Posts tagged ‘swadhyaya’

NOSEA: Be Your Self

A dear friend of mine is currently developing the New Orleans School for Esoteric Arts.  “We represent people from all walks of life. We are open to anyone who wants to learn more about Astrology, Voudou, Witchcraft, Herbal Magick, Shamanism, and more. We are not affiliated with any church nor do we claim loyalty to any doctrine. We welcome people from all walks of life regardless of inexperience or religious ties.”

She asked me to contribute some articles for their blog. Here is my first post: Be Your Self

If you’d like to donate to help get this amazing school going, check out their Go Fund Me page. You can also stay connected through their Facebook page.



Free Global Synchronized Meditation Event

Sunday, Sept 21, at 1:30 P M

Join me at the yoga movement to meditate with your fellow yogis and thousands of other meditators around the world! We will meet at the studio at 1:30 for a brief introduction and begin meditating at 2. No experience necessary! World peace begins with inner peace. Let’s get together and make it happen!

Check out the event on Facebook


Lucky Elephant Journal

Yesterday in my kids class, we read a story about a lucky elephant. Then we made our own out of styrofoam balls, toothpicks and pipe cleaners. Well, looks like mine really did bring me luck. I’m excited and grateful to share that a new essay of mine has been published on elephant journal! Click below to read the article.

Love Means Never Having to Say Sorry.

I am especially grateful to Erina Yamamoto, a fellow yoga teacher who was also recently published online. Seeing her essay on the web inspired me to do it too! Here’s a link to her amazing essay:

Surrendering to Death.

Jaya Ganesha!

I Am Water

I always find comfort near bodies of water.
Sitting for meditation, I thought,
“I wish I was near the water right now.”
Then I realized,
I am water.
A body made up mostly of water.
A body of water.
Can I sit by the babbling brook of my inner monologue and watch as thoughts tumble over the rocks and roots, finding their way over and around obstacles?
Can I sit on the shores of my consciousness and observe the waves of breath gently flowing in and out, ever changing yet always the same?
Can I sit near the lake of my mind and notice the effects of each tossed pebble as it ripples the surface, patiently waiting for it to become still?
Finding comfort in myself,
I Am

And That’s What We Call Boundaries

I recently read a quote saying a true friend loves you for who you are, no matter what. It made me think about acceptance and what that entails in relationships. Does a true friend simply let you be and do whatever you want, regardless of whether it is beneficial to you and others? Or does a true friend push you, challenge you to grow, inspire you to be your best self, and hold you to your highest potential? As a friend, partner, or family member, can you do both? And who decides what is best?
I have recently had to take a long hard look at my own ego in the context of several personal relationships. I tend to see potential in others, to give them the benefit of the doubt that they are capable of being their best self. And as a result I tend to enter into relationships with expectations. I expect the other person to be on the same path as me, to be striving for the same things. And as Buddha taught us, with expectation (another word for desire) comes suffering. I try to, as a friend put it, “gently shove” people in the direction that I feel is best, instead of allowing them to walk their own path. I come to the relationship with the best intentions, and we all know where those lead. I try to help but my help is not always wanted or needed.
On the other hand, I do feel it is our responsibility as friends and more broadly as fellow human beings to hold one another to certain standards. To encourage kindness, compassion, respect, and acceptance towards others. When I see these things being violated, I do step up and express my feelings. But I still have to realize that that is where my contribution ends, unless the other person asks for my help. As Ram Das said, if I have a problem with someone, that’s my problem. If someone has a problem with me, that’s their problem. It is when we expect others to fix our problems or we try to fix theirs that we get in trouble.
Once I have established my beliefs and the other person has established theirs, it is then my choice to continue the relationship. I have the right to set boundaries if necessary to preserve my well being. If the other person doesn’t respect my boundaries or if I don’t think I can be my best self and honor who I truly am while in relationship with them, I can end or reduce contact with that person. If I maintain the relationship, I must accept that the other person is the way they are. And they in turn must respect me. In certain cases there may be exceptions, as there are to every rule, but most of the time when I examine my motives it is my ego and not necessarily my spirit that wants to change someone else. In my teacher training last weekend I was given this wonderful gift during our swadhyaya, or self study, session: If you hear yourself thinking or saying, “How dare you…” check your ego. Whether it is a thought or statement directed at yourself or someone else, the ego is probably behind it. This is not to say that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself or let others treat you badly. However, when we are motivated my strong emotion coming from ego, things usually don’t go well. If we can step back from the situation, examine our part in it, see where the ego has been triggered, ask ourselves what part fear is playing, and then move forward with love, we will have much more success.



