Yin & Yang Inspiration Spread dedicated to the Throat Chakra

Today the topic of our Yin & Yang Inspiration Spread is Communication, so I dedicated the spread to the Throat Chakra.

For the Yin Side we got the topics Freedom, living from moment to moment and to move with the flow.

Yin Side

The Yin Side is invited to open up for new adventures and experiences. It is important here to go with the flow and to stop to want to control these developments. Living from moment to moment and open the heart for new experiences, that also maybe could be totally different as one expected them to be.

For the Yang Side it is about their intuitive side.

Yang Side

The Yang Side which was focused on rational aspects until now are experiencing their intuitive side coming up. This is quite new for them and they are invited to trust their inner voice. Listen deep to your thoughts, emotions. A new vision of your life will arise that will lead you to full bliss.

We will do a short meditation today with a mudra for our throat chakra.

Mudra

The Garuda Mudra is also known as the Eagle Mudra and references to Garuda, a bird from the Hindu mythology with a mix of eagle and human features. Garuda is the vehicle of the God Vishnu, one of the most important gods and a member of the holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva). Garuda represents birth and heaven, and also the element air and fire.

The Garuda Mudra helps with Openness, Balance and Metabolism.

We will focus today on the following affirmation:

“I embrace the freedom and openness of my pure expression.”

Please sit down in a comfortable pose. This could be a tailor seat, knelling down on a blanket, sitting on a chair or a Lotus pose, everything is okay as long as it is comfortable for you.

Close your eyes.

Breathe in and out three times.

Focus on your belly and how it lifts up and down while you are breathing.

Feel the air that flows through your nose.

Now bring your left hand in front of the heart, your palms are facing in.

Now cross the back of your right hand behind the left palm, until your thumbs meet.

Interlace the thumbs.

Bring your hands up to the throat center.

Relax your shoulders.

Think about the sentence: I embrace the freedom and openness of my pure expression.

Breathe in and out deeply.

What are you feeling?

Stay here as long as you wish.

Open your eyes.

Namaste

Decks used:

  • Osho Zen Tarot
  • Moonology Oracle Cards
  • Magical Mermaids and Dolphins
  • Mudras for Awakening the Energy Body

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Yogateacher Training Weekend – Forward Bends, Seated Twists and Bhakti Yoga

This weekend I had my 7th Yogateacher training weekend. The focus of this weekend was on forward bends and seated twists. As a topic for philosophy we had a introduction into Bhakti Yoga and the Bhagavad Gita.

Friday evening we started with a blessing of the beginning of our now second year of our Yoga teacher training. Afterwards we had a soft yoga practice and short introduction into Bhakti Yoga.

On Saturday we started the day with a more intense yoga practice with focus on forward bends and seated twists. After a short breakfast break we did a session on didactics of these asanas and how to teach them.

These asanas we learned this weekend:

  • Dandasana
  • Janu Sirsasana
  • Baddha Konasana
  • Parivritta Janu Sirsasana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana
  • Upavistha Konasana
  • Ubaya Padangusthasana
  • Parivritta Sukhasana
  • Bharadvajasana
  • Vakrasana
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana

After lunch we were divided into groups and some of us had to teach specific asanas to the others. I had Baddha Konasana to teach and again it was a nice and very insightful experience to sit in front of a class and teaching it. I also learned quite much from the feedback the other students got.

After a short teabreak we closed the day with chanting mantras and a short group discussion about God and our religious beliefs. It was a very interesting and inspiring talk I had with my classmates.

On Sunday morning we started again with a more intense yoga practice that had focus on forward bends and seated twists.

After a short breakfast break we had a session on anatomy, common problems as backache, lumbago or herniated vertebral disk. We also had a look at how the pelvis and spine are connected to each other via the sacroiliac joint and what to pay attention to in specific asanas.

We closed the weekend with a introduction into the Bhagavad Gita and a meditation session.

As a preparation for the next weekend I have to read the Bhagavad Gita and to mark the sections I am agreeing with.

Again a very inspirational and instructive weekend. Feeling now a bit tired but very happy.

Yin & Yang Inspiration Spread with short meditation

The topic of our Yin & Yang Inspiration Spread today is to have faith in one’s dreams and true inner calling.

  • Have faith in your dreams
  • Select to choose (Wähle zu wählen)
  • These are the blessings that are touching me today

On the Yin side it is about having confidence in the dreams someone wants to pursue and to finally decide to go further on this path. It is also about allowing happiness and not to block oneself any longer with being satisfied with less.

