I Don’t Know What to Believe- Coming Out of The Fog

“The decision to believe is the most important decision you will ever make” Whitney Clayton
We all go through different seasons in our lives; various stages with differing scenes of drama come with each season. The thing to remember is that seasons come and go. The hard part is remembering that our mind needs to welcome thoughts, emotions, and feelings in. Your yoga practice helps to maintain equanimity of mind. Purity is staying neutral; not taking sides, keeping your calm, living in the balance between your opposites is the real secret of healthy and happy living. It is your birthright to enjoy peace and health. So welcome disturbance feel it in your body, observe your breath and watch the mind.
When you make a decision to be healthy, you needn’t expect it to go smoothly. If everything were smooth without challenge there wouldn’t be seasons; you’d never be tested to prove that you will stick to your decision. You wouldn’t develop the skills of grit and discipline. So when the tests come how you respond is how you pass the test thus the challenging situation has become an instrument for your personal growth.
Below you see some examples of health. How are you faring? Are you passing the test?
Four Pillars of Health
1) Diet and Supplements- examples, Vitamin C with E, Blueberries, Broccoli, Spinach Seaweed, 20% healthy fat, 40% lean protein, 40% complex carbs
2) Stress Management- examples, Meditation, Mindfulness, Guided Imagery, Breath Exercises, Self-Massage, Chanting
3) Exercise Body and Mind- examples, a minimum of 150 minutes per week Movement, Concentration, Involve Senses
4) Spirit Fitness- examples, Developing Psycho-Spirt Wellbeing, Socialization/Connection, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Patience, Compassion, Empathy, Self-Discovery, Life Purpose, Sense of something Higher than Self, Selfless Service Volunteering
If you do not have four strong pillars, you may be experiencing some unnecessary suffering. At the core feelings and emotions are feedback mechanisms sending you messages. These messages are designed by nature to supply you with information that is necessary for you to survive and thrive. You have the ability to come out of your fog, remove the muck and to be in control of your four pillars. The choice is yours. Find the self-care love and experience the vastness of great freedom in welcoming in your four pillars of health.

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I don’t know what to believe- YOU!

What influences form your ideas and opinions? What makes your moral compass? How can you tell from wrong, good from evil, fact from fiction? Everyone has an opinion. But can they all be true at the same time? The pressures to conform are never ending! Once and for all I just need to know. What movement helps me be healthy and continue with sustainable movement? Is there more to life than being bored and browbeaten at the gym? What is my life purpose? I have to admit; I don’t know what I believed!

I know right! I have felt this way myself many times, and it is one of the reasons why I started Mind Body Balance LLC. I remember the day I was entering the gym in my early thirties and realized that I was going to have to do this the rest of my life. It was overwhelming and daunting my personal trainer at the time loved working me to the point that I could barely walk out of the gym to get home let alone function the rest of the day. Using my intelligence, I thought there has to be another way!

There is Evidence Informed Practice (EIP) which is designing a movement program using information about what research is showing that works. It means using evidence to identify the potential benefits, harms, costs of any intervention and also acknowledging that what works in one context may to be appropriate or feasible in another. As your Integrative Sustainable Movement Educator, I am reading research on a regular basis, I apply the research in my teaching practices as well as use my intelligence to observe when it may not work for someone and using creativity to adapt it to get the same functional goal and desired outcome.

For example, I have received some pushback lately because I chant and we teach chanting in the studio. I know I thought it was rather odd myself about eight years ago. However, one day I got up the courage to talk to someone about it. I am grateful for this courage because it helped me open up my meridian lines (channels which life energy flows) and improves my respiration. Sanskrit is a language like any other language other than English that you may choose to learn. Now I can barely speak English, but I challenge myself to learn words from Sanskrit and chant with those. Why? The English language has a lot of consonants, and Sanskrit has a lot of vowels. Those vowels have a vibration that vibration vibrates up and down my meridian lines, my HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). So it came down to me educating myself on something new and using EIP to improve my health.

The Canadian Alzheimer Society is now recommending Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation. This chant is scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short-term memory.

