Four Ways to Store Up Soul-force Daily

When daily life leaves us with a mind-sapping brain drain and it seems ever harder to keep close to our connection with the Flow of the Universe, there are 4 Universal Healing Salves to repair the damage.

We live in an age of anxiety – very close to the end of Kali Yuga, or the western Astrological Age of Pisces – and because we’ve made ourselves vulnerable from dependence on technology, many, many of us are dispirited, disheartened and downright depressed. In times gone by, if you had gone to the Shaman, Medicine person or Priestess you would have been asked 4 questions: When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweetness of silence?

Dancing, along with drumming and breathing practice – or singing and chanting – keeps us deeply connected with our roots in the Earth. Storytelling has always been humankind’s way of passing on our knowledge and giving expression to the complexities of our energies, keeping us in connection with the Mystery. And, as we know, silence [Mauna] is the state in which we acquire strengthened experience of Medha Shakti: the essential power ‘food’ for the brain, memory and intellect.

The result is a powerful force for your life which comes from the Soul [both yours and the Great Soul]: Gandhi called it Soul-force, we also know of it as God-force, it is the Transcendent force that drives the sweet essence of life: Love-force . . . as Jesus also taught.

Personally, I have tremendous focus for my work . . . from years of practising the Dhyan meditation of course . . . but this ability is in my nature and astrologically sits at the Point of Harmony in the natal western astrological chart. This kind of drive has to be balanced out . . . dancing and silence do it for me.

We can make up our own dance: use the movements from your Yogasana practise – these movements are body-language after all, they are our body-prayers to the Universe. Put on some Raga music and express yourself daily! And then take some time out every day for silence.

Enjoy!

Namaste, Susan

[NOTE: You might like to read Gabrielle Roth’s “Maps to Ecstasy” which is her account of the life- journey that took her to creating the 5 Rhythms Dance form.]

Social Media Resources: Facebook: Freedom To Flow @SoulFlowsSweetly; Twitter @FreedomToFlow YouTube Channel: youtube.com/c/susannirahilly

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Freeing Ourself to be Human

Freeing ourselves to be human is a way of opening up to true compassion, and a way of living with a kind, pure heart: a little bit of the Zen of living simply . . . but which adds up to a totality.

This is healing, and the healing comes in the acceptance that the whole world is hurting and crying out.  So we learn to listen to the voiceless voice of the world: the cry from humanity’s heart.

You practice this self-healing by opening yourself to whatever situation you may be in. It’s no use saying that the suffering out there in the world is foreign, that it doesn’t belong to you. You have to take care of it every day, because it has already appeared. Just keep yourself open to it. And in so doing, give yourself some life-freedom.

Zen practice is the practice of doing this, sitting and knowing that we ourselves contain the entire world: this is a powerful Zen practice – Eat Your Shadow.

In Eastern philosophies and cultural ways of being, the light, the energy, the hope has been found in dealing with the Shadow. You know, as the dark Goddess Kali, embodies for us.

As far as I know, this self-growth practice and process pre-dated Hinduism in India – moving from the dark to the light has always been the soul’s path in Yoga, with the soul-power manifesting right at the moment you discern what the choice before you is. As we know this happens at Guru [Agya] Chakra . . .

So, how do you Eat Your Shadow?

First, Make Friends with the Unacceptable:  Become aware of the qualities you find ugly or unacceptable in others, writing down a list if that helps. Then, realise that these are qualities that also exist within yourself. Make peace with these qualities, both within and without.

The more we repress aspects of ourselves, hiding from them and ignoring them, and project them onto others, the more power these qualities have over us, and the greater likelihood they will appear in our lives as symptoms, bad dreams, or repetitive situations which we feel we have no control over. This has been called the shadow of a human being since ancient times. Carl Jung did much good work on the way we dump all the unacceptable parts of ourselves into our unconscious, and let it fester there as we hide from it.  We then see these qualities in those people and situations that are around us. [As far as I can tell, Jung became aware of this whole process through his knowledge of Yoga, and practices of working with the Root [Muladhara] Chakra.

Eat Your Shadow:  In order to be free of this process, we “eat our shadow”.  This means we must reclaim and own these hidden qualities, realise they are part of us, and welcome them into our lives.  The very act of welcoming certain qualities or people takes the steam out of them.  We can then absorb the energy and transform them into something constructive.

Zen practice is the practice of doing this – “eating the shadow”, sitting and knowing that we ourselves contain the entire world.

Freeing ourselves to be human.

Gassho [and namaste], Susan

PS: This is my way of teaching the practice – there’s more in Brenda Shoshanna’s book Zen Miracles: Finding Peace in an Insane World:

The Inner Sacred Sanctuary

Visionary Ruin

INNER SACRED SANCTUARY

Namaste and welcome,  I’ve been teaching this Inner Sanctuary Meditation for well over 20 years now, and I used to use this in a therapeutic way for healing with the deeply healing techniques of yoga meditation with individuals, and I know it’s power.

