Practicing Asana!

Everyone loves practicing ásana (physical positions); they are amazing; they make your body strong, supple and definitely healthier. But why does almost every style of yôga practice ásana in a different way?

I can not tell you much about the others methods, as I don’t practice them, but I can explain ours and why is so effective.

India is, historically, one of the most invaded countries in the world.  Every great emperor in the world passed through there, including the Aryans, later Alexander the Great and most recently the British invasion. You can be sure that every single colonizer somehow changed and influenced the Indian culture and, consequently, Yôga. The most recent, and significant, change that happened in Yôga was the introduction of repetition of the ásanas.

Ásana was traditionally practiced with permanence, but when the British army landed in India the yogins of that time seemed to like the Western idea of working out the body with repetition and this new habit got stronger when Yôga was exported to United States.

So, what do we lose by practicing ásana with repetition? First of all, ásana should not be categorized as “gymnastic”. Ásana has not only the aim to make your body healthier, but, mainly, to achieve body-consciousness and self-knowledge. Body and mind being closely interrelated, the practice of ásana aims at mastery over the body with a view to securing corresponding mastery over the mind. Control of nervous and vital energies produces control of mental functions. The mind-body complex is brought under perfect control, the indwelling Self shines out and the higher self is realized.

I think it is only possible to achieve such delightful results with permanence of ásanas, never with repetitions.

When you stay in the position for a good time it acts deeply on the muscle fuses, the receptors inside the muscle cell that are connected with muscle tone, and with the protection against the risk of strain. The position, combined with focused attention and coordinated breathing, affects the muscle fuses, stimulating them to lower their defensive control over the muscle. The fibres of the muscles decrease their level of contraction and effectively stretch.

Ásana is any firm and confortable position”

Yôga-Sutra of Patañjali

Written by Paulo Pacifici

 

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6 Tips For A Wholesome New Year

One of the most important gifts you can give to yourself this New Year is to have a healthier lifestyle. To achieve this ideal, you need to embrace a sustainable program that entails gradual steps. This is far easier to sustain and less strenuous compared to a sudden change of lifestyle.

You stand to have an enjoyable experience if you engage in specific daily tasks. Your body will adjust gradually depending on its needs. Eventually, you will fall in love with healthy living because you will realize it is a lovely gift you are consciously offering to yourself every day.

You probably have heard that adapting healthy habits into your daily life is difficult. Nothing can be further from the truth. All you need is to adhere to a number of rituals, and your body will begin to love healthy living.

Drink Warm Lemon Water First Thing In The Morning: This is important for expelling toxins from your body, reinvigorating metabolism, fortifying your immunity, giving your organs the water they need for optimal functioning and obtaining much-needed energy to begin your day. You stand to benefit more from this drink if you add black pepper, freshly-ground turmeric or ginger, and a little bit of your favorite healthy oil. Turmeric will also be of great benefit to your body because of the presence of black pepper. The latter improves the bio-availability of the former.

Start Your Day With A Smoothie: There is no better nutrient-packed drink than a smoothie. You can increase the amounts of minerals and vitamins in a smoothie by loading it with superfoods.

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Take Herbal Teas Instead Of Coffee: It is possible to gravitate towards coffee, but your body stands to gain more from drinking rooibos and other herbal teas. You will surely be a healthier person when your kidney is cleaned, your body hydrated, and when you have lower levels of cholesterol. Similarly, herbal teas help you to lose weight and assuage your headaches, among other gains.

Exercise: When your body moves, more endorphins are released into the blood, making you a happier person. Both your mood and energy levels improve when you exercise. Where possible, walk to your place of work instead of driving. Depending on your personality, exercise in the morning or after work. It will help clear your mind.

Opt For Healthy Snacks Instead Of Processed Nibbles: Smoothies, fruits, a couple of nuts or your home-based energy bar are healthier choices compared to cookies and sausages.

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Enrich Your Food With Turmeric: This spice is packed with medicinal properties and plenty of other benefits. Nothing adds more value to your pasta and rice meals, sauces and soups like turmeric.

You see how easy is ease to adapt these practices into your daily lifestyle? A time will come when you will not imagine your life without them. Along the way, you will pick up other similarly-beneficial habits. There is no substitute for your body. Nurture it.

 

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

 

 

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Mirrors And Their Proper Placement According To Feng Shui

Mirrors are both a necessity as well as a convenience. All of us use mirrors both within the home as well as outside of it.

Mirrors stand as a symbol of reflection – both physical and spiritual. Our thoughts, words and actions are a mirror of our feelings. A mirror is nothing but a metaphor, a reflection into our own selves.

To solve any crisis in life, we need to determine the cause of the problem. Only when we see these problems can be work towards fixing them. Now, given that mirrors are a reflection of our lives, they can help us see problems and fix them. For example, only when we look at our reflection in the mirror can we say whether we’re having a bad hair day or not!

 Mirrors and Feng Shui

Mirrors have been used since ancient times across many different cultures. However, the ancient Chinese laws of Feng Shui give particular importance to mirrors and their placement.

According to Feng Shui, a mirror is a representation of water. Since chi energy can be pooled or collected with water, it can be done so with a mirror as well. This makes mirrors an extremely powerful tool – they double everything including chi energy.

All Feng Shui experts and practitioners know the power of mirrors. Mirrors are often referred to as Feng Shui’s aspirin. They can magnify, energise and alter a space dramatically. If placed properly, mirrors can even cure any space that is awkwardly shaped and lacks chi energy.

Feng shui concepts word cloud illustration. Word collage concept.

But it isn’t a mirror that is inherently auspicious. Rather, the placement of a mirror is what makes it auspicious or inauspicious. Feng Shui states that mirror placement within a home affects health, wealth and happiness. Proper mirror placement can boost and enhance chi energy around a home. This in turn can bring abundance and luck. On the other hand, an improperly placed mirror does just the opposite. Improperly placed mirrors deflect chi energy away from a home and can also cause a lot of harm. What a mirror reflects defines whether it’s placement is auspicious or inauspicious.

As I mentioned earlier – mirrors double up whatever lies in front of them. So, mirrors can attract both positive and negative energy with the same influence and efficiency. Hence, Feng Shui gives a lot of importance to mirror placement.

If you’re a Feng Shui practitioner, you must understand where and how to place mirrors within your home. While many Feng Shui practitioners may tell you to use Pa Kua (bagua) mirrors, this is debatable. Experts state that any mirror works as well as Pa Kua mirrors, so there’s really no point hoarding special mirrors. You can go with rectangular or square shaped mirrors as they can easily be found and they work just as well. Unless advised by an expert, avoid irregularly shaped mirrors.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the specifics of how to place mirrors properly in your home. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at the Do’s and Don’ts of mirror placement according to Feng Shui. Make sure to follow them all!