There are separate studies published that prove the Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation benefits. Two of the studies done at the University of Pennsylvania and one continuing studying is done at UCLA University of California. The University of Pennsylvania study was published in 2010 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (1). Another study was released in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine in 2010. The Canadian Alzheimer Society and Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation are now recommending the meditation as a daily practice to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is a Kundalini Kirtan Kriya (KEER-tun KREE-a) brought to North America by Yogi Bhajan. Kirtan Kriya is Sanskrit, a classical language of India. Kirtan means “song” or “praise, ” and Kriya means “to do” or “action.” It is recommended to do this a minimum of twelve minutes.

If you would like to practice the Kirtan Kriya singing exercise, here are the basic steps:

  • Repeat the Sa Ta Na Ma sounds (or mantra) while sitting with your spine straight.
  • With each syllable, imagine the sound flowing in through the top of your head and out the middle of your forehead (your third eye point).
  • For two minutes, sing in your normal voice.
  • For the next two minutes, sing in a whisper.
  • For the next four minutes, say the sound silently to yourself.
  • Then reverse the order, whispering for two minutes, and then out loud for two minutes, for a total of twelve minutes.
  • To come out of the exercise, inhale very deeply, stretch your hands above your head, and then bring them down slowly in a sweeping motion as you exhale.
  • The finger positions, are very important in this kriya.
  • On Sa, touch the index fingers of each hand to your thumbs.
  • On Ta, touch your middle fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Na, touch your ring fingers to your thumbs.
  • On Ma, touch your little fingers to your thumbs.

The meditation is a combination of chanting a mantra while moving the hands through mudras. Mantra and Mudra are also Sanskrit words. Mantra means “an often repeated word or phrase, ” and mudra means “a motion of the hands” or “a dance of the hands.” To fully experience the benefits of the meditation, a combination of singing, whispering and silently repeating the mantra are used. An essential visualization of concentration is used to cap off the meditation.

Let’s start first with understanding the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma. The sounds come from one of the oldest mantras Sat Nam which means “my true essence” or “true identity” and are designed to be uplifting. There are many interpretations for each of the sounds, one being that there is no meaning to the sounds at all, but merely a vibration, and a stimulation of 84 acupressure points in the palate of the mouth which occurs when singing and whispering the words.

I suggest getting quiet and learning the four pillars of health because they are EIP and chose practitioners that educate you EIP because you are worth it. Taking this path will be more expensive because your practitioner has spent tens of thousands of dollars on their education. It will not be the latest trend so you may not look cool with your friends. It will take a consistent practice which takes up your time, and you will not be perfect at it- so be it! You are worth investing in integrative sustainable movement!

  1. Newberg, A. B., Wintering, N., Khalsa, D. S., Roggenkamp, H., & Waldman, M. R. (2010). Meditation effects on cognitive function and cerebral blood flow in subjects with memory loss: a preliminary study.Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease20(2), 517-526.
  1. Khalsa, D. S., Amen, D., Hanks, C., Money, N., & Newberg, A. (2009). Cerebral blood flow changes during chanting meditation. Nuclear medicine communications30(12), 956-961

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Meant To Be- Be Satisfied with YOU

As we finish a year and begin to start a year anew, depending on your relationship status with yourself, it might have been a great weekend or it may have been the loneliest, most depressing couple of weeks that you have experienced all year.

When we stop asking, ‘Why Am I alone?’ And start asking, ‘Why am I here?’ Our whole world will change – for the good.” – Michelle Hammond

But there is always chocolate, alcohol, TV, and so on, right! For the Christmas season $409 million was spent on chocolate alone. For Halloween 90 million pounds of chocolate was purchased and for the upcoming Valentines holiday, 58 million pounds of chocolate will be sold. On average $220 billion is spent on alcohol in the United States annually. The average American adult watches 33 hours of TV per week that means that last year you spent 1716 hours in front of the TV. One of my favorite mass chocolate companies is Dove Chocolate. I enjoy reading the messages inside each wrapper. Dove includes these notes as a reminder to us to love and care for ourselves. The cool thing about these words is that they focus on the individual and encourage the person at the moment. No matter where you are in life with your relationships with self or others, if you allow yourself one piece of Dove Chocolate after a meal you can be encouraged by the wrapper. No, Mind Body Balance does not have a stockpile of Dove Chocolate at the studio, but most of us do love chocolate, and it can be used as a reminder to love ourselves and to care for ourselves.

