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Jul 4, 2012

Making the first small steps to a regular Wellness routine can be like climbing mountains for some people. But good habits build up good health – essential if you've been on the path to healing from negative emotions (especially other people's!) and the damaging effects they can wreak in your life. Also extremely essential if you're in remission from cancer or if you think you might be at risk from cancer, diabetes or any serious, stress related illness.

Deep care of the mind is the perfect powerful balancer and harmoniser for our systems and spirits.With a yogic, holistic approach it is healing with the mind that heals the body and emotions. Here are a few simple ways to relax, nourish and care for your mind.



Cultivate the habit of smiling
Learn to do it, so that even when you don't feel like smiling, you can.  Smiling relaxes the facial muscles and the brain.  Smiling also tricks the brain into thinking it is happy as your expression sends messages back to it. I teach this in Yoga class as “your deep, inner Yoga smile”.

The “mundane mind” (manomaya kosha) relaxes, giving you time out for a little rest and refreshment.  You are then more able to be with the peaceful, wise part of your mind.

 

Enjoy the Tea habit.
The ancient way of tea drinking, taking time out for tea in the afternoon, is a method of destressing the mind and taking time for appreciation of the Yoga values of purity, tranquillity, harmony and gratitude.

Make yourself a cup of herbal tea: green tea is wonderful for the mind.  It is amazingly beneficial for focus and concentration. Green tea also melts belly fat, so if you're overweight or diabetic this is a must. Use the same, old cup for your tea drinking ritual in the Zen way. Sit in the same spot to drink it at a regular time and allow yourself to be at peace as you take a break from the world.

 

Learn How to Gaze.
This is one of the simplest ways to meditate with Yoga: it's the ancient skill of
trataka, and we practice this in it's simplest form by candle gazing.

Meditation and relaxation directly positively affect our body's natural killer cells, have a beneficial affect on diabetes and, most powerfully, on Melatonin production. Neuroscientist Ranjie Singh has produced astounding research into the cancer-arresting properties of Melatonin.

Sit, light your candle and gaze at the flame whilst breathing evenly and deeply, and do this regularly, say 10 minutes a day. Oh, and by the way, kids just love this – I've been teaching it in my kids' yoga classes for years, we make a game by looking for the rainbow's colours in the flame.



Namaste, enjoy!

Susan

And by the way, if you would like to take your first steps on the healing path, there is a simple, free-to-download “gazing” meditation on the website here: Gaze.



Susan Ni Rahilly is founder of www.suzenyoga.com: Spirituality, Understanding, Zen, Energy and Nutrition through dedication to Yoga practice.

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Posted: Jul 4, 2012 1:00am
May 31, 2012

Zenity” is my term for the beneficial effects that a zen practice and a regular routine have on us. So, sanity by zen. Living simply and in the moment becomes the daily ordering principle which brings not only a peaceful tranquil mind, but also the tremendous joy of being able to bring the sacred into life on a daily basis. Sounds more than sane to me.

Our Zen Sangha met here this weekend – “here” is Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland. We had been chatting over tea, as usual after our sit, and the conversation once more turned to “Beginner's Mind” a constant topic for us. I've been reading You Have to Say Something Dainin Katagiri's book over the last year or so, and the consensus of opinion was that Master Katagiri talks so well with the beginner in mind, about daily routine.

In living with Zen, and with a regular practice, we're acknowledging and respecting our innate Buddha mind, our individual Buddha hearts and of course our own Buddha nature. So the essence of our life becomes in regularly placing ourselves in a silent, simple place of harmonising with humanity.

So, the daily routine, here is the essence of what Katagiri says: “Getting up is only a tiny activity. It is not unusual – everyone does it. Although there is nothing outstanding about it, the goldenness of the earth is found in just such activities in everyday life. But instead of attending to such details, we form habitual ways of behaviour by attending to our desires. This is no way to live. We will never satisfy ourselves through such means. If you really want to please yourself, just forget your longing and attend to your daily life. In this we find goldenness.

Taking hold of the tiller of the boat of life, grabbing an oar, is called living in vow – aspiring to awaken each moment. To live in vow is to take care of all the little details of life. Like getting up in the morning. When it is time to get up, just get up. Free your mind from the thinking about having to get up. This is the way to enter the doors of a golden, peaceful world.”