Do’s Of Placing Mirrors

When it comes to proper mirror placement, there are many rules that Feng Shui practitioners abide by. While some of these rules seem strange, many of them are incredibly practical. Here, we’ll take a look at 10 of the Do’s of mirror placement, which also offer practical benefits.

  1. Use whole mirrors

Whole mirrors are large sized mirrors that allow you to see yourself in one piece. It is important to use whole mirrors because they give you a feeling of completeness whenever you look into them. This feeling of completeness allows you to affirm yourself and your goodness.

  1. Use mirrors to reflect the beauty of nature

By using mirrors to reflect the beauty of nature, you will enhance the chi energy indoors. There is a lot of healthy chi energy outdoors – in gardens, trees, blue skies and clouds. By reflecting these in your mirror, you will allow this healthy chi energy to flow within your home.

  1. Use mirrors to reflect your living and dining spaces

Inside a home, the living area is a symbol of prosperity while the dining area is a symbol of wealth. By using mirrors to reflect your living and dining spaces, you can magnify the wealth, abundance and prosperity in your life.

  1. Use mirrors to add light and movement

Every home has some dark areas where there is not enough light, for instance a long hallway. By using mirrors in such dark areas, you can circulate light and facilitate movement. In turn, this will also help chi energy circulate throughout your home.

  1. Use mirrors to cover problems

Many rooms with awkward shapes can be remedied with the help of mirrors. For instance, if you have a square pillar in a room, you can mirror all four sides of the pillar. This essentially makes the awkward pillar disappear from view. Mirrors can be used to cover other similar structural defects, such as a cut within your home.

  1. Keep your mirrors clean

Always ensure to keep your mirrors clean. A cloudy mirror will reflect cloudy images. This has a detrimental effect on you as you will associate a cloudy mind whenever you see your reflection.

  1. Use mirrors to reflect wealth

Many Feng Shui practitioners place mirrors to reflect jewellery and cash lockers. This reflects positive chi energy and can help bring more prosperity and wealth into your life.

  1. Use mirrors near entryways

Placing mirrors near entryways can bring about a great positive effect in your life. Mirrors near the entrance of a home activate the water element and allow better flow of chi energy into your home. You’ll also see a positive glimpse of yourself whenever you leave home.

  1. Use mirrors to broaden space

If any area of your home is narrow, then you can use mirrors to visually broaden the space. While this certainly improves aesthetics, it also facilitates easier flow of chi energy around your home.

  1. Make sure that your mirrors are at the right height

If you have many people living in your home, you need to ensure that your mirrors are at the right height for everyone. Everybody living with you should be able to see a good reflection of themselves in the mirror. This will help positive chi energy touch everyone’s lives.

Don’ts Of Placing Mirrors

Like I mentioned earlier, there are many, many Feng Shui rules regarding proper placement of mirrors. However, I will focus on the rules that are universal and apply to most spaces. Here are 10 such practical rules regarding the Don’ts of mirror placement.

  1. Don’t place mirrors opposite doors

Never place a mirror right opposite your doors. This will cause any positive chi energy to bounce back right out of your door. You’ll miss out on many opportunities in life if you do so.

  1. Don’t place mirrors where they reflect negative views

Your mirrors should never reflect any negative views or messy areas. Avoid placing mirrors opposite to toilets, stoves, flames, clutter, drains or poison arrows (sharp corners). If you see an ugly sight in a mirror, negative energy will only be magnified, so make sure to avoid this.

  1. Don’t place mirrors in your bedroom

Never place mirrors in your bedroom. Mirrors can cause an over-stimulating effect when placed in a bedroom. This in turn creates insomnia. Also, if there is a problem in a relationship, mirrors will magnify the problems. It is best to leave mirrors out of the bedroom altogether.

  1. Don’t use cracked or broken mirrors

Cracked or broken mirrors are a big no-no. They distort the image of every object and they harbour a lot of negative energy. Get rid of all your broken mirrors and replace them with clean, new ones.

  1. Don’t use antique mirrors

Antique mirrors often get distorted with time. When you look at yourself in an antique mirror, you will get a distorted perception of premature aging. It is best to avoid antique mirrors and even mirrors that have antiqued surfaces or frames around them.

  1. Don’t hang a mirror too high or too low

Your mirrors should be placed at an ideal height for all members of your family. Never place a mirror such that the head of a person is cut off in the reflection. Mirrors should always reflect the entire head and shoulders of an individual – regardless of how tall or short they are.

  1. Don’t place mirrors facing one another

Placing mirrors right opposite each other can create a funhouse effect. However, this should never be done within a home as it traps the flow of chi energy. Chi energy will be stuck between the mirrors and will never flow to other parts of your home. Avoid infinite reflections as they create a strange vortex that can cause distress and displeasure.

  1. Don’t place mirrors at the end of staircases

Placing mirrors at the end of staircases means that they’ll either cut the feet or the head in a reflection. You must avoid this completely. Unless your mirror can reflect a person’s entire body, never place it at the end of a staircase.

  1. Don’t place mirrors at the end of hallways

While placing mirrors in hallways helps the flow of chi energy, mirrors must never be placed at the end of a hallway. If you do so, your mirror will attract negative energy. This negative energy won’t leave your home easily, so make sure not to place mirrors in such areas.

  1. Don’t place mirrors near study tables

If you have a study table, make sure not to place a mirror next to it. Mirrors can cause a loss of concentration during study and this problem only gets magnified with time. Mirrors should be placed only where they reflect positive energy, not near a study table.

I’m sure you agree that mirrors are a very powerful tool. Not only do they help us see reflections of physical objects, but they are also a symbol of spiritual reflection.

As a Feng Shui practitioner, I always ensure that my mirrors facilitate the flow of positive chi energy in my home. While there may be thousands of do’s and don’ts regarding mirror placement in Feng Shui, I tend to follow the most practical rules. By doing so, I’ve found a lot of peace and prosperity in my life.

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If you’re focused on more happiness, better self-esteem, better health and prosperity, then you should also adopt these Feng Shui rules on mirror placement. Believe me – these rules have stood the test of time and they will turn your fortunes drama

With love,

Your Grace Guru 

XXX

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Spiritual Bath Cleansing!

Every day of your life brings you into contact with people and events that have powerful impacts on your life. You imbibe both negative and positive energy from this interaction. At the same time, you vibrate good and bad energy and the environment often reacts in equal measure. It is within this context that spiritual bath cleansing is very important.

You see, the negative energy you absorb and exude tends to accumulate over time to the extent that your soul and mind become toxic. Thankfully, your body has its own mechanism of fighting and expelling negative energy. However, unpleasant energy can build up to the extent of being uncontrollable. It is at that stage when your life becomes a bother.

You obviously have gone through times when you felt angry with yourself and others. These are moments when you are not at peace with yourself and your environment. You live on the edge. Anyone who comes your way feels the negative vibrations and energy emanating from you. You even realise that some people are avoiding you because you ooze negativity.

