Pranayama

#FreeVideoFriday - Morning Ritual (4 Part Purification Pranayama)

#FreeVideoFriday - Morning Ritual (4 Part Purification Pranayama)

Hey y'all, it's #FreeVideoFriday time again! In keeping with our focus this week on our goal setting and achievement practices, I offer up for your viewing and practicing pleasure a free peek at something that's absolutely vital to staying focused and clear as we work on our goals: a morning ritual. That's why we love, love, love Sara Crawford's Morning Ritual - 4 Part Purification Pranayama. Check it out for yourself for free this week only, and thereafter it's available 24/7 on myMOJO.tv for members only. Enjoy!

3 Yoga Ups For When You're Down (Rebroadcast)

3 Yoga Ups For When You're Down (Rebroadcast)

What's your routine when you're down? We give a lot of attention to our everyday routines in building our ideal MOJO Life of greater health and happiness. Yet, how much thought have you ever given to what happens when you crash and burn? Whether due to illness, or a physiological condition, or a mental or emotional nosedive, we all go down from time to time. And I'd be willing to bet that you have a "down routine," meaning a set of comfort behaviors that you default to in a physical, mental, or emotional wreck. So, what is your down routine?

3 Yoga Ups For When You're Down

3 Yoga Ups For When You're Down

What's your routine when you're down? We give a lot of attention to our everyday routines in building our ideal MOJO Life of greater health and happiness. Yet, how much thought have you ever given to what happens when you crash and burn? Whether due to illness, or a physiological condition, or a mental or emotional nosedive, we all go down from time to time. And I'd be willing to bet that you have a "down routine," meaning a set of comfort behaviors that you default to in a physical, mental, or emotional wreck. So, what is your down routine?

Yogafy Your Life: Buff It Out

Sunday being my day of “rest” and lacking in swell of any sort left me putzing around the house armed with multicolored microfibers and an array of cleansers. Cleanliness is one of my most stubborn contradictions. I intensely appreciate a spotless home, yet always manage to think of any number of things I’d rather do when those magical tidying opportunities arise. Nevertheless, circumstances conspired on this day to keep me in the house donning my best Cinderella scrubs. Somewhere in my hustle I suddenly noticed them: the mirrors. They weren’t all horrendous, mind you. I do regularly buff out splashes and such on the bathroom mirror, so that one stays pretty fresh. But the others? Sheesh, how did they get that way?

You know how it goes. You walk by the things every day, multiple times a day, and maybe only give them a glance, if any attention at all. And on a glimpse they don’t look so bad. The grime builds up subtly, right under your nose. Then one day you decide to bust out your dusty old dusters only to encounter the kind of build up that calls for heavy duty reinforcements. You’re left drudging through a few passes with your mighty mirror polishers, rather than cruising through a swift and easy buff.

Buff It Out Body Image | SuccessWell, friends, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that, just like my bathroom mirror stays fresh with my regular attention, our personal development works the same way.  It doesn't matter if it's our yoga practice, our meditation, our exercise, our studies, our relationships, and on and on. All of our personal disciplines, all the things we work on to make us better human beings see so much more success when we give them a little effort every day rather than big chunks of attention irregularly.

Which is why it’s so important to set smart goals for ourselves. If you want to do more yoga, and think you can do 30 minutes every day - do 15. If you want to meditate every day and think you can do 20 minutes - do 10. If you want to start journaling every day, or do a gratitude exercise daily to help with your organization or your mindset, get something with structure (like the awesome Five Minute Journal) and put it by your bedside with a pen so it’s the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night. Shaping better human beings out of ourselves is possible…but not easy. Our resolve and commitment to ourselves is tested, day in and day out. Make it easier on yourself at every opportunity. Buff out your mirrors a just a little bit every day, and your vision will stay ever clear.

This week’s sneak peek into the MOJO Member Space hits that easy button with a quick Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) practice. If you aim to get yoga in every day, this is a crucial exercise to have in your arsenal. And remember, this free window into the MOJO Member Space is only open this week. So, if you like this practice, join us for 24/7 unlimited MOJO at your fingertips. Happy practicing!

Time Expired - Nadi Shodhana

NAMASTE!

Yogafy Your Life: Breathe

Even as popular as yoga has become, most folks still think of yoga as some esoteric, pretzel making thing that flexible people do. I can definitely see why it might look that way from the outside. Just look at the cover of most yoga magazines. Yet, the more time I have with yoga the more I see how little the physical practice matters in the grand scheme of things. Don't get me wrong here. The physical practice is crucial and alone can do astonishing things for people. Yet, I've known some people who are amazing asana practitioners and teachers, who are shockingly remedial at most other things in their lives. The yoga can definitely stop at the mat. Don't let that happen to you. What we know is a drop-3Perhaps you can come to see the physical practice of yoga as the gateway, one with a keypad lock that's unique to each of us. And it's up to us to figure out our code through the physical work, to unlock our tendencies and figure out what new tendencies we need to make ourselves better human beings. When we unlock our code, that gateway to our mind and spirit opens, revealing a world of possibilities...and work to do. The work is to integrate ourselves into one high-functioning, always cool, yogafied being. But, well, that takes awhile doesn't it?

The lifelong timeframe of yoga can be discouraging, especially when we're used to so much instant gratification in our daily lives. Yet, if we can shift our focus even slightly to the little victories on our path and rejoice in them, then our journey transforms from one of toil and struggle for a summit that never comes to a fantastic trip filled with wildflowers and butterflies. Yes, we might step in some poo or trip on a tree root here and there. But, we won't get bogged down so much when we see the beauty all around and celebrate every step taken, no matter how small.