I have precis'd the above but in essence what Katagiri was referring to is a saying of Dogen Zenjo, the founder of the Soto Zen school in Japan: “the wind of Buddhism makes manifest the great Earth's goldenness, and makes ripen the sweet milk of the long rivers.”

Dogen likened life to riding in a boat. Most people just ride the boat of the universe, but this is actually just drifting. And in order to sail across the ocean of human life, we must see the earth as golden and taste the rivers as sweet milk.

So much of Zen is simply beautiful and sweetly poetic.

And the beautiful simplicity of a regular practice, which gives the ordering principle daily to your life, is that we get the space and time to unify opposites: the boring mundanity of much of daily life is brought together with the sweetness and freedom of breathing. Our internal qualities as human beings can be brought together in practice, so for example, emotional strength and also emotional ease that comes with regularity.

And here's a final word from Katagiri on practice: “When you sit in zazen. Just sit. But you sit and how many thoughts, and emotions, memories, physical sensations appear from moment to moment and sit with you? Yet this moment is very simple. So why not take care of it with all your heart? To live our lives simply from moment to moment is zazen . . . the essence of zen. The manifestation of ultimate Reality.”

Susan's note; Source: You Have to Say Something – Manifesting Zen Insight - Dainin Katagiri www.shambhala.com

And you might like to start establishing a daily sitting practice with a free download “Sit” here on the website.

Namaste, Susan

Founder of www.suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation). She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.

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Posted: May 31, 2012 1:07am
May 23, 2012




I'm revisiting a book I published 12 years ago, a wellness book for women, with a view to a re-write and a re-publish. It was such a positive book, and it's a pleasure to read to myself now how important my intentions were at that time. Here's an extract:




You have to know exactly where you are right now – what you are changing. So that’s why I ask you to start becoming aware of what is wrong and what you are going to change, in what order and when. You can’t change anything without being aware what you are changing.



You need a clear picture so you can change that picture. Then, when you can see clearly what is ahead of you, and what it is going to entail,  you can start making some informed decisions about how to start. Once you have started you will take control . . . You’ll know what to expect, because I’ve told you. You can start thinking about how as you change, other things around you will change – and how do you feel about that ?



As you change you will be aware of what you are leaving behind and why: and how do you feel about that? Which means that there’s an emotional process you are going through too . . .”



So, obviously this was a book about improving wellness through lifestyle changes, using intention for a more balanced self. And the steps for balancing our physical being are the same steps we take for any intention to bring harmony. What are you starting with, what is your intention, how are you going to plant the seed and make it grow, what are you going to experience on the way: how does your change affect other changes?



What do I think now? 12 years down the road, I can see what my intentions have brought about. And my experiences have brought an amazing knowledge. The Universe is continually creating by manifesting an infinite number of possibilities at any given moment: in the “gestalt”, the story of the whole Universe in the moment. And to do this it relies on synchronicity to bring order out of chaos.


When we create an intention, for our life, our practice, anything, we are affiriming that our individual intentions are part of this great big scheme of things – we're part of the whole, our minds are part of the universal mind. Our  individual intentions are important in the amazing process of synchronicity – our change makes other change.



We are part of this great creative process with the Divine intelligence, and how intelligent exactly, leaves me in awe. Part of our mind, in our psyche, is engaged in the spontaneous ordering, or creative process, and it took me years to learn this and experience it as I understood my own creative process as a writer and teacher.


What helps the process is trust. And what hinders it is our mis-placed sense of the importance of our small illusions about our lives.



In Yoga we know that our hearts are always in silent communication with the Divine, and especially in Meditation we know that our minds are continually linked to the Universal mind, through Bindu Chakra (back of the head), both sending and receiving information to the Universe. How absolutely miraculous we are as human beings, how potentially Divine we all are.



Once we've understood, usually through practice or some process of change as we make our way along the path of life, that there is a part of our mind that is about experience versus illusion, then we are open to the understanding that the Divine Intelligence is basically just waiting for us to “call home”. And we do this by intention. Right now, many, many of us are sending our intentions out to the Universe, calling home for some harmony for humanity.



So how can you start this process and practice of harmonising your thoughts, by calling on your power of intention?



You can start by taking time out for contemplation, taking regular time to look deep within. You will find inner beauties and love you may have overlooked or fogotten about. A simple intention for harmony for humanity could be one of the Zen noble truths: May all beings know happiness.



