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Wow, another year is with us, and it is time to look ahead and create the foundation for your path. How will you travel this year? For the Chinese it is the year of the Rooster. In tantric numerology it is a 10 year – an ‘all or nothing’ year. What does it all  mean?

Maybe the best things to do is to stay true to yourself. In it all, if you go down the Chinese rooster-2path of dealing with a rooster, which a you may know can be a difficult bird to deal with, he has a fiery side, but is also confident. Or if you thing in shades of black and white than perhaps you are drawn to the aspects of an ‘all or nothing’ year. A 10 year means we need to keep an even keel, stay on your path and work with the breath. Whichever- you are still the one walking your path, and the decisions you make are yours, and they will set the path no matter what.

So I think there is a really good question to ask yourself;

What’s Important to You? 

What’s important in life? Is it the clothes you wear, or the house you live in? Is it about where you have been, maybe even who you know or what you know? What makes you happy, what is important to you?  Here is an exercise to help you assess what is important in your life.

On a piece of paper choose five people you know well and list five things you like most about them. What qualities stand tall as the important ones? This list will give you a good idea of what matters to you.

From this exercise perhaps you can begin to lay the foundations that will help you face the challenges that the year will set for you. Each year we have challenges to face, and each year we grow a little stronger and wiser, and find that we can do more than we thought we could.

I was having an end of year clean up of my yoga space last week, I picked up a folder and these words from Rumi fell out. I knew that I was meant to read them, and to pass them on to you.

I have come to drag you out of yourself and take you in my heart. I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky

To you all have a wonderful 2017womankind-mag

 The information on ‘What’s important to You’ comes from the magazine  “Womankind” I recommend subscribing and reading it as a new year’s resolution.

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Let us review the year that is almost past using this Buddha quote as a guide.

How well did you loveend of year quotedid you take the time to invest in yourself in 2015?  Can you end this year feeling good about yourself? Have you taken the time to love yourself, or if that feels to overwhelming have you at least begun to understand yourself a little more? Did you take time to love those around you, the ones who truly matter? Have you spent time with family and friends, have you opened your heart and loved a little more deeply?

How well did you live – did you live an enjoyable year? Has 2015 been interesting, has it excited you. Or was it another year of “same/same”. There is nothing more deadening to the soul then drudgery, just going through the motions. Did you challenge yourself at least once through the year, stepped out of your safety zone? Did you discover a passion that lifted your spirits?

How well did you learn to let go – have you let go of old wounds, people that drag you down, have you let go of that habit that robs you of energy and steals your spirit? Have you at least thought about the things that don’t serve your well-being? Can you step into the New Year with the felling of growth?

If 2015 feels like there has been little to celebrate, but there have been changes, than that can be a good thing, but if it has been a year of tiredness and weariness, of just getting through each day then now is the time to set your intentions for 2016, and set them with the Buddha quote as your guide.

Set your 2016 Intentions;

How well did you love – let this be the year where you truly learn to put yourself first. 2016 the year of owning your life, making the decisions that best serve you, love those that love you back, that treat you well and with respect. Love what you do, what you eat, how you play, find a passion and dive into it with enthusiasm. Understand not every day can be a good day, but when there is self belief and self awareness you handle the not so good days as  challenges, not something to be feared.

How well did you live – 2016 will be the year you live for you, if situations you are in cannot be changed, then change you attitude, live with a positive attitude, with gratitude and see what a difference that can make. It is the year to step out of the comfort zone and challenge the drudgery of your life. Take control, discover your courage, and live to your destiny.

How well did you learn to let go – let go of ‘what serves you no more’ It is time to step away from the things that pull you back, drop the habits that deaden your spirit and let go of old wounds, let forgiveness be the goal.

Women –  A Message for 2016

In the year that is about to arrive, we are faced  with prospect of more fear, unrest, wars, devastation and any other negative things you can think of and so leaving us wondering what sort of year is ahead.

I believe the key is for women to connect to their core and to connect to all that life brings, that each of us as an individual can bring forth joy, peace, and happiness, then as a community and nation help lift the consciousness of our Earth. Within  each of us there is a light that can shine brighter than the darkest minds and souls out there. We only need to believe in our ability to do that.
Women hold the key, we’re not going to solve the problems of the world or our own problems the old ways, it is time to re-think where we stand. The ways of the warrior, of violence, they really don’t work, the masculine ways are past. It is time for women to open themselves to their power. Women need to welcome and live in their power, bring forth your feminine spirit, acknowledge your presence in the world, and as part of the world and use your energy to heal.