This is a long meditation, about 40 minutes,  which is a visualisation in the yogic way, and the power of visualisation is that your meditation will change as you progress and change. The change of course is in your inner world. I’ve included this meditation in my teaching, free Youtube classes, as an important part of your development and growth on the Yoga Path.

I’m teaching this in Class 24 of my classes for its power to take you to a place where you can bring an order and method to your inner world to attain balance and inner peace. Ultimately to take you to the inner silence, in the stillness, that we need to “go to temple” . . . I do explain that in more detail in the introduction to the meditation, we mean the “temple in man”.

And when we talk about energy . . . life force, vital energy or prana . . . remember we are also talking about the energy within the body . . . the power of nature, livingness . . . known as shakti, goddess, kundalini, divine feminine or mother energy . . . the force of creation.

I’ll remind you of what we know about earth energy . . . remember Einstein and that it’s not only gravity holding matter down on this planet, but a force which is upwards from the planet . . . earth energy, electromagnetic energy, telluric forces as Steiner named them:  of course in our system of yogic belief and understanding we know this is Prana within the earth, our planet, which is moved by the cosmic breath . . . the Mother of the Breath.

My job is simply to show you the way to practice in your daily life, with simplicity of Divinity: there’s no big training for our classes on my Youtube channel, but you can review the classes on my channel for technique and practice which will help with focus and concentration, breath awareness and more, for meditation in the yogic tradition . . .

. . . enjoy your practice, Namaste,
Susan

 

Essence of Yoga Meditation website is here

Twitter : @suzenyoga @furtherthanyoga

Facebook: SuZen

Living Simply, Yoga and Balancing Your life . . .

I posted a former blog, Balancing Your Life by Living Simply with Yoga on my Speaking Tree India blog and had the most amazing responses asking for greater clarification of some of the steps to living simply (and to date the blog itself has had over 5900 views and 230-some responses): so the message was clear : simplify the teaching and elaborate on the writing. And I hope this is helpful.

Simple Living is about living consciously and in the moment. Consciousness is about awareness and this “Simple Living” process helps you to raise your awareness of how you’re living your life – and teaches you to live in the magic of life unfolding. An awakening to what is real in life.

As a teacher, I think I have only 3 things to teach: meditate, exercise the body-mind, live simply and with these 3 our health will go a long way.

And here are some of the steps:

Step One:

Meditate. Give yourself time for deep inner nurturing and nourishing.

Making time for our spiritual care is as, if not more, important as making time to eat, sleep, work, socialise. This can begin with 10 minutes a day.

It is the act of creating a “space” in time which is only for the spirit which begins to build an inner structure deep within the bodymind . . . and then this is the basis of our deep nourishing of the self with meditation.

So the simple steps here are: make time, make space. Focus on posture, breathing and silence. Practice regularly.

There are a couple of free downloads I offer, Seeds of Yoga Meditation Parts One and Two, and I would recommend downloading Part One and practising “Sit” and “Breath” to begin: you can download and save to your desktop for regular practice, here.

Step Two:

Go to the “sweetspot” regularly! Listen to meditative music. The Ancient Yogis believed we have a little sac of “Amber Nectar” (the nectar of the Gods) deep within our brains, at the pineal gland. The way to connect with our “sweetspot” is through relaxation and music, raising our vibrations.

There have been many pointers to us from the Ancients in many civilisations that the pineal gland is the point of access for us to our souls and the flow of Consciousness.

In Yoga we understand this as Bindhu Chakra (back of the head, midpoint of the brain). Where we are always receiving the flow of Consciousness . . .  we are in communication with the Divine through our Soul’s connection.

The Ancient Yogis had the beautiful concept of a sac of Amber Nectar here – our own individual nectar of the Gods.

In our Yogasana practice this is why we practice inverted postures, to replenish our Amber Nectar and to reverse the process of our precious “nectar” being burned out by the anger of the solar plexus.

The Ancients believed that, to open ourselves to this sweet nectar of the Gods, we listen to beautiful music and poetry, appreciate beauty in both art and poetry . . . anything that brings us the vibration of the Universe through our senses at a higher level.

One Meditation for this is “No-Mind” meditation through the Chakras, with Unmani Mudra which is the attitude of mindlessness: meaning the state beyond thought, no mind, meditation . . . a simple technique that brings us to a meditative state . . .

Step Three:

Practice Right Diet: Dietary control is very important in living your life with simplicity. We eat those foods which contain the most life force energy and which feed our bodymind emotions and spirits. Traditionally Vegetarianism suits the bodymind of a meditation and Yoga practitioner – but books such as “Eat Right 4 Your Typehave taught us that not everyone can be Vegetarian, Vegan or eat raw food diets. Understanding a little about the Ayurvedic Doshas can also be very illuminating!

