online meditation

  • 15 Yoga Practice Tips & Strategies for the Holidays

    Maintaining a yoga practice during the holidays can get tricky. We tend to eat heavy, drink heavy, and play heavy. Mix in kids and travel and it becomes that much more difficult to hit the mat. Yes, difficult...but not impossible.

    Here are some tips and strategies to ensure you maintain a little mat action amidst all the holiday madness:

    1. Get family members, friends, and visitors on board. Commit to a class or practice yoga at home together. You can even include the kids with this practice by Lindsey Valdez!
    2. Keep your mat unrolled on the floor at home as a reminder and invitation to practice a short asana sequence, meditation, pranayama technique, or a brief, yet blissful savasana.
    3. Read a book on Ayurveda and food. I highly recommend The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook. This book will inspire clean eating, a health-conscious lifestyle, and maybe some creativity in the kitchen.
    4. Drink warm water and lemon every morning to keep the system alkalized and promote digestion.
    5. Stay hydrated!
    6. Eat in moderation.
    7. Enjoy plenty of rest so food can digest properly.
    8. Cleanse and detox the body with some sweet, long twisting poses. Enjoy these online yoga classes, focusing on twisting postures:
    9. Inhale deeply, exhale fully. This mantra becomes especially effective if you are dealing with confrontational family members or traveling with rambunctious kids. Repeat as much as needed to remind yourself to breathe. Infuse your experience with some deep Ujjayi breathing, as well.
    10. Take extra long walks.
    11. Leave the holiday parties before things get too wild.
    12. Practice a short meditation every day to soak up the moment and facilitate stillness and calm. Enjoy our abundance of online meditation videos.
    13. Infuse some grounding restorative postures into your home sequence. Check out these short practices (under 15 minutes) for inspiration.
    14. Cut yourself some slack and have a good time with friends and family. Adjust your practice accordingly. It is just a few days out of the year, so no harm done if you break your normal patterns of practice.
    15. Lighten up, enjoy the festivities, have a restful and merry Christmas Day, and live fully in each moment.

    What practice tips and strategies do you suggest for the most wonderful time of the year?

    ~TJ

  • Grow a (Yoga) Spine!

    Is your spinal health something you give much thought? Most often, spinal health takes a back seat. We mind our spines only in the aftermath of something gone wrong. Let’s not, however, allow it to reach that point. Let’s, instead, take our spines to yoga.

    Yoga is a blessing to the spine. Supporting strength, flexibility, mobility, and proper alignment, yoga helps to prevent spinal degeneration and potential injury. Maintaining a diligent, mindful yoga practice will render your spine strong and healthy, and also, enhance your total state of health.

    Spinal health is a solid indicator of overall well-being and vigor. In yoga, the spinal column is referred to as Brahma-danda, which literally translates as “the walking stick of God.” This implies that the spine is pretty darn important. According to master teachers, "A Yogi is one whose spine is full of energy."

    Spine

    Yogis consider the spine to be a channel through which the power of the universe may manifest. It is through Sushumna Nadi, the central channel within the spinal column, that the potent Kundalini energy rises from its dormant state at the base of the spine to the crown of the head.

    The Sushumna, the most essential Nadi (channel), plays the most important role in the expansion of our intellectual, moral, and spiritual journey. It is the path through which our vital energies travel upward, resulting in self-realization, union with the divine, and enlightenment or nirvana. When your chakras are balanced and aligned, a current of Kundalini energy is free to flow and flourish through this channel.

    Because of this upward movement of energy, it is important to maintain a "yoga spine" during a meditation practice. Remaining vertical and erect is paramount to facilitate this vertical surge of energy. Asanas are intended to support the development of a yoga spine. By strengthening and realigning the spine, an asana practice will help prepare you for a deeper, sustained meditation experience.

    To set up a strong yoga spine, practice this new online meditation with Jeanne Heileman. Grow tall and strong. Realign. Awaken your energy.

    Sushumna: Centering the Energy Along the Spine - This online yoga video is great to practice after the Twisting: Balancing the Nadis class and can also be used after most yoga classes or on its own. Start laying down to transition from mental and physical activity, using a Tantric Technique called 61 Points to shift the mind's focus. Sitting in a straight and aligned position, the pranayama technique of Nadi Sodhana is practiced into a Tantric Technique of Prana Shuddhi, a method of developing concentration that allows for meditation. Play with the energy in the spine. Bring awareness to that energy in a calm, enjoyable process. (34 mins.)

