Charleston Corporate Yoga – A New and Beautiful Way to Enhance Corporate Wellness

Lessons From a Cow

 

Lessons From a Cow

By

Sri Swami Satchidananda and Integral Yoga Magazine

 Cow

Lessons from a Cow

 

“If you ever watch a cow chewing its cud, you can learn a lot. The cow eats everything while there is time, and then later brings back to the mouth ball after ball of grass from the stomach and then keeps chewing. Even the eyes are half-closed, automatically, like a meditation. As it chews, everything gets converted into nourishment. Occasionally, there may be some kind of old raw twigs, or something that’s not edible, that went in with the grass. As the cow chews the cud, those twigs and things come up and are spit out. In the same way, when you hear things, chew on them, bring the thoughts back and recollect. Contemplate on what you have heard and anything that may not be conducive to you, like the cow, drop and don’t swallow it.

 

“God bless you. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.”

 

 


 

More Inspiration from Sri Swami Satchidananda and Integral Yoga Magazine

 

 

Integral Yoga Magazine

Cover of Summer 2013 Integral Yoga Magazine

Creating Your Personal Meditation Space

A client recently asked me where she should meditate and what the space should look like.  In my view, meditation is personal.  The space in which you choose to meditate should feel good to you.  There are no requirements.  People meditate everywhere from their personal office space to bathtubs to mountaintops.  Just a couple of things you may want to keep in mind when:

  • Minimize Distractions such as phones, laundry, dishwasher, computer, etc.  If you are a beginner, turn it off or get away from it, even if you only have 5 minutes.
  • Minimize Clutter - No one wants to sit around in a heap of clothes or old food.  Keep it simple.  Keep it clean.
  • Make It Beautiful – This means different things to different people.  For some people, having fresh flowers at a makeshift alter works.  Perhaps you fancy candles, which are great if you need help focusing as well.  You can use a picture of your favorite deity.  If Jesus is your man, then use a picture of him to focus on.  Or maybe you prefer a little Buddha or an archangel.  It is entirely up to you.  I personally put a “Do Not Disturb” meditation door hanger with a picture of Buddha on it and hang it right outside my door.
  • Be Comfortable – Be comfortable, not in a coma.  Meditation is about being present, sitting at attention.  You can, however, use a pillow to support your back or a bolster if your hips are tight.  You can sit in a chair if you want.  You can use a cozy blanket to wrap around yourself.  Relax your jaw and allow your tongue to hang on your lower palette.  Otherwise, there are no hard rules about how you choose to sit in the privacy of your own office or home space.
  • Using A Timer – Timers are great if you are on a schedule.  Personally, I don’t use one at home.  I meditate as long as I feel I want to or need to.  And it usually ends up somewhere between 15 – 45 minutes.  When I am working I use my IPhone timer anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.
  • Give Yourself Lots of Love – It isn’t always easy for beginners.  You mind is racing, can’t sit still.  Be patient and loving with yourself.  When your body starts to twitch, know that you are releasing resistance.  Your body is starting to relax. It’s a good thing.

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5 Stress Relieving Yoga Poses with Soft Bolsters

Stress Relieving Yoga Poses are designed to help you tone, strengthen and relax at the same time.  The following poses you can practice right in your living room listening to soft relaxing music.   If you are short on time you can choose to practice the poses for 5 minutes a piece.  If you have more time in the evening after work,  take more time, as much as you need to nourish your body, mind and soul.  The goal is to listen to your body.  If you don’t feel the need to spend more than 5 minutes in one pose, but you feel like you need 20 minutes in another pose, then do just that.  It is your practice, not mine.  It is always your practice.   No one should tell you what you need or don’t need.  I am here to guide and support you in your choices.

 Viparita Karani AKA “Legs Up A Wall”

Let’s start with my favorite, Viparita Karani.  Most people refer to this stress relieving yoga pose as “Legs up the wall”.  The main purpose of this pose is to rest your veins, the hardest working organ in your body.  If you think about it, your veins are pumping blood constantly whether you are standing or sitting.  So getting them up in the air is the best thing you can do.  You can do this with or without a bolster.  If your hamstrings are tight, try and rest your legs against a wall.  And if that’s too much for you, you can drape them over a chair or coffee table.  Just get your legs up in the air.

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Goddess Pose with a Yoga Bolster is also very relaxing therapeutic yoga pose and eases your body into a back bend strengthening and toning the spine while opening and gently stretching your chest and arms.  If you have been sitting at a computer all day typing and answering emails or bending over in any way, this pose is like heaven for most people.  Before you lie back on the bolster, try wrapping a blanket snug around your ankles for maximum comfort.  Once you get the blanket around your ankles, allow your knees to fall to the sides and the souls of your feet to come together. Then lie back onto the bolster allowing your arms to rest on the sides with your palms facing upward.  If you are feeling too much discomfort on your neck, place either a rolled up towel under your neck or a pillow under your head.  Adjust your back position as needed.  Then relax and let the pose work its magic.

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Supported Bridge Pose with a Bolster is another great way to open the belly and chest, tone the spine, but even just as important, this pose requires your hips to be higher than you heart.  Why is this so great?  The blood flows toward your heart massaging it as well as your thyroid helping to nourish a healthy metabolism.

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Seated Forward Bend with a Bolster is one of my favorite therapeutic yoga poses for stretching the neck especially when it’s extra tight.  Having your legs draped over the bolster makes for a more gentle bend.  Try to start with your back straight.  Then take a big inhale and as you exhale, reach forward with your heart and arms.  Take another big inhale and reach your heart forward.  I find there is a lot of comfort when breathing your way into these poses, especially when everything is really tight and stiff.  As you practice, you neck and back will begin to relax.  Your intestines get a gentle massage as you bend forward.  Your spine will start feeling better and your hamstrings will be allowed to just ease into the stretch since your legs will be bent and slightly elevated.

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Shavasana.  It’s what we all come for, that beautiful rest at the end of practicing yoga.  Most likely the most therapeutic yoga pose known to all inspiring yoginis. This pose is about relaxation.  As you lie down and get comfortable, remember to relax your jaw, muscles around your eyes and throat.  Allow your body to get heavy.  With each exhale, scan your body and release any tension you may feel. Shavasana brings everything together: Body, mind and spirit allowing you to absorb the benefits of the yoga poses you just practiced.  It regulates blood pressure and gives you a feeling of peace and calm.  A great way to meditate or prepare for mediation.  You are relaxed, yet awake and aware.  What could be better than that?

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