Svadhyaya: Self-Study

The practice of Svadhyaya, or "Self-Study/Self-Reflection" is one of the Niyamas - part of the 8 limbs of yoga. In a previous blog post on the 5 Niyamas, I wrote: "Svadhyaya is the willful examination of our behaviors - our willingness to observe our flaws and weaknesses and examine our actions, thoughts, emotions, and desires more closely so we can better understand ourselves, what motivates us, what are our personal obstacles and what we need to work on. Svadhyaya is cultivating mindfulness of ourselves so we can see beyond who we are in any given moment and see our connection to True Self or the Divine. Svadhyaya can include study of the ancient sacred texts such as the Yoga Sutras and

Kindness in an Unkind World

It's not always easy to be kind. It sounds nice, but have you experienced a moment when someone made you so angry you wanted to react in an unkind way? OR, have you practiced kindness and had people turn on you for no apparent reason? OR, have you tried to stand up for what is right in a situation (which is also practicing kindness), and had the door slammed in your face? Life is not all hearts and flowers and rainbows for most of us. I personally have had a difficult life. I've had to overcome a lot of hurdles. I know what it's like to experience trauma, poverty, grief, heartache and unkindness. One thing yoga has taught me is that everything in life has purpose - even the really crappy

Sahasrara: The Crown Chakra

"Sahasrara" refers to the "Thousand petaled" lotus that represents our crown chakra, our connection to the Divine, our Unity consciousness, our limitlessness. The 1000 petals represent the limitlessness of Pure Consciousness. It is here that we experience our True Nature, beyond all conditioning. Blockages in our energy here can manifest as feelings of separateness, isolation, hopelessness and the belief that life has no purpose. We can nurture our Crown Chakra through the practices of yoga, including pranayama, especially alternate nostril breathing, brahmari breath, and eventually kevala kumbhaka (breath retention), our asana practice, mandala drawing, chanting, meditation, bhakti yoga

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