    Jeanne Heileman

    ~TJ

     

  • Sow Positive Seeds

    sow positive seeds

    At some point, we’ve all wanted to get back at someone - like really get back at someone. Sometimes the hurt is so overwhelmingly powerful and treacherous that dealing seems impossible. We cry. We do yoga. We read self-help books. We go into the mountains. We blast empowering music annoyingly loud. We gorge on chocolate cake. We drink one too many cocktails. We do everything we can think of to subdue the pain. But then...everything settles into stillness. The noise and distractions fade. In this place of silence, that person unexpectedly pops into your head like a jack-in-the-box, haunting you and laughing at you. And here begins the vindictive fantasies. Scenarios whirl around in your head of how you could right their wrong. Because that person deserves it, right? It only makes sense that they should get a sampling of your suffering, right?

    I feel ya. It's messed up. People are messed up. But just because you are on the receiving end of someone’s messiness, doesn’t give you any right to play with karma. You are not the Karma Comptroller. Unfortunately, you can only receive what the universe handed to you, learn a lesson or two, and ride it out. Planning and executing payback will probably not bring you the pleasure that you’re envisioning anyways.

    Why not?

    Because karma isn’t so straightforward. It’s pretty sneaky. Even if you do go bat sh-t crazy and play out one of your fantasies and even if you royally hurt that person, they still might not receive their lesson. They might be hurt (or just think you're crazy), but it won’t keep them from repeating their messed up behavioral patterns. So, your efforts to teach that person a lesson will undoubtedly be futile. Nice try, though.

    Plus, putting that person aside (because they probably don’t deserve your energy), you are doing your self a HUGE disservice by trying to get back at anyone. 1) You’re wasting your energy and 2) You're polluting the world with more negative energy. Instead of stopping the negative karmic cycle, you are fueling it, now infected by the negative energy of this person. Don’t let them exert that power over you. Don’t let their messiness poison you. And whatever you do, don’t let it spread.

    What you put out in this world matters, even if it’s not always readily apparent. You have a choice: Sow positive seeds or sow negative seeds. Know that in some shape or form, what goes around comes around. It might seem like the universe doesn’t always play fair. It might seem like this person got off scot-free. My advice: Don't worry about it. They will get theirs without you stooping low, sowing negative seeds, and taking karma into your own hands.

    To transform your energy from positive to negative and shed some of that heaviness and resentment you’re clinging to, practice Jeanne Heileman’s online yoga video: Anahata: Finding the Lightness of the Heart. In this yoga video, you will be guided through a specific pranayama called Viloma that moves the breath against the grain of what is comfortable to create expansion and strength in the lungs and heart. Jeanne will then guide you on an online yoga journey deep within the heart, using Tantric techniques she has learned from her master teacher, that can help you find a beauty and deep love that dwells at the darkest cave of the heart. This online yoga class can be a life-changer if practiced for 30 days in a row. It's highly recommended.

    Jeanne Heileman yoga online

    Keep up the positive vibes, yogis. Keep sowing those positive seeds...even when you don't feel like it.

  • Mantra + Meditation with Jeanne Heileman

    sukhasana

    If unfamiliar, mantra and meditation may seem mysterious, even overwhelming. Allow Jeanne Heileman to dissolve any mystery and anxiety. Learn about the power of mantra and experience it first-hand in the following online yoga offerings.

    “The biggest thing is to experience it.” ~Jeanne Heileman

    The Use of Mantra

    Listen to Jeanne as she discusses the importance and uses of mantra, as well as the many different kinds and options for mantra in this free online yoga video. To practice mantra, follow up this discussion up with the following online yoga videos.

    free online yoga video

    Finding Your Voice: Mantra and the Fifth Chakra in Yoga

    This online yoga practice will explore the use of Mantra throughout the whole class. The practice focuses on aspects of the Fifth Chakra, which are connected to sound and vibration. You will join the students in the class vocalizing the mantra "So Hum" as you move through Sun Salutations and poses. At times, things will get quiet as you silently repeat the mantra, feeling the vibrational quality that the mantra provides. This well-rounded class leads to Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and Matseyasana (Fish Pose). It seems pretty simple on the outside, but the students reported that the experience was very powerful on the inside. Give it a try! Follow up this transformative experience with try Jeanne's Mantra for Meditation. (55 mins.)

