pranayama

  • Discover Your Inner Wisdom

    “Each man's life represents a road toward himself, an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path...But each of us - experiments of the depths - strives toward his own destiny. We can understand one another; but each of us is able to interpret himself to himself alone.”

    ~Hermann Hesse~

    corpse pose Savasana by Robert Sturman Photography

    Yoga is all about aligning with your inner wisdom and revealing your true self. The revelation of your true self is a process unique to you. As Hesse imparts, the road to your self is uniquely yours. Sure, you travel on your own road, but it’s only natural to imitate other paths, experimenting with new depths. One such path is the yoga path – a unifying path that integrates breath and movement to help you, ultimately, reach your true self.

    Experiment with the path now. Shift your focus within and travel to new depths in Cristi Christensen’s new online yoga class filmed at Exhale Spa: Live Music Slow Flow for Inner Wisdom. 

    In this online yoga video, you will gently wake up the spine before moving into a beautiful Sun Salutation flow following your own breath, aligning with your own internal rhythm, and flowing to the hypnotic, live musical vibes provided by Christopher Hawley. Practice a core activation sequence followed by a standing sequence that ends with hamstring openers, including hanumanasana and the arm balance, eka pada koundinyasana II. End this online yoga experience with seated forward folds and an opportunity to practice alternate nostril breathing before settling into a deep savasana. (83 mins.)

    exhale spa yoga online

    Enjoy the ride to inner bliss.

  • 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.

  • Seeds of Intent: Breathe Through It

    "The only way out is through The only way we'll feel better The only way out is through ultimately” ~Alanis Morissette

    Breathe Through it

    Stuff's gonna go down. Stuff's gonna get messy. You can attempt to work around it or avoid it. You can try to bottle it up. You can play the denial card. You can alter your state of mind to temporarily subdue or numb it. You can try whatever futile escape mechanism you wish, but ultimately the only way out of a mess is through it.

    You gotta go through the motions and emotions to come out on the other side. Whether it’s a painful breakup or a brewing breakdown, you have to go through it to really deal with it and get over it. Fortunately, while you’re navigating your way through a mess there’s something you always have with you to help you better deal: Your breath.

    Your breath is your internal tool of power. In the practice of yoga, the breath is considered a mantra or a vehicle of the mind. The very simple act of tuning into your breath – observing the inhales and the exhales – can transport you from negativity, frustration, anger, freakouts, sadness, loneliness, depression, etc. Whatever you’re going through, the breath has the power to quiet, calm, and mend.

    You don’t need wine and the accompanying hangover. You don’t need ice cream and the accompanying food baby and/or sugar-induced coma. You don’t need to go for a long deranged run, scaring everyone with your crazy eyes. You don’t need any of these extreme measures to get through it. All you need is what you have with you always: Your breath.

    Work troubles? Breathe through it. Family frustrations? Breathe through it. A lover’s quarrel? Breathe through it. Sickness or injury? Breathe through it. Whatever it is. Breathe through it. Consciously breathe through it. If you practice this, you will feel better. You will ultimately get through it with greater ease.

    The only way out is through, yogis. The way is in the breath.

    To practice breathing exercises and techniques, tune into these free online yoga videos.

  • Good Vibes: 10 Sayings on the Breath

    Take a moment…

    Begin by tuning into your breath, observing the inhales and the exhales. Use the breath as a mantra - as a concentration tool - to release the thinking mind. Less thinking, more breathing. Connect deeply with your breath – your internal metronome – to set the rhythm for your day or your practice like a drum player would set the rhythm for a band. Slow down the rhythm. Lengthen out the beats. Connect the beats seamlessly and effortlessly. Establish a sweet, flowing breath.

    prana

    The breath weaves together the practice. It is a mental vehicle, transporting the mind from stress, anger, tension, frustration, thoughts, and distractions into a realm a peace. Without conscious breathing, yoga is just a bunch of silly, disconnected shapes. With it, the asana practice flows like a dance – like a moving meditation. Think about that drum player setting the rhythm for a band. Without a rhythm section, the instruments would struggle to synchronize. The music would sound broken. The breath is your drum player. The asanas are the musicians. You need the breath to realize harmony and wholeness not only in the yoga practice, but also in life.

