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Living a Yoga way of life

post #1 of 116
Thread Starter 

I am hoping that this thread will be a wonderful place for those of use who are living Yoga in one or more of its many variations to come and share our stories, talk about what we're doing, give advice and encouragement, and so on.


I'm rather a newcomer to Yoga. I got inspired to learn while helping with Harry Potter Camp (a variation of Vacation Bible School that our UU church hosts in the summertime). A Yogi taught us some asanas one evening and I was truly impressed by her calm happiness and flexibility, and by the realization that, at 47, I have lost a whole lot of the range of motion that I used to have when I was younger.


I started out by finding a 40-minute Hatha Yoga easy floor workout on YouTube that I really liked, and that I still really enjoy and find challenging in some areas even now, though I have progressed a lot considering where I was. I can now sit almost directly on top of my heels in my hero, whereas I used to sit suspended a few inches in the air above my heels, and I have recently begun to be able to gently fall forward into my child pose without having to put my hands down to catch myself. One of these days, probably soon, I'm going to get up the courage to go into the full expression of the camel...I feel like I could actually be ready now but keep chickening out at the last minute...


In mid-October, I was talking about Yoga with a friend and she told me about her morning routine of doing a Tibetan form of Yoga called the Five Tibetan Rites. I started reading up on them and got really intrigued (for anyone who's interested, I think Ellen Wood's version is the best and she's on YouTube!). As per my friend's advice, I started out very slowly, doing just three of each rite which took me less than ten minutes, and added two of each every week until, as of Sunday, I have worked my way up to doing the full 21 of each.


I started feeling a change in my body almost immediately, and the longer I do these rites, plus I am still doing my Hatha Yoga at least two or more times per week, plus meditating, the healthier, calmer, and more energetic I feel.


About the meditation: before I started doing the Rites, I was just kind of squeezing in a few minutes of meditation here and there, wherever I could fit it in. But when I started my morning ritual with the rites, I began to feel an urge to start spending thirty minutes meditating every morning immediately afterwards. So I started pushing my waking up time a little earlier and a little earlier, until I now get up at 4am instead of 5am (I start giving my telephone English lessons at 6), and I am actually feeling even better now, getting 6 to 7 hours of sleep than I did before, getting 7 to 8 hours.


The meditation itself is really doing wonderful things for my lungs. When I first started doing the conscious deep breathing, squeezing my tummy in on the exhale and pushing out all the air, I would often find that I'd do a lot of coughing the first few times. Now I still cough sometimes, but since I also do this deep breathing at various times all throughout the day, whenever I think about it (and I tend to notice now if I'm sitting slouched or not breathing deeply enough), I find that I'll sometimes cough once or twice, but after that, my lungs are totally clear. I usually get seriously congested a few times a year, so I'm paying attention to this so I can see, by next October, how much things have changed.


I hope to hear from some others now!

post #2 of 116

Hello! I am so happy to see this under spirituality, as I find the practice to be deeply moving. I have just begun on my yoga journey, in the last year or so. I am pregnant so my development will be on the slow track for the next few months. I'm starting prenantal classes (just now 14 weeks) next week or so. 

post #3 of 116
Thread Starter 

Oh, I'm so excited for you! Congratulations on your pregnancy and also on your discovery of Yoga! I look forward to hearing more of your story when you get the chance.


How did you get turned on to Yoga?

post #4 of 116
Thread Starter 

I just noticed that two of your children are very small, so I imagine it is very challenging to carve out the time. As I recall, my girls tended not to sleep as soundly if I got out of bed when they were toddlers...and they tended to want to climb all over me if I ever tried to exercise.


I recall one time, when I was doing some marching in the house and carrying canned goods as "weights," my younger dd (who was about 3) was following closer behind me than I realized and I accidentally whomped her in the forehead with one of the cans.


