3 Ways to Heal Guilt with Yoga

A religion, a belief system or a way of life will not necessarily suit all those born into it.

For some it will work.  For others it will be damaging. And you’ll feel worse than a “fish out of water” – you’ll feel, or be made to feel, guilty about it.  From personal experience I can only write about my own past and the healing I was able to do with the help of the whole of Yoga.

The lonely legacy of Catholic guilt  is what I call the left-over loneliness that comes from low self-esteem, the pain and hurt from the damage of the catholic way (that’s the family way, schooling community etc) and also the confusion and conflict from the twistings in the teaching – especially about our origins as humans.  It leaves you lost as to how the world works – and to how people really behave and why.

But nothing stays the same forever, and everything is constantly changing. There’s compensation in everything.  In every ‘wrong’ there is the potential for ‘right’, if you look for it.  And Yoga gave me the way to find the ‘right’ in my life when I was healing from Catholic guilt.  Many people have shared with me that my writing of the experience of guilt and the healing from it has helped enormously:  Asian women and men also associate with the family and community stuff, along with Presbyterians and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The need for healing seems to be Universal.

Healing with Yoga is profound, deep and lasting.  It helps, in my experience, with a new stronger outlook, with your identity, values and lifestyle changes. Here are 3 ways I found to heal guilt with Yoga:

Letting Go
Awareness and acceptance of what has happened is the first step. For that you usually need quiet downtime. Releasing the past and letting go takes time and it also takes a certain state of mind . Relaxation in Yoga is one of the most profound ways of reaching a state of deep contemplation for the letting go to happen.

Try this for free:  Relaxing from  Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 2 [ free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Flushing Out The Sadness
Letting the feelings of sadness or loneliness come up, the emotions to surface and flow and allowing them to wash through are all deeply therapeutic techniques of Yoga. Stillness and breath flow really help.   Simply learning to slow down enough to be still and silent is a powerful thing to give yourself.  Allowing your emotions to do the work for you, allowing the breath to breathe you is an amazing gift to yourself and it’s a gift that you control.

Try this for free:  Breathing from Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 1  [free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Wipe The Slate Clean
Contemplation is one of the steps on the path to meditation – it allows the mind to settle down into the state of silence necessary for meditation – it allows your thoughts to come up into awareness for your mind, body and emotional system to heal,  for you to make sense of your experiences and put them into some place on your soul’s path.  Then you can wipe the slate clean and face the future. Contemplation in Yoga is an ancient practice of learning from the teacher’s truths. You may have been told forgiveness is the way to healing?  Well, this is how you start . . .

Try this for free:  Forgiving  from Seeds of Yoga Meditation Part 2  [free downloads audio guided meditations link below].

Remember what I said about origins? Well, growing what I understood about the origins of Yoga, some of the fascinating stories about the Yogis, gave me a  frame in my head to think about how life can be better and vital.  It’s an amazingly powerful legacy – better than guilt any day.

Namaste,

Susan

Seeds of Yoga Meditation parts 1 and 2 Free Audio Guided Meditations link is here.

Note: And if you do have healing to do with guilt and Catholic guilt you can read more about Susan’s healing approach here and/or listen to video podcasts here.

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Healing with Bliss

The powerful, transformational healing of Yoga, is the healing of the Bliss or the unconditional love and creative, positive energy of the Universe. There is nothing more healing in our existence as human beings.

With Yoga we heal by restoring balance to the bodymind and life.. . … today we understand so much about diseases: even dread diseases are epigenetic – an individual’s response to the world, and caused by three things: nutrition or malnutrition, elimination (or lack of) and toxicity, and of course, stress. And we understand that the way to healing and often complete cure, is with simple and effective lifestyle changes: with Yoga this is healing with Bliss, the positive energy of the Divine higher Consciousness which restores balance and health to the physical body, the vital body of the breath, the mind, thoughts and emotions and of course our energetic body.

Bliss, our personal bit of “heaven” that we’re born with, is the quality of energy of Divine Consciousness, your Source: pure and unconditional love, compassion, truth, creativity and intelligence. This blissful energetic quality is what I personally think we crave collectively as humanity and so it points the way to how we heal what I call “humanity’s heartbreak”.