Turn the Radio On

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

–Nikola Tesla

When you ask the Universe/God a question you have to be in tune with the Universe/God to receive an answer. I typically use the terms god/universe/source/love/light/spirit interchangeably. God is the whole universe, the source of everything, is pure love and light, and is present in spirit. When we are negative and complain that we are not receiving guidance, it’s like turning the dial on the radio to static then complaining that there’s no music. Spirit is always talking to us, but we aren’t always listening. You have to feel good as they say in “The Secret,” get into the zone or “the vortex” as Abraham calls it, to see your intentions manifest. You must tune your inner radio to the correct frequency to get the message that is coming in. Often it is in our darkest times that we think to ask our inner guide for help. And it will help, if we are able to receive the guidance. It is a practice, like everything else, to know where to look, how to receive, what to listen for. We can practice through living mindfully, cultivating awareness, and meditating. Meditation comes in many forms, and can include, but is not limited to: sitting silently, mantra repetition, breathing deeply, singing, chanting, practicing postures, walking, running, cycling, being in nature, gardening, journaling, guided meditation, working with animals, volunteering, playing, and creating art. Even our diet and activity level have an effect on our ability to perceive the voice of our inner guide. If we don’t practice this technique and don’t train our spiritual muscles, they get weak. We become confused and lost. We may get frustrated or doubtful, saying, “Where were you when I needed you?” We stick our fingers in our ears, cover our eyes, and cry out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” I know. I’ve been there. Even Jesus Christ has been there. Unable to see the bigger picture amidst our own pain, we sit in a deep dark hole, gazing down into the abyss and neglecting to turn our eyes up to the light above. Even after years of therapy, treatment, yoga, meditation, and mostly healthy living, I still have moments and sometimes days of fear and doubt. More and more often now, though, I am able to lift my own head. I can find that spark of light that urges me to keep moving forward. I have practiced and trained my mind to sit for meditation even when I don’t feel like it, to read enlightening texts, to practice and teach yoga, to remember to be grateful, to listen to upbeat happy music, to avoid negativity, and to tune back in to a positive frequency. In “The Secret” these mood-boosting techniques are called “secret shifters.” Yours may be different, but as long as they make you smile, laugh, or feel happy, then they work to pull you out of that darkness and glimpse the light again. They give you the motivating energy to tune into a positive frequency and vibrate in harmony with god, thereby allowing you to glimpse the secrets of the universe.

Control Issues

“If you change the rules on what controls you, you will change the rules on what you can control.” –Zack, Revolver

Do you feel the need to try to control every aspect of your life, and that of others? Or do you feel totally out of control and helpless? What do we really have control over? These questions are common for many of us, myself included. I often joke that I had to become a yoga teacher to get over my type-A personality traits that I inherited from my father (love you dad!) Some of the aspects of this tendency are good, like being organized and thorough. However it gets us in trouble when we try to overstep our boundaries and increase our circle of influence beyond what we can truly control. At my last weekend training for my 500 hour yoga certification, Thom Allen presented another amazing “swadhyaya” session. Thom is not only a yogi, he is also a psychotherapist, so he brings a unique talent and perspective to the topic of self-study. He had us look at the areas of our lives on which we expend the most energy. Then he had us take that list and separate it based on what we can control, what we have influence over, and what is out of our control. Finally he had us take the same list and separate it based on how much time we spend on each item. In doing this exercise we had some interesting observations and discoveries, both individually and as a group. I realized that I spend a lot of time and energy on things that don’t support, nurture, or help me to grow. And many of these things that I put so much time and energy into are actually in the sphere totally outside of my influence and control! The only thing I put in the category of “totally under my control” is myself: my own thoughts, words, and actions.  Another student brought up the fact that our goal in yoga is to control our own minds, which then gives us ultimate control. We direct our thoughts to the positive and by the law of attraction positive things manifest for us. Anything that we perceive as negative in our lives, we learn to turn around by using a positive perspective. By this logic we actually control everything in our lives. If we maintain equanimity in all situations by controlling our own minds, then we remain in true control over ourselves. Problems arise when we try to start on the outside and work our way in, instead of starting with ourselves and letting the universe work its magic from the inside out.  We often think that if we can change our external situation then we will finally find peace and happiness internally. We might think, “once I get that job, find a partner, or can afford that car, then I’ll be happy.” Instead, yoga teaches us to cultivate that internal peace and happiness and then let that positive energy flow out into our lives. Another fellow student told a story of when someone made the passing comment, “you can’t control the weather,” and how that really helped her to let go of the need to control things in her life that she couldn’t change, like other people. In meditating on this topic lately I was also reminded of the Bible quote in which Jesus reminds us to “first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the speck out of your brother’s eye.” If we can’t first control our own thoughts, words, actions, and reactions then who are we to try to control someone else? The beauty of the paradoxical universe is that by first working on ourselves, we can affect our external circumstances. If we have only loving, positive, grateful thoughts then we will attract loving, positive, grateful people. And think of it this way, even when we do need to interact with people who are negative, if we maintain our own positive attitude then we don’t let them affect our mood. Again, we are in control! When we focus on happiness and peace we will be given circumstances that reinforce our happy and peaceful state of mind. Even if you don’t think your thoughts can literally change the world, which I do, at the very least you will have a more positive lens through which to view any situation. So start working to control your internal state of mind, cultivating inner peace and happiness, and you will soon see the ripple affect begin to create peace and happiness all around you!

Erin Marie Yoga



Helping people who are ready for better