This year we are kicking off our 2017 season with the word RENEW and a theme of “MEANT TO BE.”  Often there is so much tension around self-love and self-care that you can feel the tension.  How often do you take your relationship with self and your health for granted? How often do you focus on the negatives about your body, mind, and relationships? Allow a simple piece of Dove Chocolate to remind us that there is a kind of blessing that comes from being connected relationally with ourselves.

What about you? How has your journey with your self-care and self-love been going for you? What triggers cause you to feel: Sadness, Anger, Anxiousness, and Desperation in relationship to your self-care? I hope that you can lean into Mind Body Balance this year and experience the Mind Body Balance community entirely. Do not allow another year to go by where you feel the crushing feelings of loneliness, weight gain and depression. Instead we hope that you lean in and feel the blessings and life purpose “Dharma” that is a side effect of spending 15% (260 hours/year or 6.5 work weeks) of TV time  with us at Mind Body Balance. (This still leaves you 1500 hours or 29 hours a week for TV- although Kim recommends 10 hours of TV per week-ish, we won’t tell if you don’t).

This year I am struck by the word “RENEW” it means to resume activity after an interruption, to re-establish a relationship or to repeat a statement.  How many of us make a mistake, an act of error and judge ourselves harshly and punish ourselves through a lack of self-care and self-love? If you are doing this, you are also doing this to others. If you are judging others for doing this, they are a mirror to you that you also do this to yourself. It is okay to have a misstep and lapse as you can count on life throwing you some curves, the goal is not to have a relapse. If you don’t love yourself than others cannot love you.  I am not talking about narcissistic behavior I am referring to a regard for your well-being and happiness and that you work on you first so that others have the opportunity to connect with you in a productive and meaningful way. We are wired for love. Mantra or affirmation and chanting are great ways to start this relationship with you anew.

“Just as Mother Nature teaches me about the flow of seasons and that transformation is a natural part of life. I use these seasons as a way to observe whether I am in harmony with these rhythms or if I am in need of establishing new boundaries. When I am in flow through life naturally and effortlessly I am in a valley of change where I have renewed freedom within my spirit and with others.” – Kim Searl

We are currently in winter, and this is the season for reflection, hibernation and planning. Spring is the season for learning, opportunity and progressive thinking. Summer is a season for rewards, celebration and fulfillment. Autumn is a season for survival, mistakes and problems. Understanding the life cycle flow as they are short phrases and transformation is unavoidable, inevitable and yet very manageable is a guide to your personal growth, self-love and self-care.

Here is a mantra to get you started. I will write in Sanskrit and English, pick the language that works best for your belief system.

Atma Hrdaye:

Atma Hrdaye

Hrdayam Mayi

Aham Amrte

Amrtam Anadam Brahmani

My true nature is the heart.

The heart is my true nature.

I am the bliss of the heart.

The heart I am is the everlasting bliss of oneness.

This mantra comes from Rose Kress. It is a chant that comes to the heart from the heart.  Dr. John Douillard once said, “The heart’s true nature is to love for no reason at all.”  Consider chanting this daily for 3 minutes or 108 rounds for 40 days and see if something in your spirit changes. We are familiar with the physical heart which pumps blood to the whole of our body, organs, and brain. The heart maintains our physical life, and at the same time, we refer to our heart as the residence of our emotions both negative and positive this is our emotional heart. I guess you could say we have three hearts: anatomical heart, emotional heart and our innermost heart (hrdaya) or spiritual heart. The heart never changes, it doesn’t have good days or bad days, our previous experiences do not condition it. Our body is our temple, and our innermost heart is the shrine within that temple where the light of our consciousness dwells. This light of consciousness is where we manifest love that is our divine nature. Opening our hearts means to dis-armor ourselves, to uncover our heart. Any suffering we experience is the separation from the love that exists in our heart-of-hearts.

Integrative Sustainable Movement is MEANT TO BE in your life to inspire you to Be Satisfied with YOU!

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