Ayurveda, anyway?

In the most basic of terms, Ayurveda is an ancient system of health and wellness, developed in India and practiced for thousands upon thousands of years. The word “Ayurveda” means “the knowledge of life”; “ayur” translates to “life,” and “veda” translates to “knowledge.” Unlike classical western medicine, Ayurveda seeks to help the practitioner achieve optimal wellness through balance and integration, and seeks to treat the root cause of illness, rather than the symptoms.

 

Ayurvedic philosophy doesn’t separate us from our environment, but celebrates and recognizes the importance of the cycles of the earth, the seasons, and the time of day. It places great importance on hygiene, plant-based medicine, and physical and mental wellness. Health, in Ayurvedic terms, is a state in which your thoughts, emotions, and body are in a state of thriving harmony with each other and with your environment.

 

The origins of Ayurveda

Ayurveda originated in India, and can be traced back to as early as the 4th century BCE; Ayurvedic wisdom was even included in the Vedas, which are the holy scriptures of Hinduism and the oldest surviving Sanskrit literature. Ayurveda has actually undergone very few changes over the centuries — advancements in medicine and science are often in line with what Ayurveda already knows.

 

How Ayurveda can improve your health

Ayurveda is all about balance. To start with Ayurveda, it’s important to understand what forces are at work within yourself and the world, and to learn how to bring those back into balance. Ayurveda focuses on streamlining treatment to every single individual, rather than prescribing certain things across the board. Through an Ayurvedic diet, living by an Ayurvedic clock, and developing a custom system of health for yourself, you can become the best you ever.

 

Stay tuned for posts on the doshas, elements, and other Ayurvedic wisdom!

 

Immerse yourself in Ayurvedic wisdom in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Take a look at our programs and retreats to see which one is right for you!

 

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 , Ayurveda 101 , ayurveda cleanse , ayurveda detox , Ayurvedic diet , dosha , wellness
Art of Living - Work Life Integration

Four Key Lessons along the Journey to Work-Life Integration

By Jennifer H.G. Connelly
September 20, 2018

Art of Living - Work Life Integration

 

An eternal student, I have intense curiosity about this life, about my purpose, about what I find to be truly meaningful. 10 years ago, after the birth of my 3rd child, I began a journey of deep inquiry about work life balance and discovered the empowering gift of integration. Integration brings with it the idea of inherent wholeness, a sense of deep interconnectedness, and both the art and science of living well in relationship with self and others.

 

Here are 4 lessons that I continue to practice. From this place, I am tapping into the wisdom of living an integrated life.

 

1 – Open Heart/Mind to Learning

I often carry around a rainbow-colored backpack that my daughter gave me as a reminder of my commitment to ongoing learning. From the place of student, I open my heart and mind to new teachers, to new methodologies, to new training, and to the works of the many souls who have passionately committed themselves to going deeper and discovering what is unknown to them. I delight in the questions, in the discovery, in the Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind of it all. And from that place, I feel a sense of wholeness and interconnectedness to myself and those around me. The spirit of this led me to yoga teacher training, to Birkman Method certification, to coaching certification with Newfield Network and Tiara International. I delight in sharing, with others and my clients, the jewels I’ve learned along the way to see what resonates with them.

 

2 – Elicit the Support of Mentors and Loved Ones

I learned, sometimes through failure and disappointment, that I do not need to go through this journey alone. At times when I fell down or lost hope, what was instrumental in lifting me out of the fog of uncertainty was the compassion, love and wisdom of my support network and my mentors along the way. What I discovered is that it is not a one-sided conversation but a mutual sharing of love and understanding that is exchanged when I spend time with them and reveal my vulnerable heart. This interconnected web of people in my life helps me feel deeply loved and connected to something much larger than myself.

 

3 – Shift from Limiting to an Empowering Mindset

I experienced a huge breakthrough in working with a coach on a limiting mindset of “this is too hard.” From our discussion, I was able to shift the observer within myself to create a new, empowering mindset on completing a project with ease and wonder. When I tap into the place within myself of ease and wonder, life flows without the obstruction of my limiting beliefs. My empowering mindset helped me find new language and create the mantras: I am trusting. I am at ease. I am in the flow. That feeling of flow is a perfect way to describe living an integrated life – no matter what comes my way.

 

4 – Commit to Ongoing Self-Care

For me, I have found the nourishing qualities of self-care to be essential to living in the flow state of integration. Through trial and error, I have found that a weekly mix of the following shapes my self-care regimen.

 
  • Stillness, meditation, mindful breathing, forest bathing, going on a retreat
  • Laughter, silliness, playfulness, lightheartedness, singing and chanting
  • Creative expression in journaling, painting, vision boarding, coloring and dancing
  • Yoga and Pilates practice with a community of fellow students
  • Time spent being truly present to my loved ones and with a grateful heart
 

How is work life integration unfolding in your life? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

 

Life a more fulfilling life. Understand your unique qualities as a leader, as a communicator, and as a woman. Jennifer H.G. Connelly hosts the Work-Life Integration Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 2-4.

 

Jennifer H.G. Connelly
Possessing a unique blend of corporate, public affairs and nonprofit management experience, Jennifer serves as Principal of her own consultancy and CEO of Triple W Forum. As a leadership coach, yoga and mindfulness teacher, and Birkman Method consultant, she leads retreats, workshops, and provides team and one-to-one leadership development coaching both in the US and internationally.

 

This article is reposed with permission from the author.

 

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: integration , Jennifer Connelly , wellness , wisdom , work

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
Intuition

Intuition: It’s Not About How You Feel, It’s About How You Target

By Laura Day
September 8, 2018

Intuition

Intuition: Accessing Your Hidden World

You have the power to create immediate and miraculous change today. In this video, Laura Day explains why feelings don’t matter and targets do when it comes to getting useful and actionable information from intuition.

 

Learn to use your intuition, psychic healing, ritual, writing, art, meditation, and the power of group to bring yourself to a New Reality of your own choosing. Laura Day hosts The Hidden World this October 24-28 at the Art of Living Retreat Center.

 

Laura Day is a NY Times bestselling author who has spent three decades helping individuals, organizations, and companies use their innate intuitive abilities to create profound changes in their lives. Her work has helped demystify intuition and demonstrate its practical, verifiable uses in the fields of business, science, medicine and personal growth.

   

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: intuition , Laura Day , wellness
Spiritual Power of Routine - Art of Living Retreat Center

The Spiritual Power of Routine

By Julia Cameron
September 7, 2018

Spiritual Power of Routine - Art of Living Retreat Center

 

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

 

Finding a routine

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

 

My routine

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

 

How structure gives you freedom

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

 

The spiritual value of routine

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

 

Prayer, mindfulness, morning pages

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

 

Julia Cameron the Artist's Way

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: creativity , Julia Cameron , wellness , writing
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

Learn more about our 2018 retreats and offerings!

Catalogs

Stay in touch