Spend time appreciating beauty and inspiration and music. These all raise our vibrations because they take us momentarily to a Divine, sacred place . . . and then return us to our normality, bringing that sense of the sacred back with us into daily life, leaving us somehow changed for ever for the better.



There was a lovely, still and almost quiet moment at lunch the other day in what is normally a busy lunchtime Irish bar. Myself, another woman and an old feller sat at separate tables. It was like a “movie moment” as we listened to the Phil Collins track we became aware was playing: Against All Odds. As it ended, we were all in a private, personal space and the old feller wiped away a tear. Songs can provide special messages just for you. A very simple intention for harmony for all of humanity could be: May all beings know peace.



I'll leave with a quote from man to whom harmony in the Universe was of prime importance, something Albert Einstein said with great beauty and lucidity:



The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the sower of all true art and science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself with the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness and art.”



Namaste, Susan



And as inspiration helps with inner harmony, you might like this: a demo download on my website as I haven't managed to check out the copyright on using Pablo Neruda's poetry (so it's free in other words!).
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Posted: May 23, 2012 9:50am
May 6, 2012

25 years ago I bought an expensive leg cream – one of the really good quality, big name French manufacturers. I read the leaflet about using the cream, massaging it in, how often to do it etc. I was totally surprised to read that the instructions told me that if I was on a reducing diet and toning up programme (which I was) I should get plenty of rest.

Rest? To get rid of my thighs? This was revolutionary news to me.

I was used to meditating, doing relaxation for visualization – but putting my feet up? I couldn’t figure out the reason for lying around doing nothing, surely that would pile the inches on?

Well, I’ve come a long way since then on the journey, and thankfully my awareness about my body has come a long way too. And generally there's been an overall raising in women’s knowledge about our health, mindbodies and lifestyles. So, this is what I found out and what I know now and what I’m passing on to you about rest and relaxation.

As simply as I can possibly say it, rest and relaxation are needed for 2 very important reasons.

Firstly, when you're detoxing or destressing your body is doing it’s job of clearing out old rubbish, it is working hard. If you don’t rest enough while this is going on, you are putting your body under tremendous strain and expecting it to do too much at once: using what little energy you will have at this time both to keep your body going in activity and to clear out. It’s like expecting your washing machine to wash and spin at the same time: two different jobs.

Secondly, and very importantly, you need to rest so that your body can use it’s energy for cell renewal. And where this is concerned, time is the great healer especially as we get older when the rate of cell renewal slows down. So we need to give our bodies the best chance to make new cells, to rejuvenate itself.

Along with rest and relaxation comes rejuvenation.

You get new, young, healthy cells to replace damaged, toxic, fat-laden old cells. Does that sound like a good enough reason to rest?

So how do you get it?

When you start any detox plan, you will need to start on a couple of days when little energy is required because you won’t have any! The best thing you can possibly do is to plan to have an afternoon nap if you can. If you can’t, then try and cat-nap, or at least stay in bed a little longer in the morning and go to bed a bit earlier at night. I’ve got into the habit of “coming down” after 8.00 pm – switching everything off, lighting candles, calming the mood, sitting down and fire gazing for an hour.

The good news about relaxation is that it is cumulative – you can build it up. Once you learn how, you can keep building on the techniques you use, and you’ll learn to like it so much, you won’t want your peace disturbed by anything or anyone!

There are plenty of relaxation supports on the market now, there are plenty of videos, books and free downloads giving relaxation techniques which you can read and adapt for yourself.

One of the best ways of using relaxation is visualization, which is a powerful tool for changing ourselves. Using the images in our mind’s eye, we can learn about ourselves and move ourselves on in our lives. I’m not going to give any techniques here other than a couple of simple ones because I think you will learn more if you investigate and experiment yourself, buying books, joining classes, developing a home practice. There's a short free download Relax on my website.

Personally, I’ve used visualization to see myself as the person with the image I’d like to have and watched myself turn into this person. There's a wonderful saying; your soul sets up a picture in front of you so you can step into it! It’s very powerful – and the key to visualization is relaxation, as your conscious mind must be relaxed.

When my skin had become dull and tired and lacking in elasticity a couple of years ago it responded well to rest and relaxation, which allowed my body to use energy for cell healing and regeneration. The visualization I used then was based on the image of the sun’s golden healing light.

For this visualisation, I imagined that all that golden, warming light energy of the sun was filling up each individual cell of my body. I ‘watched’ in my mind’s eye as the golden light washed slowly down my skin from head to toe. (The visualization of the sun’s light helps the pituitary gland deep within the brain to stimulate cell renewal and therefore skin renewal.)