Yang Side
  • It’s time to take action
  • I follow the path of calling with love (Ich folge mit Liebe meiner Berufung)
  • This is how I share the blessing of trust with those I need the most

On the Yang side it is about following one’s true calling and becoming active in this direction. It is about trusting that it is the right way and that there will be people on the way who are on one’s side.

Meditation

Today we will do a short meditation and Mudra for our Heart Chakra.

Sit down in a comfortable pose on a cushion, chair or blanket.

For example a tailor’s seat. When sitting on the chair, please bring both feet on the floor and do not cross your legs.
Close your eyes. Feel your feet on the floor.
Feel your bottom on the pillow, chair or blanket.
Feel your lower back, your middle and upper back.
Your shoulders. Your neck.
Your head.
Your chest, your stomach.

Breathe in and out deeply.
Now bring your hands to the height of your chest. The palms face the body.

Interlace your fingers from the right and left hand with the pinky fingers on the bottom. Extend your thumbs and index fingers upward.

Focus on your breath.

Think about this sentence: Unshakable confidence guides my journey forward.

Breathe in and out deeply.


When you are ready you can open your eyes.

Namaste

Decks used:

  • Mudras for Awakening the Energy body
  • Das Orakel der indischen Götter
  • Moonology Oracle Cards
  • Practice you daily awakening deck

Yin & Yang Inspiration Spread / Heart Chakra Meditation

Today the topic of our Yin & Yang Inspiration Spread is Warm Confidence. You can be sure that something greater will come soon, be open in your heart.

For the Yin Side it is about enjoying and celebrating the success that is already there or soon in their life.

Yin

The Yin Side is thankful (Deutsch: Dankbarkeit) for the luck and abundance. The Yin Side is allowed to be cheerful and happy about their achievements. For showing thankfulness they can practice Anjali Mudra in their Yoga Practice and being thankful for the blessings.

As a topic for the Yang Side we got showing ones emotions and to communicate with compassion.

Yang

The Yang Side is invited to show their emotions to their friends, family or other people and to communicate with them in a loving manner (Deutsch: Liebevolle Kommunikation). The Yang Side should start moving from experience to experiencing, in a sense not to collect experiences and instead to start enjoying the specific moment. It seems that the Yang Side also has some issues with Selfconfidence. They are invited to show their real feelings and thoughts more instead of having fear to be rejected for them.

Today we will practice a Mudra and a short meditation with focus on our Heart Chakra.

Mudra & Mantra

Sit down in a comfortable pose and bring your hands to Anjali Mudra in front of your heart, the palms of your hands are touching. Now keep the heels of your palms, your pinky fingers and your thumbs touching as you peel the palms of your hands, index, middle and ring fingers away from one another. Now your hands look like a blossom.

Close your eyes.

Breathe in and out deeply, 3 times.

Feel your feet on the floor, your legs, your bottom on the cushion, floor, mat or chair. Feel your belly and how it lifts up and down while you are breathing. Feel the backside of your spine, your shoulders, your neck and your head. Relax your tongue, your lips, your jaw.

Breathe in and out deeply, 3 times.

Focus on your heart and your hands in front of your heart. Imagine water that pours into the space between your hands and nourishes the flower. Imagine how the flower is shining and sparkling in the sunshine. All the nourishment is flowing into your heart and fulfilling you with joy, ease and abundance.

Refocus now on your body and breath. Breathe in and out deeply, 3 times.

Begin to move your hands and feet slightly.

When you are ready open your eyes.

Decks used:

  • The Healing Mantra Deck
  • Mudras for Awakening the Energy body
  • Osho Zen Tarot
  • Practice you daily awakening deck
  • Moonology Oracle Cards
  • Das Orakel der indischen Götter

Meditation Series – Book Review “Full Katastrophe Living” / “Gesund durch Meditation”

This is a personal review of the book “Full Katastrophe Living” / “Gesund durch Meditation” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a worldwide well-respected meditation teacher, he is founder of the stress reduction clinic in United States / Massachusetts and one of the few scientists who teaches in the mind and life institute founded by the Dalai Lama.

“Full Katastrophe Living” / “Gesund durch Meditation” is a standard work on the topic meditation. It gives a very understandable but at the same time very profound and detailed insight into the topic of meditation and a holistic picture of the connections with physical and mental issues as well as the way of living someone chooses.

