Madhu and I, (above), are offering horse-meditation come springtime! I can also come and share a horse yoga or horse meditation practice with you and your horse! (Book with me on the Contact page).
I used to use certain crystals to heal my energy for different energy misalignments I have experienced in the past. A horse is like a 1000-pound, living version of a crystal. When I complete a session with Madhu, I feel a deep state of bliss and connection, in yoga, this is called samadhi.
Horses are intrinsically compassionate, empathetic, 1000+ pound biofeedback creatures. They read our emotions like open books, which is a skill they’ve evolved to have to thrive in herds. Horses reflect our thoughts and emotions; bringing them to the surface, we become aware of what’s happening in our subconscious and can then process and heal it.
If you ride, you know how your energy affects your horse’s energy. When you show up in the saddle carrying the day’s stress, the ride usually just continues in that mood. With horse yoga or horse meditation, you will learn breathing and mindfulness techniques to center before you ride and stay relaxed and responsive when your horse tests you.
Here is an article about how healing horses are: https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/8710698
Look at the parts of you that hide in the shadows, the parts that you’ve tried to ignore. The darkness is there to teach you to love more fully.
Horses have a lot to teach meditation practioners. Main take-away lesson is to live simply, you get further with less. All you need is the ground beneath you, clean air to breathe, the remembrance that each one of us is taken care of, and the will to practice consistently.
Eco Yoga is a heart-felt asana class dedicated to serving our miraculous home, the only planet with life, in this crucial tipping point of climate change. Rainforests are massive carbon sinks, yet continuously they are burnt down to grow palm oil or raise cattle, returning the carbon back into the atmosphere. By stepping onto your mat, you fulfill your dharma to prevent another rainforest from burning; proceeds from each ten-class package are donated to prevent one metric ton from polluting our atmosphere and furthering our commitment to climate chaos. Eco Yoga is about connecting within and to Oneness, and realizing that Earth’s wellbeing translates to the wellbeing of one’s self. Dedicating your yoga to something higher than you empowers you as a channel for that higher energy. Eco Yoga transforms consciousness and karma as we start to see and treat the universe as an expansion of ourselves. The asana is creatively sequenced to challenge, with pranayama and options to play with arm balances and inversions. (Level 2-3)
This class is offered each Sunday at 10AM – 11:15 at the Pink House Studio on the intersection of Booth and Wright in Riverwest, Milwaukee, beginning April 30!
Murray and I each voluntarily taught 30 yoga classes and 30 meditation classes for the Bali Silent Retreat this past March that ranged from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. Many students were new to yoga and many did not speak English as their first langauge. Since it was a silent retreat, we were the only people they got to listen to each day, so we wove dharma talks into our classes to help them progress on their inward journey. A reoccurring theme I incorporated was oneness or connection that they have to all life and that each of their actions effects everything and all beings in some way.
Murray and I also maintained the “Bale,” or open air studio space, blessing the space with mantra or bhajans, sacred songs, sweeping the floor, sending blankets and mat towels to laundry, refilling mosquito lotion bottles and the holy water, so as to set a more sacred space with fewer mosquito bites.
In addition to teaching and maintaining the space, we also replaced faded signs and dyed 30 napkins yellow with tawas, which is hydrated potassium aluminum sulphate (I think?), and temulawak, a big tuber similar to turmeric (see photos below).
It feels rewarding to have offered 30 days of my time and skills to the Bali Silent Retreat, a utopic place that is almost entirely sustainable- solar energy illuminates all of the spaces and walking paths, most of the food is grown on site to feed the guests, and the founders are working to educate people on sustainability and trying to replace plastic bags with a plant-based material. It feels good to offer my service to those doing good work in service of humanity.
If you go to Bali and want to stay at an eco-friendly yoga and meditation silent ashram out in the rice paddies of Tabanan, check out balisilentretreat.com
Humans are conditioned to suffer; suffering seems normal and we just accept it as part of life. We continue destructive behaviors even after we’ve been shown the harm we are inflicting on ourselves and others. Once we see the harm we cause, we feel guilty and the cycle is complete, we’re suffering again.
Often the ego tricks us into believing we are the victim, when we’re perceiving from the center, it seems things are happening to us- watch out for this voice! In an early part of our journeys, victimhood holds some truth. We can fall victim to unconscious thinking and acting. Once we recognize that we are free to choose what we think and do, we free ourselves from suffering. Pain is there and will arise- how do we react? Do we complain, or with awareness realize it as a passing moment. It’s not immediate, but it’s a challenging process of recognizing thoughts and impulses as they arise and choosing – do I go with the impulse? Where does the impulse come from – my True Eternal Blissful Self or the false self? (Hint: the false self usually wants to keep us suffering – stuck in the illusion of self as center; the True Self wants to serve the center.)
There are three ingredients in the recipe for success for relieving suffering, according to Sri Prem Baba: svadhyaya, or self-study and the study of sacred texts, humility, and sadhana, or spiritual practice.
Svadhyaya allows us to discover ourselves – what is ego, or the false self, and what is our True Self? Notice your thoughts, daily patterns and choices this is your starting point. Sacred texts are helpful in describing the true self. Sat chit ananda, your true self is eternal, unchanging, blissful. My suggestions for useful texts: Light on Life by BKS Iyengar, Sri Swami Satchidanda’s commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Swami Vivekenanda’s Jnana Yoga. As you read these helpful texts, now observe yourself in light of the texts- what would Iyengar, Vivekenanda, or Satchidananda say?
Humility attracts wisdom, and pride or arrogance chases wisdom and divinity away. Humility also keeps us on our toes. When we’ve think we’ve gotten control of our senses and emotions, they can more easily sneak up on us. Pride also makes us feel like we know, so in a way it makes our cup full; humility is like an empty cup in which lessons from the divine can flow in and further fill us up.
Sadhana keeps stripping away the false self and brings us back to the present moment to check in with ourselves. Sadhana is like an internal cleanse, all day long we are collecting impressions, like a house gathering dust. Sadhana is our way of directing the impressions for a set amount of time in order to keep a cleaner house. Sadhana is making a conscious choice about what we’re doing and what we’re focusing on.
If you feel like you’re being used, it’s because you are. You are an instrument of the divine. Your voice, your actions, your deeds are all in service of the highest. What the highest is, or what is divine, that is up to your beliefs, only you know for yourself. All I can say is that you are powerful, especially if you recognize yourself as a channel or pathway of divinity.
In our time of feeling politically disenfranchised, in our time of feeling so small as individuals in face of climate disaster, in our time when we feel pitted against one another, as a yogi, as an instrument of divinity myself, as a teacher, a friend, a lover of you, I must say that you have the power of the universe, of nature, of God, of the divine on your side. We all do, it’s just that many forget. Even I can forget as I wallow in self pity over conflict.
What does the divine want? How can you serve this higher purpose? Well, you are divine. So what do you want? What are your goals? And then, what is your starting point? How can you connect where you are in this moment with where you want to be? What’s your first step? And then the second? Don’t worry about filling them all in, one step at a time.
Empower yourself and others by believing and seeing the highest in yourself and in them too. Finally, let yourself be used. It’s a lesson in humility for sure, so the ego will want to fight it. This is ishvara pranidhana, the last and most difficult of niyamas, or observances in our foundational yoga practices. Ishvara pranidhana is the surrendering of our small self to our highest Self, the Self that is in all other beings.