    1. "All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man... the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports." ~Chief Seattle

    2. "When I look back on my knee-jerk reactions now, I realize I should have just taken a breath." ~Fred Durst

    3. "Conscious breath control is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed, clear state of mind." ~Andrew Weil

    4. "Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

    5. "I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am." ~Sylvia Plath

    6. "There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there’s another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity." ~Rumi

    7. "The breath must be enticed or cajoled, like catching a horse in a field, not by chasing after it, but by standing still with an apple in one’s hand." ~B.K.S. Iyengar

    8. "A lifetime is not what is between the moments of birth and death.A lifetime is one moment Between my two little breaths. The present, the here, the now, That's all the life I get. I live each moment in full, In kindness, in peace, without regret." ~Chade Meng

    9. "Breath is Spirit. The act of breathing is Living." ~Unknown

    10. "The practice is simply this: keep coming back to your breath during the day. Just take a moment. This will give your mind a steadiness and your breath a gracefulness.... There's so much to let go of, isn't there? Your nostalgia and your regrets. Your fantasies and your fears. What you think you want instead of what is happening right now. Breathe." ~Rodney Yee

    To practice controlling your breath, check out our selection of free online pranayama videos.

  • 5 Ways to Let Go

    releasing expectation

    If there’s one thing yoga has drilled into me time and time again it is this: Release expectation. People and situations will disappoint you. Some individuals will get off on seeing you wounded, flailing, or failing. These people will be strangers, mentors, and sometimes, they will even be those with whom you've deeply entrusted your friendship. It doesn’t matter. In the larger scheme of things, it’s not really about these people. Let them do as they will. Let them think what they wish. If you really know yourself, you have all the tools you need to take these punches and to freakin’ take them with grace. And after you take the heat, all you can do is let it go. Then, you put up a fight for the things in life that truly matter. You do you and you do it well. And you never, EVER let them see you sweat (off the mat, of course).

    Yes, this is easier said than done.

    Yes, this takes practice.

    Yes, this requires you choose to perceive this all as ultimately positive.

    How do you do that? What can you do to rebound from disappointment or pain? What can you do when people dish out these emotional punches or stings? How do you avoid letting your anger intervene? How do you confront the situation with grace? How do you let it go?

    1. Breathe. First and foremost, breathe. Practice pranayama. Breath of Fire is a powerful tool to expel overwhelming thoughts and any underlying anxieties you are feeling.
    2. Consider this a message. The universe, whether you realize it or not, is incredibly intelligent. If you have up to this point led with integrity and done your best to bring positive, clean energy into all of your experiences, the universe is most likely looking out for you here. Maybe this unfortunate event is simply a door closing to open a new one. Instead of mourning this loss, consider the new opportunities that are now awake. What will this situation open up for you?
    3. Control your reaction. This, at the end of the day, is the only thing you can count on: Your reaction in the face of a problem. Choose a reaction that you won’t look back on and regret. Choose the higher path. Choose rationality, calm, and discretion. Choose wisely in the emotions you reveal. Choose to view this “bad” situation as a "good" one in disguise. Choose to dwell in possibility, not negativity.
    4. Concentrate on your most important relationship: The one you have with yourself. This should be your priority. Observe how you are responding in the face of these punches. How are these stimuli influencing you? Watch yourself. Be an observer on your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. All of this will create space between you and whatever is going on. A good way to take this watchfulness approach is to meditate. Meditation reveals all of the garbage. Gradually, it allows you to empty out the mental trash and rid yourself of things that are an incredible waste of your energy and space.
    5. Forgive. Don’t give this person or situation any more power over you than they are worth. Forgiveness is powerful because it releases the toxic energy that you share with this person or situation. Holding onto anger and other feelings and emotions will just add flame to the fire. It gives this person or thing great power over you and your thoughts whether you recognize it or not. Forgive it to free it.

    Letting s**t go is tough, yet it is well within your power. You have the power to allow what will and will not get to you. You have the power to open new doors. You have the power to view bad situations as opportunities. Don’t let the bad and the ugly saturate your experience and detract from all of the good. Because the bad and the ugly happen for a reason. If you can stop obsessing over it and consider it all a blessing in disguise, you will be in a place of security and strength. You will come out on top and that much stronger.

    Let it go. Let it all go.

    ~Tess

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