Jon Kabat-Zinn describes his program of the stress reduction clinic, gives a guide how to do this by yourself at home and introduces the method of mindfulness meditation, bodyscan as well as specific asanas in various arrangements.

I really love the holistic approach of the book. Mindfulness, stress, the way of living, mental and physical illnesses are topics and it is shown very well in this book how they relate with each other and Jon Kabat-Zinn shows several options how meditation and yoga can help.

I really recommend this book to anyone who is interested in meditation and yoga or seeks for advice in stressful times.

Meditation Series – Meditation from my Yogateacher training based on the Vijñāna Bhairava

In my last Yogateacher Training we wrote a guided meditation based on the Vijñāna Bhairava. Today I want to share my meditation with you.

Wherever the mind delights, let your attention linger there (in the felt sense of that rapture). In any such experience, the true nature of supreme bliss may shine forth. 

Vijñāna Bhairava, Verse 74

Guided Meditation:

Lie down on your mat in Shavasana. Put a blanket under your head and a bolster under your knees. The blanket should touch your shoulders, choose the height of the blanket as high as it feels comfortable for you.

Position your legs hip-wide, your heels touch the mat or floor.

Place your arms next to you, leave a little bit space between your body and your arms, your palms are facing upwards.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath in and out, 3 times.

Go through your body and feel the contact points on the mat.

  • Your heels
  • Your knees on the bolster
  • Your bottom on the mat
  • Your lower back on the mat
  • Your middle / upper back on the mat
  • Your palms on the mat or floor
  • Your forearms
  • Your upper arms
  • Your shoulders on the mat
  • Your head on the blanket

Now concentrate on all contact points at once.

Take a deep breath in and out, 3 times.

Imagine a situation that has fulfilled you with joy.

Imagine the situation in your mind.

How did you feel?

Why did the situation fulfill you with so much joy?

Deepen your breath again, come back into your body on the mat.

How does your body feel now?

Move your feet and hands slowly.

Strech your body.

Lie down on your right side.

Open your eyes slowly.

When you’re ready come into a seat with Anjali mudra.

Om chant, 3 times

Namaste

🙏

Yogateacher Training Weekend – Sitting asanas, Vijñāna Bhairava, Writing a guided meditation

Last weekend I had my sixth Yogateacher Training Weekend from overall 14. The weekend had the focus on sitting asanas and the Vijñāna Bhairava. We started at Friday in the evening with yoga practice and meditation.

The yoga practice at Friday evening was soft and with focus on relaxation and sitting asanas. Afterwards we did 30min of meditation practice inspired by the Vijñāna Bhairava.

Following sitting asanas we focused on this weekend:

  • Vajrasana
  • Dandasana
  • Sukasana
  • Malasana
  • Baddha Konasana
  • Gomukhasana
  • Virasana
  • (Half) Lotus Pose

At Saturday and Sunday we were in a park. Due to Corona at my yoga school just 6 pupils are allowed in the room. Because of the good weather my teacher decided to do the training in nature. This was a very good idea.

At Saturday we started in the morning with a long and intense yoga practice. Afterwards we talked about anatomy especially regarding sitting asanas. After a lunch break we did a philosophical talk on the Vijñāna Bhairava. We were divided into groups and every group got questions which were discussed. One question was to develop a meditation based on the Vijñāna Bhairava. This question I liked the most and I decided to provide my meditation on the blog as part of my meditation series.

On Sunday we started again with a longer and intense yoga practice. After a short breakfast break we talked about the results we got in the groups on the Vijñāna Bhairava and a few had to guide their meditation to the group. So we had very different meditations, with music, with visualization and with focusing at the sky.

Really a lovely and interesting weekend.

Meditation Series – Book Review: How to meditate

The second book I want to write a personal review about is from Kathleen McDonald. She is a Tibetan Buddhist Nun who teaches in the Foundation of the Mahayana Tradition.

This is really a very good book which gives a overview about meditation in the Buddhist Mahayana tradition. The book is structured very well and has many different types and instructions of meditation practices.

The book answers e. g. following questions:

  • What is meditation and why should I meditate?
  • What are good meditation postures?
  • What are common problems in meditation practice?
  • What advices are there for a meditation practice.
  • Which different types of meditation are there?

