Sun Salutations

Fall in love with yoga. – Swami Satyananda

Every morning, I do the Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara). It’s a great way to stretch my body and prepare for the day.

The Sun Salutations is an old age practice from Vedic times. The 12 asanas (poses) are symmetrical and rhythmic. I encourage everyone to do the Sun Salutations.

Here are detailed instructions for the asanas (taken from Atma Darshan Yogashram Teachers Training, Bangalore, India):

1st Asana (a) Place feet together. (b) Stand up straight, feeling the straightness in the back; stomach in. (c) Join the palms together in Namasker and place them in front of the chest in an attitude of prayer. (d) Relax the whole body.

2nd Asana (a) Raise both arms above the head, stretching them fully upwards and backwards. Do not bend the elbows. (b) The distance between the arms should be shoulder width. (c) Bend the upper trunk back as far as possible without losing balance; keep eyes open. (d) Drop head back (e) Feel the stretch in the abdomen, chest, throat, and compression in the back.

3rd Asana (a) Bend forward to try and touch your toes with your fingers or hands. The ideal position is with the palms flat on the ground by the side of the feet with fingers pointing forward and in line with the toes. If the ideal position cannot be achieved yet, don’t force the body to do so. Go as far down as possible without straining; let the hands hang loose. Knees straight. (b) Try to touch the knees with the forehead without bending the knees. (c) Feel the stretch in the back, hamstring muscles and spine, as also the compression in the abdomen.

4th Asana (a) Bend the knees. (b) Take the right leg as far back as possible and let the knee touch the ground. (c) Bend the left knee, arch the back and tilt the head backwards gazing at the ceiling. The chest will be pressed against the left knee. (d) Keep the arms straight and in the final posture; the weight of the body should be taken on both hands, the left foot, the right knee and the right toes. (e) Feel the stretch on the inside of the thigh, on the abdomen, chest and throat; feel the compression in the back of neck and the small of the back.

5th Asana (a) Straighten the left leg and place the left foot by the right. (b) Raise the buttocks up and lower the head so that it lies between the two arms, towards the knees. (c) The body should form two sides of a triangle, with the buttocks as the apex. Push your nose towards the knees. (d) Legs and arms should be straight and try and touch the ground with your heels feeling the stretch in the hamstring, neck and back muscles; as also the compression in the abdomen.

6th Asana (a) Bend your arms and lower your body to the ground, first touching the ground with the two knees – go slightly forward on your hands so that the chest and chin touch the ground between the hands. (b) Raise hip and abdomen slightly off the ground feeling the pressure in the small of the back.

7th Asana (a) Straighten your arms, move your chest forward, arch your back and tilt your head as far back as possible so as to stare at the ceiling. (b) Lower the thighs so as to come in contact with the ground. (c) Toes shoulder be turned under with feet together. (d) Feel the stretch on the abdomen, rib cage and throat; and compression at the back of the neck and the lower back.

8th Asana (a) Raise the buttocks up and lower the head so that it lies between the two arms, towards the knees. (b) The body should form two sides of a triangle, with the buttocks as the apex. Push your nose towards the knees. (c) Legs and arms should be straight and try and touch the ground with your heels feeling the stretch in the hamstring, neck and back muscles; as also the compression in the abdomen.

9th Asana (a) Bend the left leg to touch the ground with the left knee, simultaneously bring the right leg up placing the right toes in line with the fingers between the arms. (b) Arch back and tilt your head back so as to stare at the ceiling. (c) Feel the stretch on the inside of the thigh, on the abdomen, chest and throat; feel the compression in the back of neck and the small of the back.

10th Asana (a) Bring the left foot up and place it in line with the right. (b) Straighten both knees and bring the nose as close to the knees as possible and palms and fingers as close to the ground as possible. (c) Feel the stretch in the back, hamstring muscles and spine, as also the compression in the abdomen.

11th Asana (a) Rise and raise arms above the head, bending the upper trunk and head backwards without losing your balance. Do not bend the elbows. (b) The distance between the arms should be shoulder width. (c) Feel the stretch in the abdomen, chest, throat, and compression in the back.

12th Asana (a) Straighten the trunk and bring the hands in front of chest to join the palms in a Namasker, relaxing the whole body.

Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara)

Here are some benefits of doing the Sun Salutations:

  • Loosens up joints, flexes all muscles, and massages all the important internal organs
  • Creates breath awareness, helps us to breathe correctly (slow and deep), and increases oxygen
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Increases circulation in vital organs (heart and lungs)
  • Opens your chakras and harmonizes the whole body/mind complex
  • Aligns with the meridians and sen lines
  • Prepares your body and mind for meditation (creates mental clarity)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Namaste, world

The Universe is like a Cake

As human beings, we are multidimensional and eternal. We live in one dimension that we call Earth. However, the Universe is like a cake with many layers. We may not understand parallel Universes, but we can access our past, present, and even our future. The key to our understanding is the mind.

To expand our minds, we need to cut the cake, so the layers touch each other. To do this, we can explore meditation, intuition, dreams, and telepathic abilities. Just like the cell phone, we can communicate but with our minds. Unfortunately, for most of us, telepathy is an undeveloped skill.