As Yoga teachers – as in the genre I was taught, steeped in meditation – we’re here to heal, by loving unconditionally, practising acceptance and helping others to get some reprieve and release from the stresses and strains of life today, and making that as simple as possible by guiding people to getting the space and time necessary to connect regularly with our own little bit of heaven that is always with us, our Bliss.

We do this in Meditation practice. We transcend our physical flesh body, our mundane minds, daily life and connect with our Source in Meditation. What is common, as far as I can tell as a teacher, is that the benefits of regular practice are profound. And the healing is sometimes simply astonishing! Healing which can be mental, emotional, physical, spiritual as the bodymind of a human being responds to regular practice: recreating ourselves energetically.

Meditation can be a maturing and transformational process as the meditator ceases to see her/himself as separate from everything and begins to experience harmony, balance and inner peace: qualities of our own Bliss.

I’m always conscious of men and their needs for spiritual, social and psychological health. They’re kind of “lost”, many of them seeking a new role in these shifting times in our human evolution.

Finding access points to living consciously doesn’t alway come naturally to a man: although Meditation suits many men, deep self-nurturing can be an uncomfortable prospect! And yet we need to make the mindbody a more comfortable place for the spirit to dwell.

The home Ayurvedic “Bliss Bath” however, has a deep tradition of masculine spiritual ritual in the tradition of regular mindbody care, bringing the sacred into a grounding self-care routine: in making the Mindbody a more comfortable place for the Spirit to dwell, recognising and appreciating deeply sacred masculinity . . . for absorption of divine essence.

Skin, it’s cleanliness and care, were ritualised for an essential reason. Skin grounds you in your Mindbody. Skin is your connection with your Soul and the Divine. It is an integrally important part of your Yogic routine – uniting Mindbody Soul, your Divine Nature and Consciousness.

The “Bliss Bath” is a weekly Spiritual ritual. Inspired by the centuries old rituals in India which care very gently and regularly for the Mindbody . . . and which also prepare our bodyminds for Meditation and our Union with the Divine in practice.  Deep self-care for the Self brings the Sacred into making the Mindbody a more comfortable place for the Spirit to dwell. This is a ritualised grounding, practised thro skin-body care, the Ayurvedic oil self-massage, practised prior to a weekly Meditation to prepare us for our Union with Consciousness and absorbing Bliss Essence: the ritual “bath”.

Perhaps the best way to write about this ritualisation of self-care is to give you inspiration with this precis from Indian Philosopher Krishnamurti’s biography: “ . . . as Brahmins  . . . Ritual bathing preceded by an oil bath was a discipline closely followed.”  The young K’s mother  had a puja room for the gods in the house (where K was actually born, very rare in India), the rituals for devotional practice were observed . . . at a time in India when the South Indian man, woman and child, rich or poor, sat and slept on a mat on the floor, and when the joint family provided warmth and a sense of family rare in the West . . . **

Many of us, whether women or men, are currently in need of regenerating ourselves through practice, by coming to terms with our lives and accepting what we all need to do next in our current chapter of world history: we heal and grow when we realise that we are evolving the Universe.

The essence of the Self is universal. 

It is autonomy, bliss and consciousness.

Absorption in this essence is the ritual bath.” 

Meditation 152 from the Nirvana Tao, the Contemplative Techniques of Cha’an (Zen)

Namaste, Susan

**  Krishnamurti: A Biography Pupul Jayakar

Susan’s weekly meditation class in the yogic tradition is on her Youtube channel

A Return to Innocence

We are continually in communication with Divinity, and Bindu Chakra, the energetic centre and psychic gateway at the back of the head is where we experience the amber nectar of immortality . . . the sweet nectar of the gods: we awaken and activate this center in our Yogic meditation practices, which essentially are a return to innocence.

Our Perfect Innocence

And of course whenever we express this kind of concept, from the cosmology and mythology of Yoga, we are talking about projecting outwards our own inner god-like qualities. Bindu Chakra represents a point in our inner cosmos, integral to our attitude to life and our relationship to the world and our environment . . . remembering our perfect innocence.

Hatha Yoga teachers would not normally teach this, as Bindu Chakra is not in their “books”. These practices come from deeper and older practices originating in the path of Tantra . . . practices which respect the experience of the vibration of the Divine within the human bodymind. So if you’re used to Hatha Yoga teaching, and you’re concerned about the way you look and how you move, these practices will be very different for you.