I still think it would have been great if I'd started Yoga sooner rather than later, though. And I think every little bit helps! Also, how wonderful that you are exposing them to this wonderful practice at such a young age! It makes me very happy when my own daughters take an interest.



post #5 of 116

Good morning. So, my husband was the first one to turn me onto yoga, when he gave me a copy of "Autobiography of a yogi" when we were dating (10 years ago). It wasn't until last year, though, that is when I really woke up to the possiblity of a new way of life. I read "The voice of knowledge" by Don Michael Ruiz and my world changed. I rediscovered Paramahansa Yogananda, and yoga with fresh eyes. I really like the free articals on this site http://www.ananda.org/meditation/support/articles/ if anyone is interested.

As for my kids, I don't have much personal time on my hands. At this point in my journey I am focused on redirecting energy up the spine, and the beautiful reality we can only know by going within. Often I wake up at night (without cause) and meditate. My daily life is a meditation and serves as a very good lesson in living non judgementally and humbly. I seek a pure heart, no small task when we are raised to be a consumers. It is my great blessing that my older two, adore my younger two (usually). They really are a big help when it comes to grabbing 40 minutes to yourself. I can't wait to check out the tibetan meditation you mentioned!  The little guy says I can be done, I've got to go. It's great talking to you!.


post #6 of 116
Thread Starter 

It's great talking to you, too, and I really like what you said about your daily life being a meditation! This is my goal, too!

post #7 of 116

I am really surprised that more people have not found their way here. My dd club is in "groups", did they create that space to accomodate threads like this? Seems like so many moms I have come across are yoga minded. headscratch.gif

post #8 of 116
Thread Starter 

It's a busy time of year! Maybe we'll get some more responses after New Year's!

post #9 of 116

this thread interests me. I'm not there yet.  My life is still very unyoga...but i'm shifting more of my time towards it.....watching this thread.


post #10 of 116
Thread Starter 

Hi Tracy!


It initially seemed really hard for me to carve out the time, too. I love my 40-minute Hatha yoga easy floor workout but it's...40 minutes. So it's something I can only fit in a few times a week, sometimes only two times a week. The other workouts I've noticed on YouTube seem to be at least 55 minutes.


What I love about the Five Tibetans is that, in the beginning when I was just doing 3 of each rite, it took me under 10 minutes. So it was easy to integrate it into my early morning routine. As I gradually increased them, I was already feeling the wonderful effects so it was easier for me to move my wake up to an earlier time. Ditto with meditation! Now that I'm doing the full 21 of each rite, it takes me just under 30 minutes, then a quick washup and water-guzzle and I'm ready for my meditation time.


It would have been overwhelming to me to think about carving out a whole extra hour each morning, but it's been so easy because I was able to work into it gradually. And without even having to leave my house!


I hope you find something that works like this for you, too! It may not necessarily be what works for me, but the important thing is for you to get the way of life you're seeking.


Have a great day!

post #11 of 116
Originally Posted by Tracy View Post

this thread interests me. I'm not there yet.  My life is still very unyoga...but i'm shifting more of my time towards it.....watching this thread.



Hi ladies, I don't think many people would say they felt that they could live up to the "ideal". As I understand it, yoga means union with god, so everyone is going to have a unique experience. "Yoga techniques help to harmonize human consciousness with the divine consciousness." Sounds like the journey of a lifetime.

post #12 of 116
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by tri31 View Post


Hi ladies, I don't think many people would say they felt that they could live up to the "ideal". As I understand it, yoga means union with god, so everyone is going to have a unique experience. "Yoga techniques help to harmonize human consciousness with the divine consciousness." Sounds like the journey of a lifetime.


This is so true, Tricia! I really like what Eckhart Tolle said -- that no matter how much time we spend meditating, we can really only do it one breath at a time, or something like that (I'm not sure if he called it "meditating"). And a while back, I read an article in the paper (but am not able to buy a subscription so can't search for it in their archives in order to link to it here) by a mom of three who talked about her commitment to taking enough time to mindfully breathe at least three times per day -- and we're talking three breaths here, not three separate segments of time! This was very empowering for me and I actually think it was what got me seriously started. Because it was so totally doable.