Feminine power is different to masculine power, feminine power doesn’t overpower, it allows things to be as they are without aggressiveness or showmanship. The feminine spirit needs to be nurtured and acknowledged though, women need to trust themselves  and to find their skills and power and to reflect this power to other women.
Within us all is the “Shadow Side” or the “Dark Feminine” by understanding this energy it can help balance our need for order and our sense of direction. We cannot cut ourselves off from it because it exists everywhere and if we continue to resist and deny it, this energy will continue to manifest in ourselves through cycles of self harm and isolation. Its power will bring sickness instead of nourishment.
Acknowledgement and acceptance of the dark energy within us can empower our abilities, it is a natural, creative and instinctual energy, an energy that we can access to heal our Earth and ourselves.
Sat Nam,
Have a wonderful healthy, happy and holy Christmas and 2016

Jill

A Message for 2015 Return to the Earth

Our soul is happier in nature, which is why we experience joy and peace in the outdoors. Most of our current problems derive from the fact we have lost contact with our soul. We have little left that is sacred in our lives. The mundane of daily life has swamped the deeper meaning of what we do. There is no sense of connection to the universe.

Ancient traditions and teachings show us that spirituality must be linked with the whole of nature to be authentic. Why, because ‘ we are one with all’. There is an underlying unity of human being and the universe, not merely material factors, but in terms of consciousness itself. Consciousness is not something we as human beings own. It is as universal as light, and some form of consciousness or feeling exists in all beings down to the rocks.

We must see the Sun as our Father, the Earth as our Mother,earth heart and all plants and animals as our sisters and brothers. We must recognise that whatever we look at also looks back at us with our own eyes, which are the eyes of our own soul and the eyes of God.

In 2015 let us connect to our roots. It is time to feel the Earth at our feet, become present and aware of the goodness and preciousness of all that we have in the world, before it is too late. Spirit dwells silently in all things – the Earth as a whole is alive, the core of the Mother is the metallic fire that holds the planet together. From the fire all things arise, the magnetic field arises and the Earth is born of the fire.

As the hunger for material wealth consumes the world, we have become separated and isolated, all caught up in political agendas and dogmatic religious beliefs, looking only outward for happiness and forgetting the needs of nature, animals and each other. It is time to step back into our primal roots and honour our planet.

Lets open our hearts and our minds, we need not fear for whatever we approach with consciousness will respond. The power is within each of us to make a difference, so in 2015 rise up to meet the ancients, re-connect with love and respect to our mother the Earth.

Sat Nam and Nameste.

 

Thailand visit 2014

It is almost time for me again to travel to Bangkok to immerse myself in Kundalini Yoga. This year I am going for 3 days of the festival, and then a part of level 2 training “Conscious Communication” I will fill you in when it is all over.

bangkok

Well the trip is over and I am back to work, days just pass by so quickly – which is why we need to slow down and be present, or every day just becomes a blur!

Anyway, the high-light  of my yoga adventure this year was a seven hour meditation! Strange things excite some of us I know. But the 108 repetitions of a special mantra is very soul-searching and rewarding.

The Destiny Meditation day was to repeat 108 times the Mul Mantra, the highest of mantras. To repeat this mantra and go into its depths is to be entranced by the depth of our own soul. The Mul Mantra was given to us by Guru Nanak, the first Sikh  guru who walked this earth in the fifteenth century. It is both a mantra and a sutra, it creates a sound which is a ladder of consciousness, a compass that points to God and open the door to destiny. It is a mantra that guides you to your true self.

To complete this mantra over almost seven hours was very special. Each line of the mantra was recited on one breath, which is why it took so long, we were taken through the experience very slowly and words were said precisely. I have continued to recite the mantra as a daily meditation – only for 11 minutes though.

The Yoga Selfie

Have you heard about the yoga selfie craze? Pure Health in Dublin has put together this interesting infographic to explain what it’s all about, including who has embraced it and why, and a checklist for how to create your own yoga selfie.

Just click on the image below for the full infographic (and zoom in to enlarge).