Learn what you can about your body and what foods are going to bring you optimum health. Eating little and often suits the body when we are attempting to bring Balance and allow Consciousness to flow.

In the Yoga Diet we try to be aware of the Gunas, and incorporating knowledge of the gunas in our diet for our practice: a Vegetarian (or Vegan) diet is best for practitioners because we try to eat foods which incorporate the most life-force energy and which take the least amount of energy to digest. These are the Sattvic foods which are purest, and promote peace and calm in the bodymind. As the Gunas are qualities of the Universe, these foods are also putting us into harmony and balance.

And now some feedback from the original article: This was one of the comments on the Speaking Tree blog from Sudheindra:

“Being simple has become complex in a mind driven existence which makes every action and thought behind the action complicated. Living has become a chess game for most of us. Calculating every move, excessive caution in every step, a sense of insecurity, fear in relationships have all robbed life of all simplicity which it actually is. Complexity introduces stress & strain and takes away built-in resilience of any system.”

And now, for the heartwarming that this might bring to you, one of the Seekers in India asked:

At some point or other, when a seeker has progressed in practice it is natural for the seeker to ask ” . . . has it happened? What is the sure way to know?”

I replied: . . . the seeker knows because when you wake up in the middle of the night you can feel a calm silence in your heart and when you wake in the morning for the new day, there is a steady happiness present … I sincerely hope you find this.

Sudheindra later posted a PS to his comment, when prompted:

“I wish we can bring back simplicity to life at a collective level to resolve all our problems and conflicts and this can happen only when we make mind an instrument that it is and live from heart. The steps suggested here in this article are the steps to achieve this.”

My Namaskar to you all, and I hope this simplicity will bring you a way to live from the heart.

Namaste, Susan

The Language of The Heart

Sacred Heart

Language of the Heart Youtube Meditation Class

The heart has its own language, it’s a silent language of devotion, compassion, kindness and trust. In our Yoga practice we have many, many practices to work with this energy center, the space of the heart, and so I usually teach these over a few classes or workshops.

Our yogic practices help us in opening to our spiritual vision through the silent language of the heart . . . and through dedication to our yoga practice we open, activate and accelerate our spiritual vision so we can work with the divine in our lives. So essentially what this means is learning to recognise our signs, symbols and messages from the Universe about existence flowing through our lives. Most of these are silent, non-verbal communications from the divine and the divine mother . . . then through dedication to our practice we turn intuitions, feelings, fleeting inspirations into enduring behaviour supported by values and meaning.

This is what we are doing right now in our evolution, bringing all the wisdom from our ancient practice together so that we can aspire to the highest creative values for the future.

The language of the heart is silent . . . we call it the “unstruck sound” in the Heart Chakra. And the essence of all that is, is in the heart centre . . . the essence of Divinity within you. So, you are what you ARE not what you do.

In Yoga we know what we are made of, through experience of the koshas, our subtle bodies, which surround the germ of the Self . . . and we say “I AM THAT I AM . . .” in silence and self-awareness for clearer, deeper self-knowledge.

I usually start my teaching by introducing the meditator to the inner relaxation process, so we can start on inner listening. We have heart chakra meditation practice with the hridaya heart hand mudra to subtly and powerfully direct Prana to the space of the heart . . . and bringing together pranayama and breath awareness in the So Ham meditation which means “I AM THAT, THAT I AM . . “

When the Heart Chakra is opened and activated, communicating in its silent language in your inner world of the self, then we understand how it “talks” to our other Chakras especially Guru Chakra, the center of our Wisdom.

namaste, enjoy, Susan

From my heart to yours: a free-to-download audio of Susan reading the Love Poems of Pablo Neruda and Rumi. Enjoy

Eating your Shadow – a way to balance

In Eastern philosophies and cultural ways of being, the light, the energy, personal hope and inner freedom has been found in dealing with the Shadow.

As far as I know, this self-growth practice and process pre-dated Hinduism in India – moving from the dark to the light has always been the soul’s path in Yoga, with the soul power manifesting right at the moment you discern what the choice before you is.

This is my way of teaching the practice – there’s more in Brenda Shoshanna’s book Zen Miracles: Finding Peace in an Insane World:  see the Books page.

So, how do you Eat Your Shadow?

First, Make Friends with the Unacceptable:  Become aware of the qualities you find ugly or unacceptable in others, writing down a list if that helps. Then, realise that these are qualities that also exist within yourself. Make peace with these qualities, both within and without.