We can meditate anytime, anywhere, and for any length of time. I probably went into too much detail talking specifically about what I'm doing, when really, the details are not as important as just actually finding our own ways to get connected and experience our union with the divine life force. I will say that it's been very empowering for me to be able to establish a couple of things that I do as part of my daily practice -- but in my case, I weigh 260 lbs at a height of just under 5'10" so it's just been extremely exciting for me to see all the physical changes, not just in my figure but in my increased ability to do certain things.


For example, it's no longer painful for me to walk up and down the stairs. I'm pretty sure that I had undiagnosed arthritis in my knees, because, before I started yoga, it really hurt me to walk down the stairs. But that pain is all gone now! My weight has actually dropped from about 280 since starting yoga, without me really focusing on calories or anything. I did make the decision last summer to quit putting sugar in my coffee and tea, and I discovered that, without the sugar, I don't crave these beverages near as much so I think I was more addicted to the sugar than to the caffeine. I do still enjoy about one cup of coffee per day with a little milk.


I'm sorry if this doesn't sound like it belongs in spirituality...it's just that for me, it's all spiritual. And because of the way that my weight and lack of activity was weighing down on my spirit, having a daily practice has been kind of a necessary way to propel myself into a new way of living and being. But not everyone has these same issues.

post #13 of 116

Susan- I am very inspired to hear that your body is naturally balancing itself in step with your continuing practice! My body craves movement and release. Our interaction has helped remind me to place a little more priority on doing some yoga postures. What a nice gift it is, it's so crazy how fatigue can cloud your mind into thinking you are not up to __________.

So thanks.


post #14 of 116
Thread Starter 

Thank you, too Tricia, for your reminder. earlier upthread, that it's all about living a life of meditation.


My daily practice is a little more challenging this week. It's the second week that I've been doing the full 21 of each Tibetan rite, and I suddenly started feeling very tired a couple of days ago. I've heard that since these exercises stimulate the lymph system, many people go through a time of having symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, dizziness, and so on, which is all part of the detoxification process. My friend who told me about them said that her pee actually turned orange!


I guess the important thing is just to keep going. I feel a little better today but still kinda tired, so I'm hanging in there. I just work 'til noon on Wednesdays, and it's a beautiful day, so dh and I are getting ready to take the girls to the park and he'll watch them play while I walk our dog around the track. Hopefully the fresh air'll give me an added boost. Dd1 and I just did the 40-minute Hatha yoga easy floor workout and she was rather surprised to see that I was sweating! I actually do usually sweat during this but I think I did a little more than usual today.


I hope you're getting what you need today, Tricia! Have a good one!

post #15 of 116

Hello!  I'm really happy to see this thread.  I'm a yoga teacher and have been integrating yoga into my life for about 16 years now.  With a toddler, my meditative practice is pretty spotty, but he loves to practice asana with me (he'll spontaneously do cobbler pose, which I find RIDICULOUSLY adorable...probably why he does it!) love.gif   Following the 8-Fold Path is an important part of our lifestyle, and I really interested to hear how anyone here may be embracing it and integrating into your daily lives.  Spiritual inspiration is what I'm looking for I think!  Also, what are your favorite yoga styles?  What form/s of yoga do you practice?  Do any of you have family friendly recommendations for retreats or yoga centers? 


Thanks for sharing your experience with the 5 Tibetans, btw-- such great stuff!

post #16 of 116
Thread Starter 

Hi mudhugger -- by the way, I love that name! I'm so happy that you're here!


I haven't really studied the 8-fold path (but I looked it up and it looks interesting), but I will say that Yoga is very spiritual for me and, of course, that's why I started this thread here.


For me, it is all about experiencing the reality of my connection with all of life. I feel like I'm increasing my sensitivity to this truth -- my ability to really feel it -- through simple movements and also through meditation.


Especially with the Five Tibetans, and I also think this is true to some extent with my Hatha Yoga easy floor workout, I feel like I'm increasing/unblocking the circulation of energy between my energy field and the universal energy field (I didn't come up with this idea on my own, it's in some of the literature I've read about the Rites). The Rites are pretty vigorous for me, and the exciting thing is how I am working out but also relaxing, since I follow the advice to rest and breathe as much as I want to between each movement. So there's this sense of just being, but also of doing some pretty intense movements and stretching my way to new levels.


