Reality is Your Mirror

Perhaps one of the chapters in Deepak Chopra’s Book of Secrets that delivers more insight is Chapter Two: The World Is in You. This section looks into one of science’s greatest frustrations; the fact that they cannot prove the existence of the material world we perceive. All they have managed to tap into are a series of impulses, electrical charges and chemical reactions orchestrating within our brain, and therefore, enough proof to shake the very basis of materialism. Because as Chopra states, “The only reason that rocks are solid is that the brain registers a flurry of electrical signals as touch. The only reason the sun shines is that the brain registers another flurry of electrical signals as sight” (Chopra, D., 2004).

In other words what we are currently perceiving as a screen is nothing else but an energy field vibrating at a certain frequency that our brain ends up decoding or perceiving in a certain specific way. At its core, it is far from being a plastic solid device that allows us to read or write words down.  

But what may seem to be a failure for neuroscientists and science as a whole is actually the core of spirituality. It is a wonderful truth that does not only allow us to see how we are the creators of our own reality but also, how intrinsically connected we are with one another. We seem to be not only fundamentally linked to other human beings, but to every living creature, every planet, every star and everything we see and even everything we do not see around us.   

Chopra calls this “one reality”, a truth that in previous past times was fully recognized and accepted by our ancestors and that was later replaced by a “dual reality” led by the ego to the point of nearly being forgotten. This dual reality is also known as “the pursuit of pleasure, the bondage of karma, and (if we resort to a religious vocabulary) the banishment from paradise” (Chopra, D., 2004). Rather than making us feel like a part of a magnificent silent intelligence, dual reality makes us feel segregated and alone instead. 

This chapter pushes us to recognize ourselves as co-creators of everything around us, including that of what happens to us. In brief, it opens us up to a set of new beliefs such as the following:

1. All of what I experience is a reflection of myself.

2. My life is a part of all other lives. 

3. I do not have the need to control anyone or anything except for myself.

Reference  
Chopra, D. The Book of Secrets. New York, Three Rivers Press, 2004. Print.

How to Use Healing Crystals

Life throws us off balance. Work brings stress, the future inspires anxiety, and we’re always worried about our families. Not to mention our health which seems to sabotage us at the worst times. Instead of downing over the counter medication, try one of the oldest methods of healing on the planet – crystals. 

Healing crystals date back at least 30,000 years. Amulets have always been prized by humankind, as archaeologists have discovered. Almost every ancient civilization used crystals for protection, healing, and decoration. These days, the use of healing crystals is still alive and well – even some celebrities praise their benefits! Every crystal has its own “powers” so to speak and can be used for different purposes. 

Below are some examples of common uses and which crystals are best for each.

Meditation
Enhance your meditation practice with a grounding stone to put you in the right frame of mind. The best stone for this purpose is a quartz crystal, which offers clarity and focus. “Program” your meditative intention into the stone by holding in your mind what you which to attract into your life. Think big picture; instead of saying something like “I want more money,” try “I attract abundance and will never know the meaning of scarcity.”

There is no right or wrong way to use stones in meditation, but the best ways are to hold them in your hands or lay them on your body, preferably against the skin.

Yoga Space
Many different crystals can be used to enhance your yoga practice. From the self-love inspiring rose quartz to black tourmaline’s composure building properties, and selenite for clarity, each stone’s purpose is to create an environment of positive energy that you can call upon and use during your asanas. 

Place crystals on or around your mat, or build an altar and practice in front of it. 

Carry With You
Sometimes, you need something to give you an extra feeling of support, or a reminder that you are strong. Healing crystals aren’t just good for their inherent qualities; they’re also wonderful reminders of the power within you. Find one that speaks to you and carry it with you in your purse, your car, or as a piece of jewelry.
To find the crystal that speaks to you, go into a shop that sells a variety and holds a few in your hand. You can get one for its properties alone, but it’s advisable to choose one that resonates with you and just seems right. You’ll know it when you feel it. 

In the Bath
What could be more luxurious than milk and rose bath with candles, soothing crystals, and Zen music? Cleanse your mind along with your body by placing crystals in or next to the bath. A few common choices are amethyst for stress relief, rose quartz for self-love, and hematite to inspire a state of calm. For an even more relaxing atmosphere, find some healing crystal candle holders and candles with essential oil. Aromatherapy to the max! 