These moments demand thorough cleaning of your body, soul and mind, as this will renew your energy field. A spiritual bath is a ritual bath that opens your heart to freshness and inspiration while expelling negativity. It is an opportunity to give yourself something like a birthday because you will begin to feel like a new-born child.

The Background

Before you imagine you are engaging in a king of newfound ritual, it is important to understand that spiritual bath cleansing has been practised for many years before. History records this practice as part of cultural conduct in Africa and Europe. This was a popular practice used in hoodoo and magic circles. It had and still maintains traces of African, European and Native American witchcraft and religious practices.

Ritual baths often involved using running water or even sea water, especially the type that was regarded as pure. Other practices involved adding concoctions of roots, herbs, minerals, tree barks or even salt. Well, today we may not use spiritual bath cleansing for witchcraft and magical purposes, but the physical and spiritual benefits are worth enjoying.

Spiritual bath cleansing was also employed in treating sickness. People who were experiencing physical discomfort were put into baths to cleanse away the sickness in their bodies. Contrary to what you may expect, many of these people were cured of their illnesses or at least got some relief from their illnesses.

Approaching Ritual Baths

There are a number of baths that can give your body, mind and souls the needed relief from negative energy. Remember whatever method you choose to employ the intention is to create an atmosphere conducive to understanding what your inner self is telling you. You must be ready and willing to inculcate the change you need to make positive energy flow through you once again.

From the onset, you need to understand that you are cleaning your spiritual self and protecting yourself from unwelcome influences. This implies you are not just engaging in the normal bath you take in the morning, evening, after a journey or when you just feel exhausted. You need to bring your entire self into this exercise.

Meditation on top of the mountain when sunrise.

Unlike normal baths, you cannot use the normal soap, bath oil or shampoo that you normally use. Never forget that you are engaging in a spiritual exercise and you need to bring all your senses into the bath. If you really want to get the most out of your ritual bath, you must distance yourself from mundane thought and practices – the type that you engage in during a normal bath.

Types of Spiritual Baths

1. Using salt water: This is one of the most popular methods of cleansing your body. It is important that you set aside an hour or so for the exercise to have the desired effect. Several handfuls of unrefined or unprocessed sea salt, or the highly-regarded Himalayan crystal salt, added to warm will do the job. You may want to use some essential healing oils like lavender to boost your relaxation.

As you relax in the water, engage in meditation or some form of communication with your inner soul or the Supreme Being. Ask to be relieved of the negative energy that has piled up in your body, mind and soul. Do not hesitate to ask for higher spiritual vibrations. It is recommended that you just put on you robe, that you and do not dry the body with a towel. Moreover, try to remain in that state for 24 hours.

Give yourself this kind of treatment once every week and you will realise how powerful spiritual bath cleansing is.

2. Using baking soda ash: Perhaps the only time you use this product is when you are baking. Now you have another important use of baking soda – spiritual bath cleansing. The same approach as the one used with the salt bath is necessary.

3. A natural bath in the ocean: You need to try this especially if you live near an ocean. What many people don’t know is that the sea and the salt therein are therapeutic. Taking bath in such an environment will cleanse your body from physical and spiritual impurities.

Other Gains

This exercise has other important benefits. To begin, a salt bath helps the skin to absorb the heavy metals and toxins in your skin and eliminate them. Moreover, there are numerous trace minerals that your body needs and this kind of bath will infuse your body with them. If you have been having skin problems such as acne, a ritual bath will kills the bacteria and dirt that has accumulated over time. Similarly, your muscle pains and aches will begin to feel better.

The woman in a white sundress on seacoast with open hands. A picturesque landscape

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the importance of spiritual bath cleansing, make sure to give your body the necessary rejuvenation it deserves. There is nothing more important you can do to a body that has served you this long than to bring relief to it through a spiritual bath.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

 

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Visualisation Meditation and Why It Is Essential For You!

Visualisation meditation is a form of meditation that involves communicating with either spiritual guides, your higher self / subconscious mind or Supreme Being. The other form of meditation is object-focused but this one is a form of visual meditation that is subjective. Practitioners preach that meditation visualisation is a powerful tool for transforming one’s inner being and conduct.

Visualisation meditation is subjective but at the same time it involves a high level of action from the person who wants to benefit from it. The reason some people have never realised the benefits of visualisation meditation is because they often confuse it with daydreaming. To the observer, a practitioner of this technique may appear to be daydreaming but in actual sense the latter is involved in an engaging and powerful self-transformation exercise.

The Power of Visualisation Meditation

As noted earlier, visualisation meditation is regarded highly because of its powerful ability to transform lives. The following are some of the ways in which practitioners have benefited from using this technique:

  • Relief from pain. People who have experienced chronic pain have reported to feel significantly better after this particular practice.
  • Acceleration of healing: Individuals who are recuperating after undergoing treatment attest to the speeding up of the healing process after engaging in visualisation meditation.
  • Dealing effectively with anxiety and stress: After practicing visualisation meditation repeatedly, practitioners report significantly decreased levels of tension and the increased ability to focus the mind on other productive activities.
  • Generally, people are using this technique as a substitute to or to complement contemporary medicine.
  • Did you also know that if people practiced this technique, they would reduce their visits to the doctor by 90% because the majority of illnesses we suffer from can in fact be cured through visualisation meditation?
  • Last but not least, if you have a problem concentrating on a task, lesson or routine this technique can drastically help you to reverse the trend.

Woman doing meditation near the ocean beach. Yoga silhouette.

Getting Down to Business:

  • Begin by looking for a quiet place and time, preferably a quiet room or at night before you sleep. However, don’t limit yourself – ensure you have enough time and will not be interrupted during the session.
  • Like all meditation, visualisation meditation begins with the practitioner adopting a comfortable meditation posture.
  • The next course of action is to shut your eyes. This helps you to concentrate your mind on the task at hand.
  • Now breathe deeply from you diaphragm and relax your muscles gradually.

  • Visualise yourself in a place where you are surrounded by a glowing white light.
  • Imagine that that light is filled with peace and happiness.
  • Concentrate on imbibing the light every time you breathe.
  • Allow that feeling to infiltrate into your body, reaching each of your cells, organs, atoms and every other part of your being.
  • Now visualise yourself getting rid of negative energy. Think of all negativity as a black smoke. Release the thick stuff from your body as you breathe out.
  • After getting rid of negativity, focus on the positive. Think about that thing or state you desire and how you will feel when you eventually achieve it. With that image in mind, inhale deeply, as if allowing the dream to become a reality.

  • Remember to create as clear an image as possible, complete with all the senses.
  • Once the process is over, go through the normal procedures of concluding a meditation session.
  • Don’t forget that visualisation meditation should be repeated regularly until it becomes a normal practice. The desired image must be called into the mind as often as possible in order to make it some kind of an obsession you must achieve.