Yoga selfie

Spring

springOh yes, Spring is with us, well, not really until the equinox on the 22nd of September, but if we don’t live by the stars and the planets and the ways of the ancients, then Spring started five days ago.

What is Spring, well it is the new beginning the birth of warmth and the rejuvenation of life from the darkness and chill of winter. Spring brings with it the need to detox mind, body and spirit. It is the time to clean out the house, your wardrobe, give away what you don’t need and generally take stock of how much unnecessary ‘clutter’ we hold onto.

Clutter holds negative energy, it holds us to the past, it can definitely prevent you moving forward. The need to hold onto is the inability to detach. Detachment is a wonderful word – to detach frees the mind from unnecessary clutter, to detach frees the spirit so you can move forward much lighter and more focused, to detach means letting go. the letting go is very often the letting go of memories and  stories that serve you no more.

The ability to detach will provide peace of mind, and a path cleared of confusion, stale energy, and indecisiveness. Just imagine how much more you would enjoy the beauty of Spring if you are not held back and tied to things that no longer serve your greater good.

So, take the time and clear your clutter. The mind clutter – use journaling to free up the backlog of thoughts and negative stories you repeat over and over to yourself. Clear the house, any space you live, include cupboards, benches, and wardrobes – move forward with your life. Clear the spiritual clutter – assess  your values and goals, are you living by your values, or have you compromised your values to please others? Take back your power and clear your spiritual clutter.

Have fun doing all this, it brings a sense of lightness and freedom. From this you will spring through spring with a spring in your step. Oh, it is also a good time to change your toothbrush, and check your check-up diary for things like pap smears, breast check, dental, and skin check.

Have Fun and do yoga in spring to get you motivated to do all these things.

Sat Nam

Jill

 

Our journey is one of transition, we move, change, alter, learn, make mistakes and all with a varied degree of emotions and feelings. Some transitions are easy, some planned, and some unplanned and difficult. Most transition will involve growth as we recognise and deal with endings and beginnings.

Transition can be simple if we think of it in stages;
•    There is an end – we must let go of what was
•    There is new direction – be open and neutral
•    There is a beginning – be present and trust

Each step requires its own set of skills, and we will all develop our own style and ability to move through the transition steps. Our life experiences will dictate how we manage, some people embrace change and transition easily, others will experience anxiety and discomfort. With an ending comes an unknown and this is the difficult part for many people. Developing our awareness plays an important role, by simply having an awareness of how we cope in situations of change and transition will help.

Transition requires us to move on without “unfinished business”. If we move on with unfinished business there is a sense of being out of synch, disconnected. Much of our unfinished business is locked down in fear, grief, anger, and judgement.

We need to end clearly. Then our new direction will be open and neutral. Here we sit in stillness, this is where our meditation skills play a role, we take the time to listen to our intuition, let our intent become clear.

In the last step, we simply begin. We begin without grasping, let yourself settle and don’t feel rushed. feel guided, trust and let the new beginning grow from the heart.

Settle into the new transition. Accept what is, experience what you are experiencing and learn from this. This  becomes wisdom for the next transition. Each transition will be different from the last, but there is always lessons learnt each time and if we remain open and aware then each transition becomes an adventure to be embraced not feared.

We are all one

As we continue to progress through winter, we have the opportunity to explore our relationship to ourselves and to the world. Our ability to live in harmony with the elements can offer us a way of healing imbalances within the self.

The elements referred to here  are – Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire, the five elements which are manifestations of nature and a relationship between Heaven and Earth, and all things in between.

Our organs are affected and influenced by the climate: they manifest from within or have an external origin. They are; Wind, Damp, Cold, Dryness and Heat, these titles describe the energetic qualities of each:

Heat can be injurious to the Heart
Humidity and Damp to the Spleen
Cold to the Kidneys
Dryness to the Lungs
Wind to the Liver

Actual weather changes can exasperate or relieve specific conditions and sensitivity to weather changes can influence what is energetically happening in the body. Each climate influences particular functions in our bodies, it is therefore beneficial  to practice common sense and consider extreme conditions of any sort.

The laws of nature are working within ourselves and our world. As humans we are not separate from this planet, and the elements are not central to themselves – everything in our lives, the elements, the climates, and our bodies are inseparably interactive, each relies, accommodates and becomes the other and together they complete harmony and health for all as we are one with all.