After using your crystals, make sure you cleanse them. Crystals absorb a lot of energy, and after being inundated with a variety of different vibrations they need to be reset. There are quite a few cleansing methods you can use, from leaving them in salt water for 24 hours to smudging them, to set them out in the sunlight or moonlight. Whichever way you choose, you will need to set your intention once again after they have been cleansed of previous energy. Crystals may seem a little high on the “woo-woo” scale, but once you try them you will see why they’ve remained in use for so long!

The Best Bags for Yoga

What do you do when you don’t have enough hands to carry all of your yoga gear to class? A yogi’s purse may not be the best place to shove a rolled-up yoga mat, a couple of blocks, and all of the other items you like to use for class. Most yogis will eventually want to invest in a bag that can accommodate all of their yoga essentials.

Admittedly, you may not really need many items to head to the studio. A high-quality yoga mat and perhaps a strap are the only things that yogis truly find to be essential to their overall practice. Blocks are often provided by the yoga studio and other types of gear will be used based on your personal preferences.

However, if you have lots of odds and ends that enhance your yoga practice, these are some of the best bags to have.

Crossbody Sling Bag

A crossbody sling bag designed for yogis allows you to store your yoga mat and many of the accessories all in one place. One of the best features of having a crossbody bag for your yoga gear is the ability to redistribute the weight. This is great if you have a sensitive back or often feel off-balance when carrying bags over just one shoulder.

You may even be able to find a crossbody bag that is styled more like a tote than a yoga mat bag. The totes will allow you to toss all of your items in, which is convenient if you don’t require a lot of organization.


Large Yoga Mat Duffel Bag

A basic duffel bag may not cut it when it comes to carrying your yoga mat. Not many of the small to mid-size variations are going to be large enough to fit a yoga mat. They may be large enough to accommodate your odds and ends, but don’t you want something that could fit all of it neatly?

Many manufacturers specifically make bags to hold a yoga mat. In addition, you may want to search for ones that have extra pockets adorning the outside of the mat bag. This can help you to store your extra items like yoga socks and gloves, a non-slip towel, a water bottle, or a yoga strap.


Top-Loading Yoga Mat Bag

Is simplicity more your style when it comes to bags? A top-loading yoga mat bag is an excellent way to store your yoga gear after practice. All you have to do is roll the mat up neatly and slide it inside. The nature and structure of the bag can often help to keep it in shape, even for the long journey home.

Do you have a difficult time figuring out how to get your yoga gear out the door before class? Having the right yoga bag can make all the difference. You can choose from a highly-structured bag with lots of extra storage to something as simple as a mat sling for tossing your yoga mat right over your shoulder. Take some time to consider what style may make your next yoga class a little easier.

Plow Pose Tips, Pros & Cons

The plow pose works great when it comes to opening your back, neck, and shoulders. If you stay all day in a chair behind a desk, this is the perfect method to release tension from your tight body. Below, you will discover some useful tips that will help you perfect your plow pose. Also, we have gathered both pros and cons of this asana. 

 Provide Support for Your Shoulder

No matter how experienced you are, it is always a good idea to use some folded or rolled blankets beneath your shoulder area for a full support. However, you must place your neck and head off the blanket in order to prevent injuries due to a lot of pressure on your spine. 

 Focus on Your Breathing

You must breathe slowly and be in control during the entire pose. I know it can be challenging to breathe when you sit in this position especially if you are a larger-chested woman or you have very tight shoulders. Whatever you do, try not to give up. 

Don’t Stress too Much About Your Feet

If you don’t have enough experience and practice, you might not perform the plow pose perfectly from the first try. Just swing both legs over your head and touch the floor with your toe tips for a better support and balance. Don’t fret if you cannot reach down to the floor. Instead, you can use a chair and place your toes on it. This way, you will not have to go all the way down to the ground. 

Rotate Your Arms Externally

Theoretically, during the plow pose, your arms must be extended in the opposite direction of your rolled legs. Also, you should hold your palms together. However, if you find that position to be too challenging and if you feel like you’re losing your balance, you can always rest your arms by your torso’s sides. Furthermore, you can rotate your arm muscles externally. This will give you a solid and stable foundation. In other words, you will not risk rolling over or falling down from the pose. 