Which kind of scenario is conducive for Visualisation Meditation to endure expected results?

  1. To begin with, your visualisation should involve smaller moments and not vague gigantic amounts. In other words, you cannot dream the world in one setting. You know what you want. Break it down into smaller goals and objectives. Remember the dream will be realized piece by piece, not all in one go.
  2. You also need to have a clear plan. Like your dream, your plan must be broken down into achievable parts. You might want to create daily, weekly or monthly tasks that contribute to the overall goal. You also need to be realistic when making your plans.
  3. Now put your plan into action. Be faithful to the plan you have made. You are your own supervisor. Have a To-Do list for each day.
  4. It will not be easy. You must have self-belief. There may be many times you will feel like giving up. You need to have self-confidence. Nothing will be achieved without your efforts. You will find obstacles throughout your journey. Let the expected outcome work as an incentive for you.
  5. It is the sum of small efforts that will culminate in the dream. Always see the bigger picture in the smaller effort.

Is there a Recommended Frequency?

Visualisation meditation is not about the time you spend doing it but the level of concentration and result. At the onset, it is advisable to spend between a quarter of an hour and half an hour in the exercise. This is especially when you are new to the technique.

As you become more experienced, you may want to concentrate for longer periods of time. In other words, the duration of time spent by different people depends on experience.

How many times should you do it in a day, week, month etc.? Again this is a decision to be made by the individual. Some do it twice a day while others visualise only once every week. It is only you who knows how desperately you need to make your dream come true. However, you should be careful not to overdo the exercise to the extent of it become mundane and ineffective.

Despite this, if you make it a routine and it works for you, then go ahead and practice it. For example, there are people who engage in it before going to bed or after waking up. Your bed will often provide enough comfort to visualise and meditate. This is especially effective for people who find it difficult to sleep.

Why people fail to gain from Visualisation Meditation

Visualisation meditation has been criticised by people who do not understand the rationale behind it. In recent decades, the debate on the law of attraction has attracted widespread acceptance and rejection / skepticism in equal measure. This is especially true when it comes to attracting the things, people and circumstances that one wants in his or her life.

The reason I am talking about the law of attraction is because it teaches a form of visualisation meditation that many use for material gain at the expense of their spiritual, emotional and mental development. Visual meditation acknowledges (like the law of attraction) that everything begins as an idea before it matures into reality. Everything your senses can perceive was once an idea in the mind of another person.

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However, many beginners of visualisation meditation stumble when the ideas they hold in their mind do not come to achievement. What they forget is that even the best idea must be backed up by a parallel action of the technique in order to produce the desired results. As one anonymous individual said, building castles in the sky is commendable but the dreamer must go ahead and lay the foundation if the dream are to become a reality.

In essence, you must go beyond visualising what you want and create an action plan for achieving your desires. There must be some form of physical effort towards achieving the dream. Unless you act towards your goal you will be like the person who dreams he or she had won the lottery and wakes up to search for the money in the bed, only to realise it was merely a dream!

Nature has rules and laws that do not change to suit our needs. It is us who need to change to be in tandem with nature. In the case of visualisation meditation, nature demands that we align our attitudes and actions with the desired outcome. A seed that is planted but not watered will die. An idea that is visualised during meditation but is not planned for eventually becomes a distant dream or a fantasy.

Some people also fail to realise the fruits of visualisation meditation because they fail to back up the dream and action with belief. You must believe that you will achieve your dream. There are many who have an idea, create a plan for achieving the dream but fall along the way because they do not have self-belief. You need confidence and self-assurance that you are equal to the task and that the universe will help you to achieve your desires.

Another barrier to visualisation meditation is over-indulging in the exercise without the backing of common sense. Creating a mental image of what you desire is the first and very important step towards your target. However, creating mental images for the sake of it or simply because you want to escape your current position ASAP is detrimental to your efforts.

Think about it this way. If you visualise yourself getting out of poverty or some form of misfortune tomorrow yet you don’t have the means to back you up, you will be disappointed. It is important to remember that visualisation meditation is not magic. There can be no miracles if you don’t expend any efforts towards making your idea a reality. Wishful thinking is not synonymous with visualisation meditation!

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I hope you do not think that I want you not to be ambitious. No. Ambition is crucial for personal success. However, your dreams must be in tandem with the universe and its workings. There are laws of cause and effect; laws of planting and harvesting, and laws for rewarding effort and not mere fantasising. To emphasise: that is how nature works and it cannot change to suit your whims.

Many of the people you will hear disparaging visualisation meditation are those who were looking for quick fixes and instant riches, contrary to rationality and common sense. They came with high hopes. They wanted a miracle. They were not willing or prepared for the mandatory effort and self-belief. When the natural and rational outcome of their meager efforts came to fruition (here I mean when they failed) disappointment and disillusionment set it and they started blaming the technique and not themselves.

Concluding Thoughts…

The process we have discussed here is just an example. Come up with one that fits your need. Make sure the atmosphere and experience you visualise is one that brings you into the right state of mind to expel negative energy and imbibe positive energy. Make sure you do this as often as you feel you are functioning optimally.

Finally, an idea / dream, coupled with the right plan and a determination to succeed are the main ingredients for effective visualisation meditation.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

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Have You Met Rumi!

Rumi was a poet of Persian origin who lived in the 13th Century. His birth can be traced to modern Afghanistan in a city called Balkh. He was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī on September 30, 1207. He would later migrate to a little town called Konya; in the country we call Turkey today. Don’t be shocked, therefore, if you come across Iranians, Turks and Afghans, who claim Rumi was one of their own.

According to Frank Lewis, a scholar who has written the biography of Rumi, the name Rumi actually means Rome, a reference to the areas under Roman rule that were later conquered by Turks, and where Muslims like Rumi settled. Rumi’s other name, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, cements his connection with his city of birth in Afghanistan.

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It is this multiple identity that makes this jurist, poet, theologian and Islamic scholar a popular figure not only in Asia but also across the world. No singular religion or culture can claim to own Rumi exclusively. His works are revered among Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews. You will hear recitations of his poetry in mosques, cathedrals, Zen monasteries and synagogues alike.


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He is arguably the greatest composer of mystical poetry to have graced the earth. The world is more than 7o,000 poetry verses richer thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and profound philosophical knowledge of this great man. It is no wonder that his teachings have been translated into the major languages of the world.

While many in the West have come to know Rumi in the last two decades, thinkers and scholars in Asia and the Middle East have always held Rumi in high regard. His poetry covers a range of topics – some mystical – some philosophical. In his works, you will come across passion, desire, love and spirituality. Like many of the philosophers whose knowledge was revered in the past, Rumi’s counsel was timeless and is still relevant today.