The more we repress aspects of ourselves, hiding from them and ignoring them, and project them onto others, the more power these qualities have over us, and the greater likelihood they will appear in our lives as symptoms, bad dreams, or repetitive situations which we feel we have no control over. This has been called the shadow of a human being since ancient times. Carl Jung did much good work on the way we dump all the unacceptable parts of ourselves into our unconscious, and let it fester there as we hide from it.  We then see these qualities in those people and situations that are around us.

Eat Your Shadow:  In order to be free of this process, we “eat our shadow”.  This means we must reclaim and own these hidden qualities, realise they are part of us, and welcome them into our lives.  The very act of welcoming certain qualities or people takes the steam out of them.  We can then “digest” and absorb the energy and transform them into something constructive. (from Zen Miracles)

Zen practice is the practice of doing this – “eating the shadow”, sitting and knowing that we ourselves contain the entire world.

Freeing ourselves to be human.

Yoga Loves You – 3 Reasons Why

I love you between shadow and soul

I love you as the plant that hasn’t bloomed yet

and carries within it the light of flowers . . .

Pablo Neruda wrote these beautiful words to his lover in one of his sonnets. We may not all have an intimate love relationship in our lives, but we can still be intimately in love. In love with life itself. And loved by something. Yoga loves you.

I know this, because in the first class of the first part of my Yoga Meditation training – Healing with the Esoteric Principles of Yoga – my teacher told me it was the truth, that this love and acceptance are totally unconditional. And there were many of us there in that classroom searching for Truth (capital intented). The acceptance of this Truth took many years, but I believed my teacher right on the spot as all of his life had brought him to that moment of transmitting to us, his students, the essence of Life Freedom (Vedanta) through Yoga practice.

So, I know this now, deep in my soul as a teacher, and here are 3 reasons why Yoga loves you.

Yoga loves you.

Before Yoga in my life, nothing was my own and it all belonged to someone else. As Pablo Neruda also said: it makes you feel possessed and owned by something – your life can belong to you because of Yoga. Yoga gives a way of being.

Yoga gives, just as much as you give to it. It’s an equal relationship most of the time, and then sometimes, surprisingly Yoga gives more than you could ever imagine receiving. When you suddenly, and spontaneously, feel those spaces opening up inside. When you suddenly ‘get’ the experience of your subtle bodies. Yoga knows you are a part of the Divine, moved by divine vital energy and even when you are not aware of your connection with the Ultimate Mind and Heart, Yoga knows you are . . . and loves you unconditionally.

Yoga loves you so much it waits patiently and eternally for your practice, so that it can unite you with your soul and your source.

Yoga gives you reasons to breathe.

And of course Yoga teaches you how to breathe. It teaches you, through the breath, how to teach those scared parts of you inside, that you can be in control, that something bigger moves you and keeps you alive than scary little transient life stuff . Yoga always gives just as much as you need, and sometimes it can give you reasons to be here on this planet still breathing. This is what Yoga gave me when I needed that.

Just to keep breathing is a very good reason to be alive. To experience that the breath can take you to soft and sweet places within is exactly like a kiss from a beloved. Appreciating breath is a gift from Yoga.

Yoga trains your soul.

Yoga has been about enquiry and discovery for nearly 6,000 years since the Ancient Yogis, of the Vedic people in India, got up every morning and asked themselves: “what happens if we do this . . . ?”

And this could be: stand on your head; breathe in a certain way; meditate, etc, etc . . . or, also, act grown-up and get values (the Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga). In other words, it gives you a mature connection with life and nurtures your connection with eternity.

Yoga teaches us to ask ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ and ‘why not? ‘ . . .

. . . “trains your soul” is a reference to: “I am the life in all living beings and the striving of those who train their souls . . . “ from the Bhagavad Gita (the “Song of God”).

And the “values” reference is to Satyananda: “At a time when the world seems to be at a loss, rejecting past values without being able to establish new ones, Yoga is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today . . . and the culture of tomorrow.” (Swami Satyananda Saraswati: Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha).

As a Teacher, I absolutely know a big Truth: Yoga loves you. I know this is unconditional because I have experience that myself. And all those people who came before us as Teachers, Masters and Guides deeply cared that you live your life to the full, that you love your life.

Pablo Neruda’s beautiful sonnet says it all just right now. It is how I feel about Yoga, how I love it, how it has loved me and how I feel such love for life now because of Yoga that I never would have guessed existed.

Before I loved you, nothing was my own

It all belonged to someone else — to no one. “

Namaste, Susan

PS: I’m sending you “victorious kisses of our riotous hunger for love” as Pablo Neruda would say, just in case you don’t get any from anyone else at the moment! Om . . . and here’s a gift: try this for free on me (because breath is free): Breath from the www.suzenyoga.com website’s Help I Need Yoga section

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.

27 years in her own practice now, and teaching Meditation for 20 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.”