One of the first elements of our code that we unlock when we get into practicing yoga is the breath. It happened for me that way, and I wish I had a dime for every student I've heard report the same. It happens like this: you get into "going to yoga class" or "doing yoga at home" and for a while yoga is just these poses and stretches and breathing you do on a mat. Other than feeling better in your body, you aren't really sure how yoga fits into the rest of your life. Then, one day, you're in a long line, or stuck in traffic, or somebody really pushes your pissy button, and you do it. You notice yourself getting impatient or upset, and you pause, and...take a deep yogic breath. That's it! You've just unlocked a huge part of the code that lets yoga into your whole life, into your whole being. That little moment, where you catch yourself reacting like a silly wild animal, and breathe to flip the script and choose a better way. That's the moment, my friend, that you start to yogafy your life.

You write your life story by the choices-2If only everyone in the world at least got to that stage, can you imagine what a better place the world might be? We could be exponentially better to each other and to ourselves. I got to use my yogic breathing both on people behaving nastily and on myself in the face of some of the worst pain I've experienced in my life this week (i.e. Portuguese man of war ain't no regular old jellyfish), and it made such a huge difference in the outcomes in both cases. Rather than allowing myself to get sucked down in the destructive side of emotional reactions, I could create some space in my head to evaluate my emotions and choose a productive response. And it started each time with my breath. Just breathe. Keep breathing... That is always and ever the mantra.

So I challenge you this week to breathe. Anytime you catch yourself listing or swinging wildly off your center, stop and take a deep breath. Follow it with another, and another, until you can see your emotions in a more rational light again. Then choose your actions wisely. If you can do this just once this week, that'll be a humongous victory! Celebrate it, rejoice in it, and reward yourself - seriously.

And to help you out with your stock of yogic breathing, I'm opening the window to one of our videos in the MOJO library by making it available here for you blog readers for a limited time. So there's no excuse this week to not get your practice in and be successful in your challenge. Go get your yogic breathing on, and get your mojo working!

Time Expired - Simple Yogic Breathing

NAMASTE!

Still Better Than A Root Canal

I'm gearing up to finally finish off some dental work I got started a couple of years ago. So I revisited my thoughts on such a thing at the time and find them helpful still. As you read, think about what fear you could face head on with some of the conscious breathing and relaxation you've learned through yoga. Share it with me in the comments, so I don't feel so all alone! :-) 

What's better than a root canal? Pretty much anything, right? At least, that's what I've always heard. So, last weekend I ventured out to the dentist only to hear him say something like, "Blah blah blah root canal, blah blah root canal blah." I'm sorry, what?! Are you actually saying I need a root canal? I came in to the dentist with a very tender molar. All my other teeth are fine. They're great, in fact. But this one molar...

I must interject here to give you a little background. When I was very young, it was discovered that I was one of a select few individuals who had an extra set of baby teeth. I actually only had extra front teeth; but still, that's pretty spectacular if you ask me. And don't go thinking that these were just any normal teeth. These were some seriously Cenozoic era tooth-like structures. I felt so special. Then came the verdict that these teeth must be extracted because, well, they're abnormal. So, in to the dentist's chair I went. The dentist I loved so much: he gave me vouchers for a milkshake at the Dairy Queen every time we got a checkup. When that jerk stuck me with that anesthetic needle, I commenced a crying scream that didn't stop until sometime on the long drive home, milkshake stop included. I was 5 years old.

So, it comes as no surprise then that still today I experience a deep-seated fear of dental work and dental pain. I'd say it's one of my worst fears. That's why I was pretty nervous going in to the dentist with that tender molar. But, I must say I never imagined I would hear the words root canal, much less get one.

Lately, I've been teaching a lot of conscious breathwork for anxiety, stress, and pain relief. Breathwork in general involves understanding the countless beneficial physiological and emotional effects of breathing well, and learning how to breathe more efficiently and effectively on a regular basis. We do breathwork all the time in yoga. In fact, I think it's no stretch to say that breathwork is really the foundation for yogic practices, just as it is the foundation of our physical survival. I haven't been to the dentist in so long, though, I've never had the presence or opportunity to use my breath in a situation like this that really puts it up against a great fear. So, I started breathing.

Believe it or not, the anesthetic was actually the worst part. This was only because a nerve got knicked at the end of the second shot that literally crossed my eyes for several minutes. But even after that, I practiced viloma pranayama for a bit and almost fell asleep, I got so relaxed. After getting a lot of numbing (2-3 times what the apparent average person gets for this procedure), I had only to deal with the psychological warfare of the sounds, smells, and vibrations of the root canal. Yes, I've heard of the people who get complicated and painful procedures like this done with no anesthetic, only breathwork to soothe them. I believe it's possible. I'm not one of them yet. I'm not even ready to try. I still think my dentist should give me milkshake vouchers (or more like smoothies these days).

So, what is better than a root canal? Breathing through a root canal, that's what. This breathing thing really is something. Because I chose to focus on breathing well, I now fear the dentist a little less, and I trust myself a little more. I just marvel at this work that I know will keep evolving over a lifetime. My study of yoga, with my breath at its foundation, is just a way to frame my larger study of my life. As we practice yoga, we all see parallels relating our journey as yoga practitioners to our journey as human beings on Earth, realizing at points that they are one and the same thing. We are all living beings with the need to breathe. Yoga just helps us see that union. So, breathe deeply.

NAMASTE!

Cool, Calm, Collected

We've been working a lot on ways to Yogafy Your Life lately here on the blog. And I'm giving it so much attention because I know how powerful the skills we learn from yoga can be in transforming and improving our day-to-day lives. I'm certainly feeling it, and I hope you are, too!

BUT, methinks it's high time for a little asana love on this here blog. So, I've whipped up a short little treat for you.