Advantages of the Plow Pose

Strengthens your spine muscles while also loosening any tension you might have in your upper back, neck, and shoulders areas

Provides an incredible sensation of calmness and relieves stress and anxiety

Fuels your energy level

Stimulates your throat chakra, which is also called the energy point of your body

Improves thyroid gland function

Strengthens your immunity system

Engages the abdominal muscles; this leads to a more balanced hormonal activity. This might also help those who suffer from diabetes.

Disadvantages of the Plow Pose

It puts the body in an awkward position which some people might find uncomfortable and too challenging.

There is a risk of overstretching your neck especially if you do it incorrectly. So, make sure not to pull your shoulders far away from your ears.

Unlike other yoga poses, the plow asana requires props such as blankets.

It is not suited for beginners.

Summing It Up

The plow pose will fold your body over your head, which offers a lot of health benefits. Your mind will calm down, and your spine muscles will stretch and strengthen. Be careful to do it the proper way so that you don’t put too much pressure on your neck or cervical spine.

Icons of the Yoga Fashion World

Every yogi needs their style inspiration! Dressing in our most comfortable and attractive clothes during a practice makes things fun and can also boost self-confidence. Here are 4 yoga instructors from across the globe, each with a unique take on yoga apparel for both comfort and style.

1.) B.K.S. Iyengar

This master yogi, born in India in 1918, is one of the most widely read and respected yoga teachers of the 20th and the 21st century. B.K.S. truly mastered the art of yoga during his time, and inspired thousands of students the world over.

What can we learn from B.K.S.’s apparel choices? Tradition and the basics. B.K.S. typically wore a traditional Indian dhoti for practice. A dhoti can be described as a long piece of fabric wrapped around the waist—it typically doesn’t cover more than the groin area. This style is characterized by minimalism and freedom, leaving most of the body unhindered by apparel.

2.) Bikram Choudhury

Another Indian master of yoga, Bikram is the founder of Bikram Yoga, or hot yoga as many Westerners know it. Bikram’s fashion style is definitely a riff on older masters such as B.K.S. Iyengar—for his classes, he typically wears no more than a pair of breathable yoga underwear.

While these styles are minimalist to be sure, there’s a lot to be learned from these masters. Especially for styles like Bikram, less really is more! Yoga is all about freeing our bodies and getting in touch with our physicality, and while practicing in the nude isn’t up everyone’s alley, paring down the amount of clothing you wear during practice can be a great option.

3.) Ali Kamenova

Ali Kamenova is an L.A. based teacher who instructs classes all over the world. Her style is characterized by bright colors, self-expression, and fun. Her wardrobe includes ankle bangles, American flag patterned leggings, colorful head scarves, and leg warmers.

Ali is a great inspiration for female yogis who want to look in the mirror and feel their unique selves reflected back. She doesn’t follow any rules when it comes to apparel, and a scroll through her Instagram page displays her love for all kinds of yoga apparel. She is great inspiration for the fun-loving, youthful yogis out there.

4.) Sianna Sherman

Finally, Sianna Sherman is a great inspiration for minimalist female yogis. She has a pretty basic approach to yoga apparel—you can typically find her wearing block colors, and she sticks to short-sleeved, loose-fitting tanks and snug leggings. For the yogi who doesn’t want to put too much thought into her looks, while still feeling confident and beautiful on the mat, Sianna is the icon for you.

What we wear on the mat makes such a difference in how we feel and experience yoga. Even more, it can make or break our self-confidence, especially for those who practice in front of the mirror. Find your inspiration—there’s no shame in splurging on makes you most content.

Stress Relieving Yoga

Many women are nowadays stressed out and filled with despair due to the so-called modern lifestyles. Women are called the “backbones” of families and manage the households efficiently and proficiently like well-oiled engines.

Let us tackle these challenges and learn what women can do to reduce dejection and emotional tantrums.

Yogic Meditation

Yoga meditation is just a simple way to connect with one’s soul in order to become smoother and more serene. A person like that is mostly more proficient, superior at her job, attractive and reliable.

Regular yogic meditation classes of at least 15 minutes each day will enable a woman to relieve all her stress, social problems and bring a massive emotional strength. It also helps them be aware of all the negativity of stressful thoughts, actions, and words.

Surya Namaskar and Fitness

Depression in women is an outcome of a detrimental mind and body. A practice of Surya Namaskar will help in bringing the mind into a tranquil condition. A whole Surya Namaskar should be done for at least 10-15 minutes to gain the utmost advantage of it.