Learn about relaxation. And yes, it is something some of us have to learn. I did. So, some of the golden rules for relaxation and rest are:

  1. Don’t use anything stimulating late in the day – caffeine, tobacco, loud music, horror films.

  2. Make your bedroom restful – take the tv out so you’re not watching upsetting world news late at night.

  3. Make your environment peaceful, with mood lighting, candles, burning oil and incense, restful colours, soothing music.

  4. Build relaxing herb teas, warm baths and soothing massage oils into your routine.

  5. Give yourself space to relax.

Your body has a power of its own – a natural power for healing. And you need rest and relaxation to tap into the power.

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Posted: May 6, 2012 11:19am
Mar 30, 2012

An Approach to Weight Maintenance with Yoga and Ayurveda
by Susan Ni Rahilly for www.suzenyoga.com Living With Yoga

In Yoga, we are concerned with the health and vitality of the whole person, bodymind and the spirit. We're making the bodymind a more comfortable place for the spirit to dwell.  Maintaining a healthy weight is vital for enjoying life (and living as long as you can to enjoy it)! And vitality and joy for life is what this wonderful ancient system for living gives us.

Being in a regular Yoga Practice usually has the benefit of naturally maintaining a healthy body-weight. For the obvious reasons of  physical benefits of the postures of Yogasana: not only the toning and strengthening of muscles, or the “fat draining” properties of the twist postures, but also the metabolism regulating of inversions (shoulderstands especially) and the internal organ toning and nourishing of the Surya Namaskara sequences (Sun Salutations). A regular practice of Hatha Yoga brings the balance we need, between the dynamic and passive nature of our energy; and in the more passive states that we attain during practice, then the mind and emotions are given the chance for clearing and detoxifying on a regular basis. And this is so, so important in maintaining balance to your whole system as a human being.  I always think we get rid of more “rubbish” from our systems during the practice of passive poses, deep breathwork in Pranayama, stillness in Meditation and the deep rest of Savasana, or deep relaxation.

Whenever I'm asked which postures are best for weight loss. I always answer: “That's not how I teach. I only teach the whole of Yoga.”  We never do anything in isolation in Yoga – and everything we do is about discovering more, more about our bodies, more about our minds and spirits, more about ourselves. You, as a whole person, are a process to be continually rediscovered!

More, below, about the Yogasana part of this approach to healthy weight maintenance. But now, lets add some Ayurveda (the wisdom or knowledge of life) to our daily routine.  Two very simple tips from this ancient art/science of healing the body are incredibly powerful in detoxifying on a regular basis and regulating/strengthening.  First, have a Sesame Oil “mouthwash” first thing in the morning; and second, after your morning Yoga Practice – see below – take one teaspoonful of organic Turmeric powder with one teaspoonful of honey in half a cup of hot water (I always add a drop of cold water to it's not scalding to drink this mixture).

Here's why:  the Sesame Oil flushes away toxins that have built up in tissue over the last 24 hours, and one of the easiest ways to cleanse them out is from the tissues of the mouth – gums, mouthskin, tongue. You take about a tablespoonful into the mouth and move it around, swishing between the teeth for a few minutes – until the oil changes colour and becomes more opaque. Spit the oil out into the washbasin and rinse your mouth.

The Turmeric is one of Nature's most powerful metabolism regulators – to bring balance for optimum body-weight – and it is an amazing immune-system strengthener, about 5 times stronger than Vitamin C. I have to be honest and say that the morning mixture of Turmeric, Honey and water isn't the most pleasant thing in the world to drink, but you do get used to it. And you'll soon love what it does for you!  Also, make sure the Turmeric is organic otherwise you are wasting your time.

Next, there is absolutely no doubt that belly fat is dangerous – there is overwhelming evidence now to show us that this is the most destructive type of fat to have building up in your body around your internal organs. And one of the easiest ways to “melt” it, is:  drink Green Tea!  Simple. Drink at least 3 cups of Green Tea daily. (And of course there are lots of other benefits to drinking this wonderful tea.)

So now, on a daily basis, this is a simple Practice routine:  Start your day with Surya Namaskara, Sun Salutations, to warm the body up, stretch and wake up, and tone up your internal organs – bringing them to “life” for the day by increasing blood flow and prana. And for this version we're going to add a shoulderstand for the metabolism regulating benefits and weight maintenance.

