by Mary Byerly | Dec 20, 2019 | Meditation & Breathwork, Yoga Travel |
Celebrate Good Times, Come On!
So it is just a few days until we go into 2020, the third decade of this 21st Century. Happy Holidays and Happy end of 2019! Whether you’re celebrating that you have made it through another year, or happy that your days are getting longer, the end of the year always seems to bring about a time of reflection. So here goes my:
Top 10 Things About 2019
We sold the lower property! Subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on how our plans for the top part of the mountain evolve — #getoffthegrid!
Our Panacea on the Road to Peru retreat was a hit. The synergy of the group, the wonderful guides, the magic of the land all brought it together in a packed and wonderful week. Now we are talking Tuscany for 2021!
Yoga Growth – I added another yoga teacher training to my schedule, which brought the opportunity for folks to come at different times of year, and plan to offer my first advanced, 300 hour teacher training in November, 2020. I have continued to study with meditation teachers, yoga philosophy teachers, and am taking courses on more bio-mechanics and yoga nidra. My evolution is weekly reflected in my teaching here at Panacea!
Animals – While we were incredibly sad to lose Jack so young, we were doubly blessed to welcome two more rescues, Ralph and Micah, to our home.
Environmental Health – We continue to be better stewards of this mountain, with better water management and lessening our carbon footprint. We work on planning our drives each week so that we do more things in less trips. I was pretty close to my goal of a plastic-free October, and will reduce my purchase of any plastic stuff in 2020.
Doing My Work – I dug into some of the darker corners of myself this past year… excavating things that no longer fit who I am. Am I done yet? Hell, no. I wrote in my journal this morning: “I have to do my work.” Living my yoga is more meaningful than ever.
Building Community — Witnessing how divided the world is becoming, I look to stay centered and contribute to change locally. Instead of spending my time bickering about what I can’t change, I am using my energy to make a difference close to home.
Less Diversion — I have watched less television, movies, Youtube, etc. in this past 6 months, and it feels great! I use the internet for work, but when it is time to relax, time with friends or in nature is recharging me in healthy ways.
Presence – This year I connected with a group weekly via zoom to practice meditation techniques. While I have had a meditation practice for years, going into new territory and having the support of a group has been amazing. I have felt a shift inside of me. It feels as though 2019 was constantly pushing me to expand in so many ways beyond what was comfortable and familiar, and I am excited to stay present for what 2020 will hold.
Reaching Out — I had the gift this year of someone who has taught me so much about reaching out into the world. Her name is Auri, and I know that you will someday all know her, as she is a bright star. She came through my ytt in exchange for helping me to up my marketing game. I have always known that I am here to teach, and that what I have to share is of value. Auri helped me understand that reaching out is an important part of my work, so that those who are ready can find me. You actually receiving this newsletter fairly regularly is part of that!
Thank you for your continued support of me, and for doing your work. If you are looking for some inspiration heading into 2020, write out your own top 10 list. It will help you see what you did best this year and give you the energy to bring the best of you into 2020! Together, we can create positive change in our world.
With Love and sparkly holiday light,
by Pete Peterson | Feb 23, 2017 | Meditation & Breathwork |
In Patanjalii’s Yoga Sutras, the 8 limbs include Pratyahara (withdrawing the senses), Dharana (intense focus), and Dhyana (meditation, or the uninterrupted awareness). Each of these limbs is in essence some form of meditation. Meditation therefore is often a part of a daily yoga practice, along with the physical postures and breathing exercises.
The number of ways and types of meditation is just as great as the number and ways of doing yoga poses. In this post I’ll explore one way to incorporate meditation into your day. This approach is called mindfulness meditation. Within this form you do things in a meditative or mindful manner, paying attention to whatever you are doing in that moment. I ran across an excellent explanation of this in a book (The Miracle of Mindfulness, 1975) by Thich Nhat Hanh.
“I usually wash the dishes after we’ve finished the evening meal, before sitting down and drinking tea with everyone else. One night, Jim asked if he might do the dishes. I said, ‘Go ahead, but if you wash the dishes you must know the way to wash them.’ Jim replied, ‘Come one, you think I don’t know how to wash the dishes?’ I answered, ‘There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes.’…
“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not ‘washing the dishes to wash the dishes.’ What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future – and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.” (p. 4-5).
The reason to practice mindfulness in your life is just as these paragraphs explain – to actually live the minutes of your life. Have you ever wondered where a day went? It may be that you could enjoy more, and feel less like life is slipping by practicing paying attention. Try to bring mindfulness into something each day, be it brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or even washing your dishes. See if the being present during that one activity starts to bring more mindfulness to other areas of your life as well.
by Pete Peterson | Feb 23, 2017 | Meditation & Breathwork |
A couple years ago, I spent an incredible month in Bali, adding to my yoga teacher tools. Imagine if you will, spending all day for a month practicing and absorbing teachings of yoga – it was amazing. Plus being in the spiritual center of Bali, Ubud, where each day the sights and sounds of their deep honoring of deities and nature abounded.
What did I come back with? A further commitment and deepening of my own practice, along with more ways to share the ancient art and science of yoga with others. I had particularly chosen the course I did for its emphasis on the breathing practices of yoga, called pranayama, as well as for the advanced meditation techniques. There are a large number of techniques for working with the breath in the yogic tradition, for many different purposes. In looking at what techniques are most generally useful, one clearly stands out. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, or alternate nostril breathing can be helpful for almost anyone. Looking at the words of Sanskrit: Nadi = subtle energy channel; shodhan = cleansing or purification; and pranayama = breathing extending or breath controlling practice or technique.
Doing this practice, even if only for a few minutes can help you feel calmer and release accumulated tension and fatigue. The mind is typically calmer after a few minutes of this practice and your breathing tends to deepen, which can also help move the nervous system from the “fight or flight” response. If you have any stress in your life, you can benefit from this practice. While there are other energetic benefits (the cleansing of the Ida and Pingala nadis), the feeling of calmness and clarity is what most people notice and appreciate. The nice thing is that you can do this technique without any equipment or special clothing! You just need to have a quiet place and a few minutes to yourself.
To begin, find a comfortable seated position, either in a chair or on the floor. It is important to have the natural shape of your spine, so do take the time to set yourself up well. You will use one of your hands to alternately close and open one and then the other of your nostrils. With your hand in front of your nose, the traditional position is to either bring your first and second fingers toward your palm or place the tips of those fingers lightly in between your eyebrows. You then use your third finger and thumb for closing the nostrils. Close your eyes, and breathe in through both nostrils. Closing the right nostril, breathe out through the left, then breathe in through that same side. On the exhale, close off the left, and breathe out through the right.
Breathe in through the right, and switch again on your exhale. Continue in this pattern, alternating the nostril used on the exhale. In the morning, you begin with an exhale through the left nostril, in the afternoon and evening, begin with an exhale through the right nostril.
Let your breath be smooth and even – it should never feel as though you are struggling for air. If one of your nostrils is completely blocked for any reason, then you won’t be able to do this practice at that time. Wait until you can bring breath in through both nostrils. As with any of the pranayamas, you do not want to battle or fight your way through it! If both your nostrils are open, however, you may still find that your even and smooth inhales and exhales gets disturbed sometimes. Return then to your normal breath for a little while until it stabilizes. Then try again. Especially when you are beginning your practice of Nadi Shodhana, this can happen.
If Nadi Shodhana is new to you, begin with breathing in this manner for 3-5 minutes, and then watch within for what effects it brings for you. Gradually increase your time as it is comfortable to 10 minutes or more. Keep aware of what this simple, yet profound practice may bring to you in your life off your mat!