Yoga aids in a positive approach chosen for healthy physical being and connects oneself to its source. You should be very particular about your apparels while performing asana (a set of postures). Clothes have become a necessary part which cannot be ignored. Do keep in mind the style of yoga you’ll be doing when you shop for yoga wear. For example, when it comes to Hot Yoga, shop for shorter bottoms and sleeveless upper wear.

Get the Right Fit

Comfort should be the major concern when picking out workout leggings for women. Avoid wearing stuff that is too big or revealing. Ladies should watch out for their tops that might look extra wide at the armpits. At the same time, don’t wear clothes that are too tight or off-putting. You should feel absolutely free to move through the positions of asana.

Shorts are favored so that you can see where your knees are in the right position to your feet and ankles. Most women prefer to wear tank tops made of cotton when they do yoga. Tank tops have a snug fit and thus help in soaking up the sweat more promptly and efficiently. Avoid loose tee shirts when doing yoga as they have a propensity to get in the way of movement, especially if they are not made of stretchable fabric.

Fitness wear is typically the best, as it’s designed especially for moving your whole body for stretching. Look for wicking fabric and styles that are form-fitting and comfy. Yoga pants, or stretchy (preferably black) athletic pants, can be found easily at any sporting goods store. One should wear comfortable clothes to perform yoga practice which will ultimately help in relieving stress, particularly for women.

Thus, yoga practice helps in building up a healthy body and relaxed mind. It is important for women who are leading hectic lives to have some time for them and look for yoga sessions which they can attend for their spiritual and physical well-being.

Let Backbends Open Your Heart

Spend most of your times hunched over your keyboard or looking down at your smartphone?

You’re not alone. The modern world demands us to do so. Whether it’s sitting at your desk, sweeping the floor, driving your car or folding your laundry, all of these are patterns that cause our backs to hunch over. We are so busy making a living, going places and filling up our responsibilities, that we oftentimes forget how having a hunched back affects us physically and emotionally.

The muscles across our shoulders and at the back of our neck are strained and this can most likely lead to back pain and headache. Taking deep breaths can be a challenge as the space surrounding the chest is compressed because the shoulders are rounded forward.

Emotionally, we tend naturally to protect the most important part of us, our heart. Having a hunchback suggests insecurities and a lack of trust within ourselves and the people who surround us. It hinders our emotions and our creativity.

Here are some incredible benefits of practicing backbends:

Backbends are called heart opener for a reason. It releases tensions both on the physical and spiritual body, opening more space on the chest, creating more room for emotions. Opening our hearts, exposing our most vulnerable organs and developing our courage, compassion and creativity.

Develop mobility of the spine. We spend most of our days stuck sitting, typing, doing what we have to do to survive. But what we don’t realize is how detrimental it is to our spine. By doing backbends, we counteract the hunchback effect these routines causes, developing its flexibility and mobility.

Posture is corrected. Stand taller. Practicing backbends develops awareness. We become mindful of how we align our back while getting through our day sitting or walking. Proper posture eases pain in the back and neck.

A simple dose of happiness. Doing backbends stretches the whole front of our body, stimulating the nervous system. It relieves stress, improves mood and boosts energy levels. It’s amazing how backbends can be like a natural energy shot!

Opens the heart. When threatened, we curl ourselves inward. Doing backbends feels like literally exposing your heart to risks. With practice, one learns to trust. Being vulnerable is a positive thing. It opens our hearts to emotions and experiences we fear, and allows our creativity to flow freely.

Keep it aligned!

For one to experience all these gifts, the posture has to be properly executed. We want to experience it all safely. So flow with good intention. Be mindful of your body. Approach with composure and stay focused on your breathing.

Make sure to prepare the body. Warm up before doing backbends. A solid foundation is the key to properly hold the posture. Never allow your knees to flare out. Use your inner thighs’ internal rotation. Imagine your inner thighs are rotating in and towards to the floor. This helps the lower back broaden and stops the sacrum from clenching. Lengthen your spine. Do not look upwards but straight ahead to avoid straining the back of the neck. Imagine your sternum is tied to a string and it’s pulling you up.

Remember, never force the body to do anything that hurts. Tune in with good intention and patience. With regular practice, backbends will come naturally. Be open to possibilities. And most importantly, have fun! If you like the look featured in the above image, you can find these workout clothes and compression pants here.