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It is important to note that Rumi was born in a wealthy and noble family, and though his life had the usual drama all of us ago, it was not until he met wandering holy man than life changed drastically. One wonders why the philosophy and mysticism bug had not bitten the young man before, considering his father was a mystic, jurist and theologian.

Enter Shams, the potent spiritual wanderer who was way below the social class of Rumi, and who belonged to the upper class, and the Rumi’s life took a dramatic turn. Although the two would come together as teacher and student when Rumi was around 37 years of age, Shams had noticed the younger man at 21 years of age and decided to wait until a later date to covert him into spirituality.

The bond between the wandering teacher, otherwise known as the Bird, and Rumi took time to heal. The fact that Shams was a lonely antisocial figure and below the nobility associated with Rumi, was so much of a hindrance that the older man had to leave town following death threats from the upper class.

To solve the class problem, Rumi married the daughter of his teacher thus setting off their long friendship. It is no wonder then that the first epic written by Rumi was titled, “The Collective Poems of Shams of Tabriz.” It is evident that Rumi ascribed his knowledge and philosophy to his master and teacher –Shams. His search for love and the truth under the tutelage of Shams transformed Rumi into a thinker and philosopher.

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The death of Shams at the hand of the youngest son of Rumi resulted in profound grief for the latter. This, coupled with their two years of interaction, led to two collections of epics: Massnavi (Mathnawi) and Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi.

The following quotes illustrate just how deep Rumi’s philosophy of life was and how he conceptualized human existence and the experience of living:


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Rumi celebrated love:

The garden of love is green without limit
and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy.
Love is beyond either condition:
without spring,
without autumn, it is always fresh.

On love and the possibility of a disagreement between lovers, he said:

“Every day my heart falls deeper in the pain of your sorrow.
Your cruel heart is weary of me already.
You have left me alone, yet your sorrow remains.
Truly your sorrow is more faithful than you are.”

Rumi also understood what most of us have had to experience when being left by a lover and said:

You left and I cried tears of blood.
My sorrow grows.
It’s not just that You left.
But when You left my eyes went with You.
Now, how will I cry?

But he also understood the need for one to endure the pain of being rejected:

Love is best when mixed with anguish.
In our town,
we won’t call you a Lover
if you escape the pain.

Rumi also had something to say about drunkenness, the inherent dangers and the need to say ‘no’:

“I am so drunk
I have lost the way in
and the way out.
I have lost the earth, the moon, and the sky.
Don’t put another cup of wine in my hand,
pour it in my mouth,
for I have lost the way to my mouth.”

The importance of more silence and less speech was also a great concern of this philosopher:

Listen!
Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell,
for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend.
When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.

Rumi’s philosophy was also based on the Supreme Being:

I have seen the king with a face of Glory,
He who is the eye and the sun of heaven,
He who is the companion and healer of all beings,
He who is the soul and the universe that births souls.

On the need to seek happiness from the source and not reflectors of love, Rumi had this to say:

Sunlight fell upon the wall;
the wall received a borrowed splendor.
Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?
Seek out the source which shines forever.

Finally, do you know the value of your soul? Rumi has this challenge for you:

You know the value of every article of merchandise,
but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it’s all foolishness.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru!

XXX
 

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How to Balance Your Hormones!

Obsession with Veggies!

Hello gorgeous ladies, I have written this article just for you!

It is not possible to talk about the human body without mentioning the word hormones!  Many people do not understand about these chemical secretions and reactions, but all of us have to deal with hormonal issues every now and then. Hormonal imbalance is a serious health complication for many people, especially to women in all stages of life.

Owing to the complex lifestyles and dietary choices we make today, we have compromised the composition of hormones in our bodies. Incidentally most of the illnesses wreaking we have in our lives emanate from hormonal disproportion. It is important that you understand exactly what it means to have hormonal imbalance.

Vitamin D in Riviera Maya
Vitamin D in Riviera Maya

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, then your body is having problems balancing your hormones.

1. Lethargy: If you are the type that feels weary most of the time and needs to have some snack to make your body active, it is likely your hormones are not well-balanced. Is it becoming common for you to feel exhausted, befuddled and lazy? Have yourself checked for hormonal inequality.

2.  Bloating and other digestive complications: Many a times when you experience problems of the digestive track, you tend to associate them with poor dietary habits. However, it is also possible that your digestive hormones are not being secreted normally.

3.  Uncontrolled weight gain: One of the main problems facing women today is excess weight. It is true that most of this is caused by excess consumption of carbohydrates and processed foods. However, if your hormones are not working optimally, this problem will persist.

4.  Depression: A dip in mood and emotions is often a sign of hormonal imbalance. It happens when we don’t get enough rest, are stressed, or when the body has a large number of toxins.

5. Poor sleep patterns: Hormonal imbalance may also manifest itself through erratic sleeping patterns. Insomnia tends to affect every faculty of the human body. Unless you align your body to the natural sleeping order, you are going to experience interruptions in your daily routines.

6. Low libido: Sex is controlled by hormones. The moment your hormones don’t work exactly as they should, you will experience lack of or low sexual drive.

7. Hot flushes and night sweats: If you are starting to experience increased temperatures and unusual sweating at night, it is time you were checked for hormonal disproportion. Don’t just dismiss it as any other complication.

The best way to deal with such health complications, then, is to balance your hormones. There are a number of ways you can do this. The most popular (but unfortunately not the best) is hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Considering hormonal imbalance is a problem for many people, especially women, HRT practitioners are making a kill. The actual problem with HRT is that it does not treat the cause of the problem but deals with the symptoms only.

Despite this, we should not be fast to condemn HRT. Many perimenopausal women will tell you that when they begin to experience hot flashes and night sweats, the fastest method to relieve the pain and discomfort is to take respective pills. What we are saying though is that it is better to use more long lasting methods, most of which are natural and less expensive compared to HRT.

Natural Strategies of Balancing Hormones

1. Ensure that you have healthy weight: The level of oestrogen in your body increases with increases in adipose tissue, the latter being as a result of excess fat. This is because the adipose tissue performs a similar role as the endocrine glad at this point. To avoid unnecessary secretion of surplus hormones, therefore, you need to have healthy weight. Know your BMI and always live by it. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Remember having the right weight is also good for your general outlook and health.

2. Include cruciferous veggies in your diet: Indole-3-carbinol is the element in cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and related plants that generates diindolylmethane (DIM) after metabolism. With these two elements, the secretion of oestrogen in your body is regulated thus preventing hormonal imbalance. In addition, it has been proved that eating cruciferous veggies helps to prevent cancer, especially the type that affects the breasts. Stock up on these vegetables and find ways of including them in as many as your foods as possible.