Taking two rounds of the practice, leading first with the right side of the body and on the second round with the left. As you are coming towards the end of the practice round, both feet at the front of the mat prior to coming into Tadhasana, Mountain or Standing Posture: as you come from the lunge position, bringing the back foot to meet the foot at the front of the mat, go straight down into a squat. Now, take the butt down to the mat behind you, onto the sitting bones, raise the feet, cross the ankles and take a firm grip with the hands on the feet. Go into a sitting bone balance for a couple of breaths.

Okay, now we're going to roll back on the mat, rolling the spine on the mat in Spinal Rocking:  back and forwards a few times to gain momentum, tonifying the spine.  Next time you rock back, roll right onto your shoulders and use the momentum to go into shoulderstand. We are aiming to increase the time spent in this asana gradually until you can manage 2 minutes.  This is the optimum time for metabolism regulation – and your chin needs to be tucked firmly into the throat chakra, which massages this energy centre.  Coming down out of the posture gently, bend the knees, bringing them in the direction of the forehead and rock forwards, come onto your butt, then onto the soles of the feet into a squat and from there either come up into a forward bend, or you can curl gently up to standing: into the standing posture and complete your Surya Namaskara round.

Exercise-wise, you'll benefit from a regular daily walk as well, for the Prana flow and the positive effects on the mind and the moods.

In the evening, spend 5 minutes or so in one of the passive or restorative Yogasanas – a simple, supported forward bend for example, or the Great Rejuvenator with your feet up against the wall. Simply resting and breathing and letting the mental and emotional rubbish from the day just ease away as you breathe. Your mind and your emotions will thank you for this simple practice.

Well now, once you've got used to adding a few simple things to your daily routine, let's think about taking out a few harmful things as and when you're ready to.  First, for a healthy weight and a healthy bodystate you just have to cut down on harmful fats – especially dairy-fat.  So, if you're cooking in butter or a heavy fat like ghee, you just have to stop.  Simple as that, these fats are killers.  Second, cut wheat out of your diet: and you might have to do this gradually. The Gluten from wheat now in our modern world is just toxic to your system as it is a glue which binds rubbish together in your system, making it hard to eliminate. Third, get rid of sugar. Sugar is one of the modern day killers – responsible for rapid ageing and disease. Again, come off sugar gradually as it's a hard habit to break. You replace refined and processed sugar with fruits and vegetables in your diet, especially dark leafy greens.

Allow yourself a little time everyday for this wonderful bodymind system of Yoga and Ayurveda to work it's magic, and by giving a little you will gain so much.  Treat yourself well, tell yourself you are perfect and you will soon be the shining self you are here to be!

(The picture is Realization by Elena Ray at www.elenaray.com)

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Posted: Mar 30, 2012 3:08am
Mar 17, 2012

Profound Benefits For Your Back, Posture And Well-being with Pranayama Breathing Practices.

Pranayama or Yoga Breathing is a practice that employs the mind, the body and the spirit with remarkable results. This gentle Yoga technique relaxes, relieves tension, and strengthens muscle tone. The result is a stronger back and improved posture which in turn reduces back pain and dramatically increases vital life force energy. What a wonderful gift, and it's a gift that is yours to control and to give to yourself.

The art of Pranayama uses the power of breath control to exert a profound effect upon the emotions.

By practicing stillness and controlling the flow of your breathing, you direct the deeply therapeutic benefits of Yoga to targeted parts of the body. Taking the thoughts, the mind, into the body with breaths focusing on a particular area allows the healing life force to flow to that area and infuse it with vitality. This breathing technique also frees your emotions to rise and surface. Thus, the emotions work through you and for you. Pain related to emotional tensions and stress is thus released. Breathing in the powerful aspects of silence, calm, and stillness fills the mind and body with a reassuring sense of well-being.

As you control emotions through Pranayama, you strengthen the mind-body connection and spirit by amplifying the vibrations of your own life energy. The Sanskrit words "Prana" for the energy or life force that we breathe in, and "ayama" meaning expansion and control, combine to give a name to the practice that is far more than just breathing lessons. I've been teaching a powerful set of practices for working with back pain for over 8 years now, and it took 2 or 3 years to discover and develop a simple but deeply effective program. And I'm always awestruck at the knowledge the ancients have passed down to us today.