I love doing the Hatha Yoga later on in the day whenever I get a chance to...and I really love how we finish up with a few minutes in the corpse pose -- again, just relaxing and being.


With my focused meditation-time (which I try to keep with me and keep practicing all day), I, again, focus on relaxing and being -- but I'm also still kind of having an inner party about the growing strength of my core body. When I started a few months back, I had to spend practically the whole time with my back propped, because it was very painful for me to sit for more than a few minutes unsupported with a straight spine. But I started scooting forward and sitting un-propped for a few minutes each day, and then gradually increased the time until, I think it was just a few weeks ago, I became able to rely on my core body strength for the whole 30 minutes! Yay!


It's also very exciting for me to be experiencing more of a seamless connection between body, mind, and spirit. I used to be such a reader, and still am, but now when I have a spare chunk of time, I often feel a strong urge to do something physical rather than just reading. I feel like there's more of a seamless flow between what I'm thinking, talking, and reading about, and what's going on in my body...which makes sense, since we really are one -- one with each other, and one within ourselves, too. This is very refreshing for me since I came out of a religious tradition where there was a sharp divide between the flesh and the spirit.

Edited by mammal_mama - 1/3/12 at 8:02am
post #17 of 116

Yoga is so powerful and healing-- your journey so far sounds beautiful.  Have you looked into Kundalini at all?  It may speak to you.  (Although, it sounds like what you're doing right now is so perfect for you.)  I love all of the changes, in both consciousness and behavior, that yoga brings about.  You do yoga-- your body feels healthier-- your being starts to desire that healthy feeling-- so you eat better and notice what you're surrounding your self with-- it's a big, beautiful, snowball of awesomeness :)  I started reading Patanjali's Sutras in '05 and that's how I got into really embracing the 8-fold path.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do :) 

post #18 of 116
Thread Starter 

Wow! I've looked into it a bit and Kundalini Yoga sounds awesome! I've found a video for beginners on YouTube and got to follow a couple of minutes of it -- basically did one exercise and it felt like something I really needed.


I'll have to make time for the whole thing asap! Thank you for telling me about this!

post #19 of 116

Welcome mudhugger! I am really happy to see you here. This week has been crazy busy. I am trying to get the house back together from the holidays. I would love to start to explore kundalini yoga. When the time is right, I'm sure. I am hoping that after the baby comes (and the relaxin subsides) I can really start to enjoy a daily practice. In the mean time I am very aware of the energy I am putting in my body (food wise). We have made allot of changes in the last year, I am always looking for ideas to help inspire everyone in my family to adopt a more reverent attitude twords food. Any suggestions? What are your kids favorite snacks?

post #20 of 116

Hey there Tri31!  It's really nice to see you here too :)  I hear you on the relaxin...my practice lately has consisted of an awful lot of cat-cow.  shrug.gif  I love talking good food...although the reverence thing, hmmm.  DS reveres tap dancing in his yogurt and teasing the dogs with bits of oatmeal. lol    Some of his favorites snacks-- yogurt with a little maple syrup swirled in... chocolate chia pudding... fruit and cheese... popcorn (I sneak nutritional yeast and sometimes garlic on it with lots of butter)...  milk with molasses... crackers of all kinds... applesauce... almonds...nutty-chocolate-coconut oil-balls, and then all the stuff he only gets on occasion like Pirate Booty and Happy Tots... his hands-down fave food on the planet...french fries.  Yup.  I've been able to get green smoothies into him lately though-- so that's a win!  I think I have it much easier than you overall-- ds is only two...It's a whole different ball game with older ones, huh?  What do you find most challenging? 


Susan-- yay on Kundalini! 


Thought I'd share this awesome quote I found recently-- I love it so much I painted it across my kitchen :) 

"Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of these things, and still be calm in your heart."  ~anon

Pretty appropriate for those of us trying to balance a yogic way of life with the adventure of the family way of life. 

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