3. Introduce phytoestrogens in your food: This is one of the best approaches to dealing with hormonal imbalance since it happens naturally. Instead of buying expensive HRT medication, simply eat food rich in soy and also consume generous amounts of seeds such as sunflower and flax as well as beans sprouts. Other foods rich is phytoestrogens include peas and garbanzo beans. By simply eating such food, you will regulate hormones in your body without experiencing negative side effects. And you don’t have to worry because these seeds are found in abundance in areas close to you like grocery stores.

Healthy Food Choices Inspiration
Healthy Food Choices Inspiration

4. Consume avocados and coconut oil: Another relatively inexpensive way to curb unusual fluctuations in body hormones is to consume foods that contain fatty acid chains of varying lengths. The best examples of these are avocados and coconut oil. This category also includes salmon derived from natural habitats and butter from grass-fed animals. Apart from having your hormonal levels restored to normal you will experience improved metabolism and increased loss of weight. Instead of using expensive drugs, look for these food products and eat them as often as possible.

5. Reduce your intake of caffeine: Coffee and tea are favourite beverages for many, but herein lies a problem for those with hormonal imbalance. When you take caffeine, especially before you sleep, you tend to lose sleep, but more significantly, the hormonal level in your thyroid is interfered with. This is the moment you experience all sorts of chaos in your body since hormonal activity is significantly altered. We are not intimating that you avoid these beverages altogether (although this is advisable for those with critical hormonal imbalance problems) but reducing intake, especially before going to sleep is important.

6. Sleep adequately: Your hormonal imbalance problem is likely to be as a result of not getting enough sleep. If you are not getting between seven and eight hours of quality sleep every day, your hormonal activity will be affected negatively. Your body is designed to have reduced activity at night and this is when sleep sets in. The moment you disturb this order, you also interfere with your hormonal activity. Make sure you sleep by around 10 pm as this will ensure you get quality sleep. Make sure you have lie on a comfortable bed and that your room is dark enough. Avoid watching television or gazing at smartphone screens before you sleep.

7. Practise deep breathing: To deal with night sweats and hot flashes, you don’t have to resort to HRT all the time. The simple routine of breathing from the belly two times every day with each session lasting fifteen minutes will bring you natural relief from hormonal discrepancy. Deep breathing helps your lungs to imbibe enough energy to be fed to the blood, which ensures the blood that reaches your cells is clean. When your blood is clean, you will have not only stronger immunity from illnesses, but your hormonal activity will also be balanced correctly.

8. Herbal remedies can help: There are herbal medicines that have been proven to deal effectively with hormonal imbalance. Shatavarim, an Ayurvedic herb, is known for its ability to reduce mood swings and irritability that comes with menopause. There are even herbs that are known to deal with the physical pain and psychological distress associated with hormonal imbalance. However, it is important to talk to an expert before you begin using herbal remedies for this problem.

9. Avoid conventional birth control: While this may not be a popular kind of advice when dealing with hormonal problems, it is important to consider the rationale behind it. Did you know that birth control pills are essentially hormonal therapies that alter how your body works? More importantly, these pills make you more vulnerable to breast cancer, migraines, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, high blood pressure and breast tenderness, among other issue that should worry you. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to look for more natural and harmless ways of controlling child bearing than to interfere with hormonal activity and expose you to some much pain?

10. Get vitamin D and lots of It: This vitamin is known for its ability to boost mode and general wellbeing. To this end, vitamin D helps to control hormonal activity. This implies that you need to get enough time in the sun, though you should take care not to be harmed by the sun’s rays. Bask in the early morning and late evening hours. If you do not have this privilege, look for vitamin D supplements. This is especially true if you live in an area where you don’t have adequate exposure to the sun.

Outdoor portrait of beautiful young women having fun.

So now you have it! HRT may work over some time but it is not sustainable for hormonal imbalance problems in the long term. Go the natural way and you will never suffer from painful side effects or have to worry about the possibility of contracting dreadful illnesses again!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru 

XXX

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Pranayama

I would like to write about a special breathing practice, which is called Paranayama. We all know that breathing is something that we do every day, 24/7, but don’t really pay any attention to it most of the time. If I tell you what life changing benefits you can get out of Pranayama, I am sure it will make you so much interested that you will start practicing it on a daily basis.

Pranayama is made up of two words i.e. “prana” meaning breath and “yana” meaning to control or restrain. Pranayama, therefore, means to control the breath. Without breathing, we obviously can’t live. Prana is a vital element of our existence on this earth. The only thing we ought to do is take good care of this precious gift God has given us. Utilization of this energy source gifted to us is crucial to ensuring we stay a healthy and disease free lifestyle.

The benefits of pranayama can’t be underscored. There are intangible (that can’t be touched) and tangible (that can be perceived by the sense of touch) advantages.

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Controlled breathing rate!

I am sure you know it already or at least heard it from your friends – Yoga is great for the mind, soul and it will also help you to control your breathing a lot. So another way to practice Paranayama is trough Yoga, it will enable you reduce your breathing rate and breathe more deeply and slowly.

But can you imagine?! With Pranayama, you can reduce your rate of breathing from 13-16 breaths per minute to 5-7 breaths!

A decreased respiratory rate leads to the following

  • More oxygen will be pumped into the lungs due to the slower and deeper breaths
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relaxation of the body muscles and joints
  • Eased nerves
  • Internal organs will be relaxed leading to less wear and tear hence a healthier lifestyle

Backlight profile of a woman breathing deep fresh air in the morning sunrise isolated in white above

Increase in life

According to yoga, breathing increases longevity. The deeper and slower you respire, the longer you will live. For instance, tortoises breathe 4-5 times a minute, and they end up living more than 200 years.

Improved blood circulation

When we breathe, fresh oxygen enters our bodies, and we exhale carbon dioxide. Oxygen travels from our nostrils to our lungs and later on to the heart. Once it reaches the heart, it is pumped into the veins and arteries throughout the body. Therefore, deeper breaths lead to better blood circulation and a revitalized life.

A healthy heart

It’s common knowledge that the heart is the most conscientious organ in the body. Once it stops beating, that’s the end of life. It beats close to 101, 000 times a day. There is not a single minute it has stopped, whether you are resting or sleeping. Your life expectancy will mainly be determined by how healthy your heart is. The more oxygen you breathe, the more oxygen and blood is passed through the heart leading to the more youthful heart. The lesser oxygen you breathe, the lesser blood will be pumped through your veins and arteries leading to a weakened immune system and lower energy levels. You will feel weak, and your muscles and joints will be frail.

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Benefits to the body

Pranayama will have a positive effect on various body organs such as the kidneys, abdomen, heart, pancreas, intestines, diaphragm, and the lungs.

An improved digestive. Digestive system related problems will be cured with better breathing techniques.

Reduced lethargy and improved energy levels.

With more oxygen in the blood, toxins will be removed from the body leading to a better well-being and an improved immune system. Removal of toxins and a better immune system means the onset of illnesses is easily prevented.