The ancients considered Pranayama such a profound force that learning it was not advisable without the presence and guidance of a Guru. In today's culture, especially in Western society, Gurus are neither common nor easily found. Fortunately, our advances allow us guidance from a guru or master without direct personal contact, through technologies like the internet, CDs and DVDs. These methods are perfectly acceptable for our times. They enable you to learn and practice with the virtual presence of an experienced teacher, not simply reading a book alone and trying to master the techniques on your own.

The feeling of taking your own power back and mastering a technique that gives you control over pain is indeed a rich gift for life.

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Posted: Mar 17, 2012 2:21am
Feb 21, 2012

Silence: The Pathway to Inner Balance

Reveal your Bliss Nature and find a harmonious balance of body, mind, and emotions by embracing nature's gift of silence. Silence calms anxiety and promotes healing and wellbeing.

Finding the Sound of Silence is an individual experience. Some find silence in the continual drone of city traffic or the crash of ocean waves; others find it in the echoes of children's playful laughter or a forest full of birdsong. There are, however, very sacred and special moments of absolute silence, a complete and utter stillness and absence of sound when time seems to stop. With no stimuli to respond to, we have the freedom to simply exist and embrace our inner spirit.

We are accustomed to living in an environment of continuous sound, but noise demands a physical response beyond simply hearing. Noise constantly stimulates body and mind. Continual vibrations disrupt the balance of our water-based circulatory and nervous systems, leaving us anxious and tired. Silence allows us to clear our thoughts and emotions, giving our body an opportunity to regenerate and relax.

Finding silence is a cumulative process. As with relaxation, we build silence into our lives little by little. Even 10-minute segments of silence are beneficial, but achieving longer 30-minute periods will foster profound peace, harmony, and good health. By creating regular time for silence and quiet, you will eventually reach the Yoga meditation goal of becoming happier in your body and more accepting of self. As part of self-acceptance and finding value in life, human beings must possess hope. Silence provides time to embrace hope and find the freedom to be human.

Silence is the essence of Zen meditative practice. As we remain still, focusing on our physical being and concentrating on being present to ourselves, we can explore our state of mind and find meaning in life. In the silent and quiet spaces you build, you will be able to organize thoughts and emotions and divest yourself of anger and frustration. Silence clears the way for natural healing of mind and body to occur. It restores balance and harmony and allows the vitality and beauty of your inner self to shine through.

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Posted: Feb 21, 2012 7:20am
Jan 25, 2011

Posted by Susan Ni Rahilly

The theme for January on the www.suzenyoga.com website is Foundations of Meditation in Yoga, and I've been working on creating content for the Meditation Room – focusing on teaching gentle breath awareness has been wonderful . . . and mainly, awe and wonder come as always in remembering and entering into the beginner's mind as we are continually supposed to as teachers.

 

Personally, I love the Yoga concepts of the Bliss State, the stillness of the Ultimate Mind of the Divine which accepts us totally – and the Mother of the Breath which breathes all of us and breathes life force energy into us. And Ayurveda in its practice of balancing elements, guides us that air needs space to move in - so breath needs to flow into us to fill the spaces within . . . breath and joy co-exist in Yoga. A relaxation with slow breathing as in a Yoga Nidra, is a relaxation of the mundane, conscious mind and intended to bring the sweetness of relaxation to your mind and body so you can experience the joy in your practice.

 

So, reasons to breathe are:

 

Breathing in takes no effort . . . that is so Zen. So in tune with Osho, the Zen Master's contribution to Yoga – relaxed effortlessness! The inbreath just happens as the breath breathes you – atmosphere makes it happen as air has to flow in to fill space within. And as the Buddha said: you can just let short breaths be short breaths, and long breaths be long , , , , one of the most powerful reasons to learn to breathe with Yoga as far as I'm concerned, is for relaxation because this builds so much inner confidence.

 

You can try the Breath short guided audio introduction for free as a download from the Ashram's Help I Need Yoga section: http://www.suzenyoga.com/ashram_help.html

 

Breathing makes you feel light . . . because you're breathing in light – and it makes you feel happy enough if you do enough controlled practice of it . . . and focus on heart chakra breathing. And controlled use of the outbreaths releases toxins, helping you balance your inner subtle energies.