Our energy is vital to our wellness, and the gathering point of this energy is our Core or Nabhi. (Nabhi refers to the nerve plexus around the navel point). This point connects us to Heaven and Earth, it is the point that keeps us stable. From this point our mind becomes present our thoughts are clarified and we experience the dynamic calm of being centered.

Our health is our responsibility, so even in the colder months, don’t lock yourself indoors, venture out and enjoy the brisk days, look at the night sky and see the moon and stars, they are much clearer in the winter. Keep your diet fresh and fulfilling with lots of warming soups (homemade of course) and exercise, remember your Yoga!!

Christmas has again come and gone and the New Year is almost a month old, already! Where does time go? Interesting to think about time as time, especially since we all live by it; but what is time and does it really exist?

Time itself,  goes no-where, it exists because we have decided we need to live ‘by the clock’. We have become ruled by time. Time shapes our days and our nights, we go to bed by the clock, and we wake by the clock, society demands it, life demands it. We cannot exist in this society without time.

Think of time in three aspects, past, present and future:

Past – a collection of memories, we cannot experience the past, only remember it. The interesting thing there is, we can only contact it in the present.

Future – again is a mental construct in the present. We cannot experience the future until it becomes the present, just as our only connection to the past is in the present.

Therefore all we have is the Present – the ever-changing Present.

Why is the present ever-changing? The moment you are in the present it becomes the past. We use time to help us cope with the ever-changing present. What we have to cope with is the Now and the ever-changing Now.

The present has no measurable duration of time – unlike the past which has measurable durations of time. The future we add our own perceived time-line e.g. one month, next year, tomorrow. The future is a projection of our needs. So for us, time does exist in our memories or in our anticipation of the future. We create time, and we have become slaves to time. We are locked into the tick of the clock our waking and sleeping hours are ruled by time.

Can we Change? Well, that may depend on how much you want, or need to change. The most we can hope to achieve in the world we live in and society’s needs is to be aware of each moment of the present. Be in the fleeting, changeable Now, Now is where life exists, the rest is a memory or a projection.

Stay in the Present, be mindful, gracious and giving, and time will treat you well.clock cycle of life

Sat Nam

Celebrations;christmas

Christmas and New Year are rolling around very fast, and it is the time to celebrate. It seems that even if we try not getting caught up in the “silly season”, we still do, to some degree.

Christmas is anything but a joyous time for some people. Family issues, unfinished business, unresolved events, and conflict will be opened up making events stressful and tiresome.

If your Christmas is free of conflict, but just generally busy and you spend more time than usual cooking, cleaning, shopping, entertaining or travelling here and there, this too takes a toll on your energy levels.

So, how do we make the Season to be jolly, happy, stress free and enjoyable?

The first thing is to communicate; let people know how you are feeling. There are some events that would be in your best interest to say “No” to.  Ask other family members to help with the cooking and cleaning. Be goal orientated, stay focused and do what needs to be done, there are some things you can let go of or ask others to do. Cook and freeze some dishes, that way a lot of the work is done. Keep diet light and satisfying, we all overeat at Christmas and New Year, make a decision this year to limit the food you cook, serve and eat.

Drink plenty of water, and be mindful of your intake of alcohol and coffee. So much of what we do at this time of year is all about common sense, each year we walk away and complain about eating too much or drinking too much. This can be avoided by simple mindfulness. Be mindful of what you are doing, you will enjoy yourself so much more, during and after the event.

Most of all, it is the “Season of Giving and Joy”, so love each moment, enjoy each moment of each day, embrace those who stress you and be grateful. We live in a beautiful, bountiful country, with freedom of choice, let us not forget those who have less, for those who have nothing, and do what we can to help. Each small donation means so much to so many.

At my work place this year, it was suggested instead of Secret Santa, we donate to a charity to help people in the aftermath of the typhoon. This was well received and soon spread to other work areas. A small thing we can all do, that helps many. Let us who have so much help those who have so little.

May your plans for Christmas and the New Year be as stress free as possible. Remember to breathe and do your morning sadhana practice, it really does make a difference.

In 2014 you can plan to enjoy your yoga more, open up new paths of growth, learn to see life as full of possibilities if we open our minds to positive affirmations and let the negative be lessons to a higher learning.