Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fifth Limb-Pratyahara-Control of the Senses

Pratyahara means drawing back or retreat. The word ahara means "nourishment"; pratyahara translates as "to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses."  It means our senses stop living off the things that stimulate; the senses no longer depend on these stimulants and are not fed by them any more.

Pratyahara occurs almost automatically when we meditate because we are so absorbed in the object of meditation. Precisely because the mind is so focused, the senses follow it; it is not happening the other way around.

Much of our emotional imbalance are our own creation. A person who is influenced by outside events and sensations can never achieve the inner peace and tranquility. This is because he or she will waste much mental and physical energy in trying to suppress unwanted sensations and to heighten other sensations. This will eventually result in a physical or mental imbalance, and will, in most instances, result in illness.

Patanjali says that the above process is at the root of human unhappiness and uneasiness. When people seek out yoga, hoping to find that inner peace which is so evasive, they find that it was theirs all along. In a sense, yoga is nothing more than a process which enables us to stop and look at the processes of our own minds; only in this way can we understand the nature of happiness and unhappiness, and thus transcend them both.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dear Son, August 13, 2011

Before I send the fourth limb of Yoga I wanted to explain why this is so important to me.  Your last letter asked "why I was sending you a yoga book"?

Here is why I want you to open your mind to Yoga...

After Rusty died I was kind of wondering aimlessly, and for an alcoholic, wondering aimlessly  is not good!!!  I had a friend  ask if I wanted to go with her to Yoga, why not?  I thought....So the next night there I was, scared, embarrassed, and feeling so stupid....I followed my friend, borrowed a mat and went in to the studio....First of all as I walked in I felt an incredible sensce of peace and acceptance...I felt like I belonged and that is not a feeling that comes to me very often....The doing of the yoga was actually very strenuous so thinking was out of the question!  So one hour went by and I was not thinking of my sadness or grief, and I thought,  What A Miracle!  Besides my Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and friends and of course Kennedy, nothing had helped me so much!  After each session there is a short meditation with music, and every single time they started the music tears came down my cheeks, a continual flow that I could not stop nor did I want to - more healing than therapy this was for me.

There is so much to learn in Yoga as there are so many different practices....I want you to know that Yoga has given me....

a sense of well being
an outlet for grief, anger, sadness 
more chances to sit still and just listen
a way to put my troubles to the side for a bit 
a wonderful place to be 

Please read the book, I love you...Mom

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dear Son, August 22, 2011

I was up early this morning and noticing that the season is already changing
Before long Autumn will be here...

It occurred to me that I have not noticed the seasons changing in quite some time, about the time Rusty started chemo is about the time that my road seemed full of ruts, had big potholes with dark curtains on either side...Survival I'm sure it's called!  All of energy to see outside my grief and the "cancer journey"  was zapped from me...For the past several years birthdays, holidays,  and the changes of seasons were, for me, just another day to get through..

Yesterday in the store I noticed Autumn things going up, pumpkins, scarecrows, orange leaves, and I looked, really looked and felt a jolt of happiness...I feel like I may even be able to decorate a Christmas Tree this year, I have not had one up since Rusty died, and as you know I raise Christmas Trees....

What I am saying is things change, they really do!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Found these photos of you!

This picture is of Rusty and I before Reef was born, Rusty's first look at the cabin!

Dear Son, August 11, 2011

Kennedy is turning 2 on Sunday!
  I know you are feeling down at missing another birthday...As I get older I see things so much different, I have always been told that wisdom comes with age. My advise to you is...

Work from the inside out...

It really is non of your business what others think of you...

Knowledge is power! keep reading, keep learning...

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation-some fact of my life -unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake!

You are young - I know your prison time seems like a lifetime...It is and isn't, use this time to change, read the yoga book I sent you even if you don't want to, read your big book...Believe that God has a plan for you and if you are quiet, really quiet, you just might hear it!

Love Mom

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fourth Limb - Pranayama - Breath Control

       Pranayama is the measuring, control, and directing of the breath. Pranayama controls the energy (prana) within the organism, in order to restore and maintain health and to promote evolution. When the in-flowing breath is neutralized or joined with the out-flowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of body activities are realized. In yoga, we are concerned with balancing the flows of vital forces, then directing them inward to the chakra system and upward to the crown chakra.
        Pranayama, or breathing technique, is very important in yoga. It goes hand in hand with the asana or pose. In the Yoga Sutra, the practices of pranayama and asana are considered to be the highest form of purification and self discipline for the mind and the body, respectively. The practices produce the actual physical sensation of heat, called tapas, or the inner fire of purification. It is taught that this heat is part of the process of purifying the nadis, or subtle nerve channels of the body. This allows a more healthful state to be experienced and allows the mind to become more calm.x As the yogi follows the proper rhythmic patterns of slow deep breathing "the patterns strengthen the respiratory system, soothe the nervous system and reduce craving. As desires and cravings diminish, the mind is set free and becomes a fit vehicle for concentration.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Third Limb - Asanas - Body postures

Asana is the practice of physical postures. It is the most commonly known aspect of yoga for those unfamiliar with the other seven limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. The practice of moving the body into postures has widespread benefits; of these the most underlying are improved health, strength, balance and flexibility. On a deeper level the practice of asana, which means "staying" or "abiding" in Sanskrit, is used as a tool to calm the mind and move into the inner essence of being. The challenge of poses offers the practitioner the opportunity to explore and control all aspects of their emotions, concentration, intent, faith, and unity between the physical and the ethereal body. Indeed, using asanas to challenge and open the physical body acts as a binding agent to bring one in harmony with all the unseen elements of their being, the forces that shape our lives through our responses to the physical world. Asana then becomes a way of exploring our mental attitudes and strengthening our will as we learn to release and move into the state of grace that comes from creating balance between our material world and spiritual experience.
        As one practices asana it fosters a quieting of the mind, thus it becomes both a preparation for meditation and a meditation sufficient in and of itself. Releasing to the flow and inner strength that one develops brings about a profound grounding spirituality in the body. The physicality of the yoga postures becomes a vehicle to expand the consciousness that pervades our every aspect of our body. The key to fostering this expansion of awareness and consciousness begins with the control of breath, the fourth limb – Pranayama. Patanjali suggests that the asana and the pranayama practices will bring about the desired state of health; the control of breath and bodily posture will harmonize the flow of energy in the organism, thus creating a fertile field for the evolution of the spirit. "This down-to-earth, flesh-and-bones practice is simply one of the most direct and expedient ways to meet yourself. …