Reclaiming Spiritual Heritage

Right now in our evolution, some of us are reclaiming our spiritual heritage: what it involves is change, badly needed change for our world and planet. And the way we can make the necessary space for change to happen is of course to let go, to adapt, to learn and work with a process to make this happen. When we speak of process, with Yoga, we speak of practice.

So, Bindu Chakra practices. What happens with this practice, this process? We re-set our buttons . . . wash our emotions . . . straighten out our heads . . . connect with our soul . . . ancient energies and ways.

You give yourself time and space to do this: to find parts of yourself, to put yourself together into the whole. This is time and space to talk to a purer part of yourself . . . it’s a return to innocence.

The Yoga “Tribe”

As you know I’m teaching you “further than yoga”, to accelerate your spiritual vision for those of you who want to walk the Divine path through practice. And if you are drawn to Yoga, the whole of Yoga, going back to ancient teachings to go beyond in your life, then you are one of the “Yoga Tribe” in my opinion.

We are the mediators, we are the sensitive souls reawakened in the West with consciousness hidden in our memories, here at a time when the world needs us for our power to balance.

Reclaiming Power

Many of us have been suffering from erosion of Spirit for years now, stopping this erosion means reclaiming power – this power in Yoga we call Yoga Shakti. I ask you to ask yourself some questions about adapting to the changes we need to make right now in our evolution to contribute towards re-balancing power:

So, let in some light and ask yourself: where in my life do I see the need for change? And how can I let go of those things that I thought were so important, so that I can affect the change I need?

The practices I teach for awakening of Bindu Chakra are mainly on focussed concentration, and you can practice at your own pace in Class 25 of my Weekly Youtube Classes.

Namaste,  Susan

Facebook: SuZen @susannirahilly

Twitter: @furtherthanyoga

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

17 Ways to Find Balance for 2017

I publish my list in January every year, and have done since 2012! This is the list of ways for 2017:

Balance in your life, as far as I know it as a teacher, comes with the steps to life-freedom, which is the philosophy of Yoga, together with practice, and values for your life . . . but, there have been so many wise teachers, with much wisdom to share with us and many of us are seeking balance in our lives. It’s an approach to living that can go a long way in a year.

For 2017 I wanted to write about a lasting approach to getting balance. I couldn’t get to interview the people I would have liked to for this article, and so this is a roundup of what I think they would have answered to my question “How do you get Balance?” based on their famous quotations.

1. Your Meditation is your medication … once it has worked for you, you throw away the medication, throw away the Meditation and get a new one. Osho.

2. If you can’t let it go, let it in. Dainin Katagiri

3. You can’t get there from here, and besides there is no place to go. Sheldon Kopp

4. Nothing is missing, Zen Master Lin-Chi ….. the ordinary person probably does already live with zen values.

5. Appreciate happiness: happiness seems like such a small thing when you have it, but when it’s gone you realise how big it really is. Gorky

6. I have only 3 things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion. Lao Tzu 7th Century Zen master

7. Know Joy, as in … May all beings know joy … (from the 4 Noble Truths of Zen)

8. Anywhere you are is a sacred place. Joseph Campbell

9. Learn to forgive yourself, again, and again, and again . . . (I couldn’t resist getting another wisdom in from Sheldon Kopp’s Laundry List)

10. Religion is not realisation; not talk, nor doctrine, not theories, however beautiful they may be. It is being and becoming, not hearing or acknowledging; it is the whole soul becoming changed into what it believes, into knowledge. That is religion. Swami Vivekananda

11. Spend some time alone every day. (from the Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules To Live By)

12. This is from Astrologer Rob Brezny:  Cultivate mental and emotional states that ripen us to be ready for anything:  form a strategy to avoid being enthralled with the hypnotic lure of painful emotions, past events, and worries about the future;

13. Don’t forget to break the rules ….. Dalai Lama, Sheldon Kopp, Zen, suZen

14. All teachers make a contribution to Yoga. My contribution is Gibberish – every day talk meaningless Gibberish for a few minutes to clear the mundane mind. Swami Vivekananda

15. Balance is what happens when you know in your heart something is right …. from suZen.

16. Be in awe of the mystery . . . this quote from a 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.”

17. All is Well. The ultimate life-lesson of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna to Arjuna.

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