Another way to understand the Universe is through quantum physics. Quantum physics is easy to understand on an intuitive level. To explain it in words is a little more difficult. The most simple definition of quantum physics is that it is the study of matter and energy at the atomic level.

Let me give you an example of quantum physics. One of the principles of quantum physics says an object (made of atoms – like me) can be in two places at the same time. In December 2019, I put myself into a calm state, put on earbuds, and listened to music with binaural beats and beta waves to help me energetically teleport. My intention was to visit my best friend in Florida (I live in Minnesota). I wanted to be there to help her through a difficult time in her life.

Using my imagination and energetic coherence, I saw myself step into her bedroom. She was sleeping in her bed. I could see everything vividly. I put my hands over her body to give her Reiki energy (I have given her Reiki several times in the past, so she welcomes Reiki healing). Through my mind, I let her know that I was with her. Energetically, I was in my bedroom and my friend’s bedroom at the same time.

It is interesting to note that this intention was manifested into physical reality as well. I just returned from Florida yesterday. I went to visit my best friend.

Human beings fear what they do not know. We like our comfort zones. But if you use a toaster, fluorescent light, computer, cell phone, then you are using quantum physics.

Do we need more quantum thinking? The answer is yes. Quantum thinking allows us to see the infinite possibilities. When we use quantum thinking, we put intention and energetic coherence into action.

Also, remember love is the highest vibration. Love is multidimensional and eternal. You can channel your heart energy to anyone.

When souls electrically connect via the heart, time and space do not hinder communication. – Anonymous

Namaste, world.

Everything Happens for a Reason

I decided to cancel my trip to Thailand. It’s not safe to travel right now because of the Coronavirus. I plan to go next year in 2021.

I have planned on going to Thailand for almost a year. I was ready to go. It was a difficult decision to make – only two days before my plane would take off. Since I took the time off work, my husband suggested that I go to Florida to see my best friend. I agreed to go to Florida. My friend just got divorced and she was feeling depressed.

Before I left for Florida, I called my friend and mentor, Sister Lucy (who is a Franciscan nun), to tell her about my change in plans. Sister Lucy told me that my friend in Florida needed me right now and there’s a reason for everything.

I am here in Florida right now. I arrived on Monday. My best friend told me that it’s a miracle that I am here to be with her because she was feeling suicidal. She said that I saved her life.

I knew she was depressed, but I didn’t know she was suicidal. Now I see that I am meant to be here to support her and be her best friend.

I remember the the minutes before I made my decision to not go to Thailand. I sat in meditation and the message, “have a flexible mind” repeated several times.

Life can change in an instant. It’s easy to get attached to our plans. But sometimes we are meant to be somewhere else or do something different.

We need to trust that everything happens for a reason. We may not understand how the universe works, but we can learn to have a flexible mind and go with the flow.

Namaste, world.

Death’s Smile

I have worked as a hospice massage therapist for almost three years and I did not witness someone die. However, a few days ago, I witnessed my first death.

My patient, John, was in his eighties. He died from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. When I arrived at his apartment, his wife, children, and grandchildren where present. They were tearful as John neared death.

I am kind and supportive to the patient’s family, but I focus on my patient. Johns breathing was irregular with a slight pause between his breaths. I gave him a gentle massage on his hands. I’m also a Reiki energy worker, and I could feel happiness radiate from his heart.

After about 10 minutes, I moved to the foot of the hospital bed to hold John’s feet. After a few minutes, I saw him smile. I told his family members that he smiled and the family gathered around him. Then he smiled two more times. I told his family that “I think it’s getting close.”

John stopped breathing. John’s wife held is face and spoke loving words to him. They knew each other since they were 14 years old.

After a minute, I thought he died, but then he started breathing again. John’s daughter looked at me with confusion. As he breathed, he started to turn purplish gray. John took a few more breaths and then he died. As I gently held his feet, I closed my eyes.

It was a peaceful death. I started to cry with the family. I felt so honored to be there. I silently said “thank you” to John.

John had a close family. It was beautiful how they supported John during his dying process. They loved him so much.

I remember the quote by Todd Burpo, “The one thing love requires is to let others know they are not alone.” We need to be there for each other. We are together in life and in death.

I am so grateful to be alive. I want to rejoice in my continued opportunity to live my life to the fullest.

Namaste, world.

"The Alchemist" Quotes

By Paulo Coelho
By Paulo Coelho

I just read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for the second time. I read it several years ago, so it was wonderful to read it again. I like the lessons in the book. They are good reminders. For my 2020 intention, I want to reconnect with my heart chakra, so reading The Alchemist was reaffirming my intention.

It’s easy to say connect with your heart, but where do you begin? One way to connect with your heart is to feel your heart on a physical level. Place your hand on your heart center, and feel your heart beating. Also, during meditation, you can feel your heart beating as you follow your breath.

This morning during my meditation, I focused on my heart beating. I could feel the gentle rhythm. Also, I felt a twinge of fear. It was interesting because I wasn’t expecting to feel fear. I realize now that my heart has a lot to tell me, and I fear the unknown. But I know to stay in the present moment and let the fear pass.