The different techniques are categorized into following styles by Kathleen McDonald:

  • Breathing meditation
  • Analytical meditation
  • Visualization meditation

Breathing meditation is focused on mindfulness, the object of the concentration is the own breath. This is a very good starting point. The analytical meditation starts with a few minutes of breathing meditation and then the analysis of a subject starts. This could be about appreciation, love or dealing with negative energies e.g. anger. In the visualization meditations you also start with breathing meditation and then visualize certain topics e.g. a sphere of light over your head or negative energies that are leaving your body and dissappear. Kathleen McDonald also presents devotional practices as prayers or whole ceremonies.

Really a recommendable read especially when you are interested in Buddhism.

Meditation Series – Book Review: Communication with the Self. The SOM Program.

This is the first blog post on my personal thoughts and reviews on books about meditation. The first book I will review is from Shri Balaji També, a ayurvedic expert who is also researching on the healing effects of mantras and music. I also found out reading the book that there is a ayurvedic center of him not that far away from my hometown.

So what I really like about this book is that També connects the topic meditation with his knowledge on ayurveda, Sanskrit and music. The book also contains a CD with guided meditations for the morning, evening and music. Also a special Asana and Pranayama Practice is described in the book. This is the so called SOM Program.

So the book isn’t just on meditation, it also provides a overview on meditation, asana and Sanskrit. Also philosophical topics from the Vedas or Patanjali are contained in the book.

This book is therefore suitable if you are looking for a holistic approach. It isn’t providing introduction into mindfulness meditation where you e. g. focus on your breath and body sensation. També describes techniques as recitating Sanskrit, Trataka (staring into a flame, technique is described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika) and Yoga Nidra.

So I would say this is a very good reading for anyone with a interest in meditation, ayurveda and philosophy and anyone who is looking for a daily program that contains meditation, asana and pranayama.

Yogateacher Training – Experiences and diary of my retreat at home

From Saturday last week until Wednesday I had my first Retreat of my Yogateacher training. Because of Corona the retreat was at home via YouTube Streams. I was very curious making this experience and my expectations were exceeded. I have learned so much in these 5 days. The daily schedule was as following:

  • 09:00 until 09:30: Morning Meditation
  • 10:00 until 12:00: Asana Practice
  • 15:00 until 17:00: Asana and Pranayama Practice
  • 17:30 until 18:00: Evening Meditation

Meditation: Here we did mindfulness meditation for round about 20 to 30 minutes. Step by step we refined the perception from the focus on the body and the breathing in the abdomen towards to the focus on the breathing stream in the nose and between nose and upper lip.

Asana Practice: Here we did a huge selection of Asanas and three different variants of Sun Salutations. Classic Asanas were enriched by multiple variations.

Asana & Pranayama Practice: The afternoon asanas were designed to soothe and make room for the breath. As Pranayama techniques we did Abdominal breathing, Full Yogic Breath, Ujjayi and Alternate nostril breathing.

During the Retreat I wrote a diary to record my observations and feelings. Here you can find my entries:

1.Day

It took some time for me to relax and get fully involved in the retreat. circulatory problems during the asana practice, very strong thirst, getting less air during Full Yogic breathing than during abdominal breathing. In the evening very tired, 1h sleep directly after the evening meditation, went to bed early.

2.Day

In the dancer pose I found the right side much easier than the left. In crow pose it helps me to stand on blocks. circulatory problems, strong thirst. Transitions into Warrior 1 and 2 are still difficult within the new Sun Salutation variations, came well into pigeon pose. Less air comes into the right nostril than into the left, fitter and less tired than yesterday.

3. Day

During meditation I did not feel the exhalation through the nose at the beginning but the perception became better and finer from minute to minute, I managed the crow pose very well today, circulatory problems in the sun salutation, Ujjayi breathing is difficult when inhaling, Full Yogic breathing while laying on the mat is easier than in sitting, strong thirst, perception in meditation has further refined, slight exhaustion in the afternoon.

4.Day

Tired in the morning, crow pose worked again very well, I needed no belt for Janu Sirsasana today, Ujjayi difficult while breathing in, strong thirst, notice that I am exhausted, so many new impressions.

5.Day (just until 12:00, no afternoon program)

Tired in the morning, pranayama techniques are significantly easier than yesterday, new sun salutations now go more smoothly.

Even though it was physically and energetically exhausting I am very happy to have made that experience. Within a very short time I did not need any more tools for certain asana and also the perception in mediation and pranayama increased very quickly. Motivation for more yoga, but not 5 hours per day. Will try to do daily for 30min, perhaps longer sessions on the weekends.

Namaste.