    vinyasa yoga online

    Mantra for Meditation

    Everything vibrates, either on a slow, dull level or a faster, lighter frequency. The vibration of our speech comes from the vibrations of our respiratory system, which are a result of the vibrations from our thoughts. If we can begin to control the vibrations in our mind, it can eventually ripple outward past our speech and into our actions and our destiny. Mantra can be that powerful! In this online meditation class, the mantra "So Hum" is offered, after some Pranayama to help establish a focused environment. "So Hum" is a simple, safe, and extremely powerful mantra that works in alignment with any spiritual/religious perspective you might already follow. It can also help fill the void if no perspective exists at this time in your life. This meditation is a really wonderful option for when your mind is racing around a lot and concentration is difficult. It is also wonderful for those times when you feel lower in self-esteem, lacking any outer support. The effects of the mantra are truly powerful, and come in time, after many, many repetitions. It's worth doing! (24 mins.)

    online meditation video

    Mantra is an amazing tool to get your conscious out of the way – to re-pattern and re-wire negative thoughts and habits in a very subtle, yet effective way. Tap into your graciousness, goodness, and divinity, transform, and raise your vibration.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: Seated Meditation via www.naturealmom.com

  • Impressions of Maha Shakti with Sri Dharma Mittra

    OK. I am completely, for the lack of a better word, obsessed with this online yoga class and totally in love with Sri Dharma Mittra.

    dharma yoga

    Words that come to mind post-practice? Healing, humbling, challenging, relaxing, enlivening, and inspiring.

    This well-balanced, 42-minute class offers a little bit of everything. Start with a brief warm-up of Kapalabhati – an energizing form of pranayama. Follow that up with some unique Sun Salutations, spiced up with lots of side plank action (Vashitasana) and lunge twists. Though this class is beginner approved, expect challenging asana. I’m a yoga teacher, yet I wasn’t able to do everything. Fortunately, there are modifications for most of the poses, making this practice fairly accessible.

    vashitasana Sri Dharma Mittra in full Vashitasana...

    Also, expect lots of Savasana goodness. This surprised me. I’m used to ending my practice in Savasana, so it was kind of hard to accept that it was coming so soon in the practice. I was wondering, “Is this it? Are we there already?” Rest assured, there’s more. After I let go of my Savasana expectations, I definitely appreciated getting into the pose more. Savasana is a lovely opportunity to connect more with the breath and achieve greater stillness.

    Speaking of stillness…

    I love how Dharma Mittra guides you to stillness, even in some of the more advanced poses. In Sarvangasana and Halasana, his message really resonated when he said, “Learn how to meditate during the poses.”

    Sometimes we get so caught up in alignment, adjusting the pose, the elements surrounding us, and/or the activities of the mind, that we completely miss out on the benefits of the pose. Yes, alignment and awareness are important. Yet, in this practice, I found myself letting go and seizing all movements once I found my way into my full expression of the pose. I found myself resolving to stillness and receiving whatever the pose had to offer me in that moment.

    If you are receptive, each pose does have something wonderful to offer you. Sarvangasana for example, “…brings good mental ability, telepathy, cleverness, the veins of your legs rest, it brings radiant health, and some mental powers,” says Dharma Mittra. When you are fidgeting around or caught up in your head, you miss out on the magic.

    Speaking of magic…

    The deep, guided relaxation element of this class is so beautiful and healing. Expect to feel normalized and recharged!

    And last, but so not least, enjoy a simple, brief visualization meditation – the cherry on top of this delicious online yoga experience.

    In this meditation you will construct the symbol Om, visualizing it emerging on the space behind the forehead between the eyebrows. Simply create mental patterns of Om. This space, says Dharma Mittra is, "The seed of your mind – the location of your 6th sense.” By practicing this meditation, you are stimulating your Pituitary gland and tapping into your 6th sense.

    Yogis, it doesn’t get much better than this. Dharma Mittra truly does deliver the best of the best.

    ~Tess

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