 

Breathing makes you feel strong . . . and of course, I'm talking about controlled breathing practice with awareness on the breath and breath flow. The ancient Yogis learned that they could control and master the emotions with the breath. . . and you will need to control your own tidal waves of emotions to follow your bliss with your spirit! And while I was writing and producing SIMPLE POWER, STRUCTURE WITHIN I thought I should include and teach you some of this strengthening practice for you to experience.

 

Breathing may be simple, but it's powerful – and our new product for January's Foundations of Meditation month is SIMPLE POWER, STRUCTURE WITHIN, an audio download of guided practices in the Thunderbolt, the kneeling meditation posture as a foundational building block for your meditations. More information go here: http://www.suzenyoga.com/med_class.html

 

And just as an insight, I've just finished writing and recording a guided Chakra Meditation for our Foundations of Meditation month – THE HEALER WITHIN - and I am inspired by the fact that knowledge of the Chakras is still a living tradition of the Hopi Indians in North America whose tradition of meditation is as old as that of the South American Indians and the Yogis of India.

 

. . . so absolute,

it is no other than

happiness itself,

a breathing

too quiet to hear

The Breathing,

Denise Levertov

 

Namaste, Susan

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation). She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.

23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.

 

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Posted: Jan 25, 2011 3:04am
Jan 15, 2011

by Susan Ni Rahilly

 

Our Zen monk Shinrin was with us this Sunday for our sit. He'd done an interview a while ago and brought the newspaper article with him as I'd said I would do a precis for the website blog. I didn't have to read very far into the piece at all to find out his thoughts on how Zen appeals.

 

“Meditation and taking time out to find a deeper meaning in life are elements of Zen that are appealing to many.” said Shinrin.

 

I so wished as a writer, that I had been conducting the interview! And this probably won't be one of my longer blogs as being spare and to the point seems so much more illuminating this week. We had been talking over the past few months about how to “sell” Zen, as it's a practice that takes discipline – I've been thinking that through for a while and wondering how we can incorporate more Zen in the www.suzenyoga.com website. Getting right to the essence seems right.

 

Zen Element number One:

Meditation:

Shinrin said, when asked about the practice: “In Zen, all we do is a very simple meditative practice where we sit still and concentrate on being present to ourselves. We focus on the posture, sitting straight and still. Then there's breathing, and how that in turn determines the state of mind. It's all a process.”

 

Zen Element number Two:

Taking time out to find a deeper meaning in life:

I particularly love this quote of Shinrin's: “Everybody comes looking for something from meditation but it's really about what you can give rather than what you are looking for or what you are going to get.”

 

It's one of my mantras at the moment – if I think I'm giving too much, I ask myself how can I give more? The release that follows in the mind and the heart is amazing. As one master said: Zen is a big rest and a big joy . . .

 

I'm going to leave it there this week . . . that seems about right. If you'd like to try some sitting practice, morning and evenings are good times for that. You can download for free Sit from : http://www.suzenyoga.com/help.http

 

Our picture this week is Zazen hands – they're my hands in meditation mudra.

Visit the cafe area of the website for Susan's blogs: http://suzenyoga.com/cafe_blogs.html 

 

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation). She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.

23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.

 

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Posted: Jan 15, 2011 3:28am
Dec 31, 2010

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By Susan Ni Rahilly

As all on the “team” are holidaying, just for this week I'm posting the blog on Wordpress http://suzenyoga.wordpress.com/ – and I thought it'd be fun to do that on the kids' page so you can all see what we've been up to this year in our adventures in Yoga! Visit the www.suzenyoga.com website and go to our Karma Cafe area for the usual home of Susan's Blogs.

 

Another year gone! I'm wishing you all the happiness you wish for yourself for 2011. It's a long blog this week – you might like some extra reading and practice if, like me, you don't really buy into the general festivities at this time of the year. This blog is the result of my insights into how much a year can change your life . . . and my suggestions for those of you who'd like to evolve and grow on a daily basis throughout the coming year.

 

I was living in Saltaire, Yorkshire (UK) in the mid-90's, intensely into my Yoga and Meditation training and dreaming of the day when I could be independent as a Meditation Teacher. I had made my bathroom in my apartment very soothing and beautiful. I had a few Meditation “clients” coming on a regular basis. I was given a little book for xmas 1994 - Daily Meditations for 1995 by Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov. I put the little book in my bathroom, made a lovely bookmark, and started 1995 with the intention of reading my meditations every morning for the year so that I would be the sincere and dedicated student my teachers deserved. I resolved to grow and evolve steadily and patiently and to look back through the book every two or three months to assess my progress. What I didn't expect was that everyone who visited me in my apartment during that year, was enjoying doing the same thing! I got used to people asking if the bathroom was free as soon as they arrived and disappearing for 5 minutes or so quiet time on their own . . . .