A few days ago, I wanted to feel my heart when I held my dog in my arms. I could feel my heart fill with joy as a smile spread across my face. My heart started to beat as if it was purring.

I have a trip coming up in a few weeks. I am going to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to participate in a 10-day advanced Thai Yoga Massage training. Last night I thought about my trip as I felt my heart. I could feel my heart beat faster, just thinking about my trip. I am a little nervous traveling alone and spending the last five days of the trip by myself. I reminded myself that I am not traveling right now and to stay in the present moment.

The heart is a sensitive organ. It connects with our mind, emotions, body, and energy. It is the center of our life.

Namaste, world.

Live Your Dream for 2020

For Christmas, I got my two sister-in-law’s new potholders that say, “Live Your Dream.” It is a reminder to think about what you want in life and then go for it.

To live your dream for 2020, here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Create a vision board to help you see your goals and dreams.
  • Remember thoughts are energy. What thoughts do you want to give energy to and keep living?
  • Set intentions in your heart and then act on them.
  • Be aware of the scarcity complex. You have enough and always will have enough.
  • In 2020, is there one thing that you can do to help other people or an organization?
  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Read an inspirational book. Let a story change your life. Here are some books that I recommend:
    • The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
    • Final Gifts, by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley
    • Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, by Matthew Sanford
    • Let your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation, by Parker J. Palmer
    • Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival, by Velma Wallis

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Namaste, world.

Angel Message 397

Several nights ago, an angel appeared in my dream. In my dream, I was on a trip. I don’t know where, but I remember traveling. I was in a hotel room by myself at night. I remember the room filling with an odorless smoke. Then a young angel emerged from the smoke. She had long brown hair and a cream-colored gown. She said to me, “It is time to train others.” I responded, “But I am still in training.” Then the angel disappeared, and I woke up from the dream.

According to Gustavus Hindman Miller, the author of 10,000 Dreams Interpreted, “to dream of angels, is prophetic of disturbing influences in the soul. It brings a changed condition of the person’s lot.” I have more questions than answers. Should I start teaching classes or take someone under my mentorship? Or do I continue my spiritual training and train others? Or is my subconscious mind connecting with my upcoming trip?

Life is training, and Earth is our school. We cannot forget subtle divine interventions. We get so wrapped up in our thoughts, that it’s easy to forget the mysteries in life. As Christmas approaches, it is a good time to remember angels.

An angel is a spiritual being who is an agent or messenger of God, represented in human form with wings and a long robe. In the Bible, an angel appeared to Mary, to Joseph, and the shepherds. Many religions around the world believe in angels.

Angels call us to be angels on earth. We need to help each other as much as possible. Let your heart guide you. Also, angels remind us to be grateful for our lives. We are here to learn and grow as spiritual beings. It is not always easy. Life can feel lonely at times, but we are never truly alone. Our guardian angels are watching us and guiding us.

Namaste, world.

My Path to Minimalism

About a year ago, I started my path to minimalism. One contributing factor to reducing my stuff is because of my work with the dying. I know what is important in life and what is not. I know that I cannot take anything with me after I die. One of my hospice patients said to me, “Start now.” If I have less stuff right now, the less stuff I will need to get rid of later in life. Also, I need to think about what I want to leave behind after I die. I don’t want my family to sort through tons of stuff.

What does minimalism look like to me? I have seen several YouTube vlogs about owning only 25 things. I am not that extreme. I don’t want a bare house, so I have furniture, clothes, and knick-knacks. I do not consider myself a minimalist yet. I am on a path to minimalism.

A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming. – Marie Kondo

The most significant change in my environment is less clutter. It was a slow process that continues today. To de-clutter, you must get rid of stuff (donate, recycle, sell, or toss). Marie Kondo says in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, that “effective tidying involves only two essential actions: discarding and deciding where to store things. Of the two, discarding must come first.” My house is mostly clutter-free, and it feels great!

When I was in India in 2015, I visited the memorial museum of Gandhi, and I could see all of Gandhi’s belongs were encased in plexiglass. I could see he was a minimalist because he had so few things. His lifestyle is a reminder to only keep what we love and need.

Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard the rest. – Marie Kondo

Gandhi’s belongings displayed at the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi, India
Display of Gandhi’s bedroom at the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi, India

Where do I want to go with my minimalism? I want to slowly have fewer possessions. It is easy to become attached to my belongings. Marie Kondo says, “But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” If I want to live in the present moment, I need to have possessions that serve me now.

I have one more hurdle. My husband does not embrace the minimalist movement. He has too much fishing stuff that clutters our basement, but if his stuff makes him happy, then so be it. Maybe my minimalism will rub off on him eventually.

Things I own do end up owning me. I have to clean, repair, and store all of my belongings. Having less stuff gives me more freedom. Soon I will be packing for my trip to Thailand, and everything that I need will be in a backpack. To travel light, we must live light.

By not being anchored down by worldly possessions, his mind was able to achieve true freedom. – Shoukei Matsumoto

Namaste, world.