Improved mental health

Pranayama frees us from all forms of stress and depression related issues such as anger and lasciviousness. You will be freed from all mental conditions bad characters traits such as arrogance, egotism, and greed for the earthly possessions such as money.

Yoga is great for the mind and soul. Pranayama practice will help you feel relieved, calm, a sense of body lightness, inner peace, and better concentration. You will experience better memory, improved sleep patterns, and enhanced skills.

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Enhances life quality in old age.

The world is changing, and unfortunately, we are engaging in more sedentary lifestyles. We are exercising less, walking less (because we think having a car is the most important thing to own), and spending more time on our smartphones and computers. We are becoming zombies. Living such a lifestyle will lead to your lung capacity decreasing as the lung tissues grow less elastic.

Such a lifestyle means we will have a poor quality of life in our old age. Pranayama will help improve this quality and help us live a better life when we are retired.

Old age problems that yoga will reduce include:

  • Hardened arteries which may lead to lower circulation of blood in the body
  • Rheumatism, headaches and backaches.
  • Muscle pains, stiff joints and weakened bones.
  • Pranayama will also lower the buildup of uric acid in the body which can have adverse effects such as discomfort and chronic joint pains.

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Reduced stress

Once you feel stressed, your body will experience bursts of energy to counter any form of danger that may come your way. Scientifically this is known as the fight or flight effect. You will experience faster and shallow breaths which mean less oxygen will be inhaled and consequently pumped into your bloodstream.

Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline will be produced which increases the blood pressure and heart rate. However, with breathing you can be able to control all these. Deep breathing will give you a sense of calm. Your heart, mind, body, and soul will be peaceful. Deep slow breaths reverse the effects of adrenaline by stimulating the vagus nerve in the parasympathetic nerve system which lowers the heart rates and blood pressure which eventually leads to a calm mind and body.

Your emotional state will be improved with deep controlled breathing techniques. You will be less reactive to your emotions due to a relaxed spirit.

The stages of the breathing process include

Puraka known as inhalation- Here you breathe in deep and slow, and you fill your lungs with air.

Kumbhaka i.e. retention. This is the second stage where body temperatures are raised, and oxygen is absorbed into the blood stream.

Rechaka i.e. exhalation. You release the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the lungs and diaphragm return to its normal position.

Young woman enjoying coffee while lying in the bath with foam and candles

Types of Pranayama

Bhastrika

This means to bellow, i.e. produce a blast of air. Just as a bellow is used to generate lots of air, you ought to breathe in and out rapidly. To practice the Bhastrika Pranayama, sit in a comfortable position and inhale in and out while closing your mouth, expanding and contracting your chest.

Start with 10-15 breaths then increase them to 25-30 breaths. Remember inhaling deeply is the whole point of Pranayama. Retain the air in your chest for as long as you can, then slowly release the carbon dioxide.

Bhastrika Pranayama leads to

  • Reduced throat inflammation
  • Eradicates asthma
  • Destroys phlegm
  • Eliminates all diseases related to the lungs, throat and bile.

Suryabheda

Ensure you are in a comfortable position such as siddhasana. Keep your eyes shut when practicing this Pranayama. Close the left nostril and slowly inhale air through the right nostril. Once you have inhaled enough air (you should be comfortable), close the right nostril with your thumb and retain the air by pressing your jaw against your chest. Increase the rates of retention until sweat is slowly excreted from the hair roots.

Exhale slowly without producing any form of a sound through the left nostril with the right nostril is still closed using your thumb.

Benefits of Suryabheda Pranayama

  • It eliminates any decay in the body
  • It also destroys any worms in the digestive system
  • It cures illnesses such as sinusitis, rhinitis, and rheumatism
  • Suryabheda Pranayama also clears the brain and purifies it.

Ujjayi

Before beginning this Pranayama sit in the siddhasana position and keep your mouth closed at all times. Inspire slowly through both nostrils in a smooth, comfortable pace. Close your mouth once the inhaled air fills up your lungs until the end of your throat. Enlarge your chest when breathing in.

When you are inhaling, there is a weird but uniform sound that will be produced due to the partial closing of the throat. Ensure you are in a comfortable position when breathing and retaining the air in your lungs and throat. Then slowly respire through the nostrils. The best thing about Ujjayi Pranayama is that it can be performed even when during your normal day activities e.g. when at work, or even when walking.

Benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama include

  • Reduces the amounts of heat in the head.
  • Removes phlegm and increases the gastric fire in the body
  • Curing of pulmonary illnesses such as asthma
  • Reduces occurrence of heart-related illnesses

Bhramari

Ensure you are in a padmasana sitting position before starting the Bhramari Pranayama. Breathe in through both nostrils and expire while making the sound of a bee. Repeat the inspiring and expiring severally until the body is soaked in perspiration.

Once you feel like you have perspired enough, inhale deeply through both nostrils and retain the air as long as you are comfortable then let out the carbon dioxide slowly through the two nostrils. You will feel calm and joyful once you are done with this procedure.

Benefits

  • When you start the process, there will be increased body temperature and consequently improved blood circulation throughout the body
  • When you conclude the process, body heat will be reduced through sweating.

Sheetkari

This Pranayama is a little different from others as it involves folding the tongue till it touches the upper part of the mouth. Once you do that, inhale through your mouth while making a hissing sound. Ensure you are comfortable while inhaling, then respire slowly through the two nostrils.

You can choose to keep the upper and lower jaws in contact when breathing in and repeat that process severally.

Benefits include

  • It boosts robustness and beauty. You will be full of strength and life
  • Eliminating problems such as insomnia, hunger, sluggishness, and dehydration.

Sheetali

Sit in a comfortable position. Stick out your tongue straight and fold it like a tube. Then inhale air through the mouth while making a weird but uniform hissing sound. Expand your lungs and retain the air as much as you can. Relax a little bit, then respire the carbon dioxide slowly through the right and left nostrils.

Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama include

    • Blood purity. Your blood and circulatory system will be pure and toxic waste will be exhaled.
    • Quenching of thirst. You will feel better and rehydrated
    • This practice also reduces the hunger pangs and cools the body.

Plavini

The Plavini Pranayama is unique as it involves drinking air from the mouth to the stomach like water. ‘Drink’ the air until the stomach is ballooned a bit. You have to hear some hollow sound when you tap your stomach.

Practice the said procedure slowly. Once you have practiced enough, allow air out. Belch out the air repeatedly.

Benefits

  • Those who have perfected this Pranayama can float for lots of hours on water
  • Persons with this skill can stay without food for several days

Anulom-Vilom

Sit in a comfortable position. Use your right thumb to seal the right nostril and inspire using the left nostril. Breathe in the air to the lungs and not the stomach. Seal the left nostril and expire using the right nostril. Do the said procedure repeatedly.

Then close the left nostril and inspire through the right nostril. Seal the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Repeat those steps severally.