 

Before I give you my 3 simple insights for (almost) effortless spiritual growth, I'd like you to know one very important and fundamental thing to guide and support you on your path of development. And it is this: Your guru or your master knows you are not neurotic. Your teacher knows that all you have to do is sit . . . . meditate, sit in stillness or contemplation, and your buddha nature will awaken – your divine self will shine through. And you must be sincere in your practice, for you do not come to your guru on your ground . . . you come to the teacher or master on his or her ground. And they will allow you to have evolved a little more every time they see you.

 

3 very simple ways to grow and evolve on a daily basis.

 

Read daily inspirations:

Choose a source of inspiration that you can draw on consistently: our Karma Cafe area on the website has a daily quotation for your inspiration http://suzenyoga.com/karma.html. We also have Satsangs which I update regularly here: http://suzenyoga.com/yama_satsang.html. Or you could follow one or two poets – my suggestions would be Rumi, Pablo Neruda or Kahlil Gibran. I also like this site: http://mysite.verizon.net/mitteldorf/Inspiration/

 

 

Give up one weakness and grow one strength every day:

You were born with wisdom. You are a being of energy. You were also born with “shadows”. Your shadows are your weakness or neuroses – we all have them. You can consciously take control of your self and keep moving from the shadow to the light by strengthening the good stuff and letting the weaknesses wither away and die. This practice takes a few minutes contemplation every day and keeping a journal helps to see what makes you bigger and what makes you smaller. An example of wisdom energy would be: having a profound sense of spaciousness; and the opposite weakness would be: getting very absorbed in a small world. Another wisdom would be: seeing the big picture and having a largeview; and the corresponding weakness would be: being rigid and tight and dogmatic.

 

You could use the free guided Quiet Room Meditation below to help you make a quiet place in your inner world and give yourself an inner mental framework for this process.

 

Give up one expectation – especially about relationships – every day!

As you now know, you are potentially a buddha and not a neurotic to your teacher in Zen as long as you are sitting in Meditation regularly. Your friend, “other” partner, lover etc is also a buddha . . . give up one expectation in your relationships every day and give the people in your life the respect your teacher gives you in allowing them to have evolved a little every time you see them.

 

This is what I'm giving you this week: The Quiet Room Meditation (the first visit). This was from an experimental section of the old website for teenagers which is still in development– and as we have no development money at the moment, it's still a demo. But I was practising it this morning and thought that, although it was originally intended for teenagers sadly with suicidal thoughts, for us as grown ups it's supportive and soothing . . . I came upon this meditation in an old book about 16 years ago and it took me a long way in bringing order to the chaos of my own inner world. I think it will help you with the practices I've suggested in this blog. It's free to download, it's a 25 minute meditation and, please do burn a CD for anyone you think would benefit – especially any teenagers and in-betweeners you know who might be struggling with life at the moment. Here's the link: http://www.lulu.com/content/6588573

 

So, I'll leave you with this thought: evolving and growing spiritually creates magic in our lives, so that we can know the miracle of setting ourselves free . . . and here's one of those Daily Meditations I told you about to set you on your path for this coming year, namaste . . . enjoy!

 

Knowledge must be lived if it is to remain with you for all eternity.

 

The only thing that will not disappear, the only thing that you can take with you into the next world, is the knowledge that you have proved for yourself in your own life; the knowledge that has become an integral part of your being.” Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, Daily Meditations, February 19th 1995.

 

. . . . and our picture is the Solstice Sunset from my terrace overlooking the channel from Baltimore, West Cork.

 

Visit the www.suzenyoga.com website and go to our Karma Cafe area for Susan's Blogs:

 

Founder of suZenYoga, Susan Ni Rahilly is a published author, Meditation and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Her teaching typically draws on breathwork in deep Hatha practice, as well as Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation). She lives in West Cork, Ireland where she writes and teaches.

23 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 18 years, Susan’s Hatha Yoga teaching is inspired by Zen and her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice.  And never more so than in her work with children and young people. Susan describes her approach:  “My Yoga became a way in which I could experience life and my Yoga developed with my experience of life:  exactly what it’s supposed to be, individual, vast and rich.”

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