Anulom-Vilom Pranayama leads to

    • Stable body temperatures
    • Lengthens life
    • Reduces stress
    • Removal of toxins from the body
    • Better blood circulation

Chandrabhedan

Sit in a comfortable position on the floor. Your shoulders should be straight and relaxed, and the back should be upright. Seal your right nostril with the right thumb and inspire through the left nostril. Ensure you are comfortable when inhaling to the lungs. Seal the left nostril using your right-hand index finger and exhale through the right nostril.

Repeat the procedure above for 15-20 times.

Benefits include

  • Curing heartburns
  • Stabilizes the body’s temperatures
  • Cooling the body

It’s important to note that this Pranayama shouldn’t be practiced by people who suffer from low blood pressure. It should also be done only during the summer and not any other season.

Pranayama for Children

So now that you have learned the most popular Pranayama techniques, how do you go about teaching your kids such methods of cleansing the body and living a healthy lifestyle?

Pranayama helps children find inner peace and harmony. Pranayama will uplift their moods and spirit; they will learn how to deal better with nerve-wracking or anxious situations. Practicing such yoga techniques is fun.

Steam Train Method

This is particularly popular with baby class or prekindergarten kids. The first step is to sit in a comfortable position such as a crossed- legged position. Instruct them to seal their nostrils using the upper lip. Then, breathe in through the nose forcing the inhalation to sound like a steaming train.

Gradually speed up the breathing in and out. This particular Pranayama method is critical as it calms the minds of the kids and betters blood circulation in the body.

Dragon Breath Technique

This is another popular Pranayama method for children. It’s slightly different from the steam train method because it involves letting out the toxic carbon dioxide to the universe. The mouth should be kept wide open, and exhaled gas let out to the universe.

The first step is to be in a kneeling position. Instruct them to should raise their hands in the air and outstretch their fingers. Inhale through the nose slowly until the lungs are filled with air. When exhaling, the kids should stretch their arms in front and exhale through the mouth. It’s an entertaining process, and I’m also pretty sure the kids would have fun pretending they are a dragon.

With the hand and fingers movements, the kids are stretching and relaxing their upper body.

 

The Mantra

Using a mantra in the form of a poem, encourage the children to breathe in and out. A mantra will help them improve their concentration, cleanse their bodies and enhance awareness. A chosen mantra should be something that will uplift, calm or empower the kids.

Reciting loudly or quietly, the kids can recite the mantra below.

There (inhale) is (exhale)

Nothing (inhale) that (exhale)

Can (inhale) stop (exhale)

Me (inhale) from (exhale)

Accomplishing (inhale)

My dreams (exhale)

The three named Pranayama for kids can be practiced by kids who are up to the age of 18. They can be used as a good base for teaching the more complex Pranayama techniques such as Chandrabhedan, Anulom-Vilom, Plavini, Sheetali, and Sheetkari et al. They are great for the mind, body and soul. They can be particularly useful for the children who suffer from anxiety issues, and stress related problems such as depression.

They can be performed during any season the year or whichever time of the day or night. Encourage your kids or younger siblings to practice Pranayama for kids as there is no other perfect gift – blissful moment – you can give your child or younger sibling(s).

 

With love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

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Water under the Bridge – How to Forgive

One of the best ways to start the New Year is to let go off the past and begin on a new slate. I have in mind forgiving those who have hurt you and allowing positive feelings and thoughts to imbue you. But how easy is it to forgive? Is it even important to forgive in the first place?

Not an easy task!

Forgiving people who have hurt you, especially those who do it deliberately, is not the easiest of tasks. We are not talking about telling that person it is ok, then remaining with hurt feelings for days to come. Forgiveness is about letting out those feelings of hatred, anger and bitterness towards someone who has hurt you.

Forgiveness is not easy…

Forgiveness is more about you than it is about the person who has hurt you although some of them are hard to forgive. Think about this close friend who knows almost all your secrets and who broadcasts your dirty linen to the public.How do you forgive betrayal from a person who is not even willing to acknowledge they are wrong or that they need forgiveness? Your close friends are urging you to forgive that boyfriend who betrayed you with a close ally but now wants to come back. However, the person in the wrong has not even made an effort to ask you to forgive him.Forgiving is also not easy because sometimes the pain is too hard to bear. This is especially when the person who needs forgiveness appears to have had the motive to hurt you. It is no wonder that there are family members who can never see eye to eye. Some cannot sit in the same room or even share a table. I know some people who will get aggressive and prepare to fight when they meet their perceived enemies. Feelings of bitterness and grudges are bottled for many years waiting for the opportune time to explode. There are family conflicts that run so deep that generations of offspring who were never alive when the triggering events occurred can even kill their ‘enemies’.

But is it beneficial to hold grudges and refuse to forgive?

Earlier on we had observed that forgiveness is more about you that about the person who has hurt you. There is a saying to the effect that keeping a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. In other words, failing to forgive a person hurts you more than the other person. It is ironical that the other person may not even be asking for forgiveness and has a light heart at a time when you are carrying an emotional burden in your heart. Yes, your self-mage and self-esteem were hurt by the actions of another person, but by holding on to feelings of bitterness, you hurt yourself more.

The woman in a white sundress on seacoast with open hands. A picturesque landscape

In essence, whether the other person comes to you asking to be forgiven or they simply pretend they never did anything wrong to you, you owe it to yourself to expel the hurt feelings from your heart and begin on a new slate. That burden that is weighing so heavily upon you cannot wait until a remorseful person comes to ask for pardon.I know you think that by stopping to talk to this person you are retaliating. Yes it is true that there is a form of relief from saying that hurtful word or hitting back in a way towards that evil person. However, when all is said and done, it is you who will be hurt whenever you meet this person or even hear people talking about him or her.

Health benefits of forgiving

And there is scientific evidence to back these assertions. According to the Journal of Behavioural Medicine, those who take time to forgive others enjoy better health including lower blood pressure, reduced levels of depression, less stress and a strong immune system. Forgiveness if kindness towards your soul, mind and body and giving yourself an opportunity to live wholesomely,

You also need forgiveness

Let us elevate this discussion. Are you also in need of forgiveness at one time or another? Unless you are not human, you can never avoid hurting people, whether deliberately or inadvertently. Honestly, how do you feel when you have hurt a person, and when you ask for forgiveness, the aggrieved person withholds it? Forgiveness is about empathy – walking the path of the other person and living their experiences. The golden rule urges us to do to others what we would want them to do to us.

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Its normal to be hurt; it should be normal to forgive

To sum up, remember you cannot avoid being hurt by the people around you. While you should try to minimize it by being more empathetic and civil, do not hold on to hurt feelings because it is you they will destroy – not the other person. You have a choice to make; do it wisely. This New Year, determine to forgive the hurts of 2015 and begin on a new grudge-free and healthy slate.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

XXX

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