Got Duhkha?

What is this?  This Sanskrit word translates to “suffering”    “pain”   ” restriction” 

This is NOT  a “physical”  pain or  restriction.  It is a mental restriction.

Duhkha works on our minds.  It a quality of mind that gives us a feeling of being “restricted” Its where we experience a limitation, a “squeezing” so to speak…

It is not physical pain, yet it can be a mental suffering  associated with illness.

It could manifest as anxiety or stress… of trying to hold onto things –  especially things that are constantly changing (thoughts, emotions, anyone?) 

It can be a basic feeling of unsatisfactoriness towards our life –  and it pervades all Humans because all forms of life are constantly changing…  Nature is always in a state of flux…

Suffering begins in our minds…   

It starts in our minds my friends!

Maybe due to almost 90,000 thoughts/ day that we have?

There is both happiness and sorrow in the world…  neither are permanent because they both are subject to change.

W all have  Duhkha …    we all experience mental suffering..

How are you handling your Duhkha ? 

How about a quick yoga stretch?   20 minutes a day helps reduce physical and mental restrictions!

This video (1/2 lecture and 1/2 yoga stretches) was made due to my frustrations of constant negativity that I see on Social Media….

This video was spur of the moment as I need a quick stretch to handle MY Duhkha…

Peace out Peeps. Try to find your Center….

Have a clear mind peeps. Seek Truth

Four things are usually manifesting in this world, on a daily basis.   

Basically, we don’t see things as they really are And this can cause us distress ..

They are: 

1.) Asmita –  Ego:  the sense that we have to be right, and better than other people.

2.) Raga – Wants/Desires   Making demands.  We want things we do not have.  More simply, we want something because it brought us pleasure (in past) but we do not necessarily need it today.   – or –  what we do have is not enough

We want to keep what we are asked to give away

3.) Dvesa – rejection or refusal:  if we have had a difficult experience (wit  something or someone) we are afraid of repeating it, so we reject the people, thoughts, etc. that relate to the experience. 

Also, we can reject the unfamiliar because we have no experience with it.

4.) Abhinivesa: -Fear:  we have uncertainty and doubts, we are afraid of being judged, and we fear aging. We fear death.

In yoga we call this incorrect comprehension – Avidya.  It  also translates as misconceptions, misunderstandings, incorrect knowledge…  Another  interpretation could be mistaking illusion to be reality

When we are able to remove any barrier, or see through/past misconception, all will become clear…

Avidya, this incorrect comprehension,  is pretty hard to perceive within ourselves, so we look to the 4 separate branches to try and identify what is really  going on, within ourselves and perhaps the world around us….

One should become aware that these 4 branches are always manifesting.. Sometimes one branch  at a time, or perhaps all four branches. For example,

I had a chocolate chip cookie over lunch, it was so tasty, I ate two more, when I really did not need two more cookies.  (Raga – a want / desire)    – or –

Devesa (my rejection of something I had a bad experience with in the past) is creating Fear (Abhinivesa) in me today…

Whichever unconscious response is arising, the mind becomes more dependent on the habit. Then, we just accept yesterday (its actions , thoughts, responses) as the norm of today.  When this happens the mind, our perception, can become “cloudy” . We could lose clarity of a situation. We could make false moves when we are not thinking through things carefully.  If the mind is cloaked, or weighed down, we usually are not making sound judgments.  

I experience this on a daily basis. Especially in my job, on texts and e-mails, etc. However, I never had  an awareness of it until my yoga studies.   Now, I actually chuckle at myself and think, “Yup. Avidya….. It’s manifesting”   I notice the branch, what my habit is, or more importantly, I notice my cloudy/unclear thought/perception, and how it just screwed me.

 I do make demands. Can you believe it? It’s either ego (asmita) manifesting, or I am making a demand due to fear (abhinivesa) I am not to proud to say I have fear – and an ego. (well, the ego is only sometimes. haha). I do reject things too. Especially seafood… I reject seafood… yuck… (this is another blog post)

Coming back to the serious side of this blog, until one practices yoga, or studies its philosophy, or reads this blog, you might not even know that the branches are alive in your life and the world around you.  You might not even be aware of how they can tangle up and choke you….

So know that Yoga is “the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption

and a main goal of yoga is to “reduce the film of Avidya in order to act correctly.

 My daily goal, as a practicing yogini, is to recognize when and how Avidya shows up and what changes I can make (in my daily actions) to:

  • achieve more clarity of a situation
  • lessen my suffering
  • lessen the suffering of others, due to my actions
  • helps others work on themselves –

My wish and my duty as a yoga teacher is to help others achieve the same clarity I aim for.

Be a Seeker of Truth, my fellow peeps,

Try to reduce the film of Avidya in your daily life, to have a clear perception of yourself, and of the world around you.

and as always keep it fresh!

Svadhyaya Sundays. Lets just start with one day

This weekend I was submerged in Yoga.  Saturday I was  a student in my Yoga Therapy course, then  Sunday I was teaching Yoga and its wisdom to my own trainee class.   In the evenings, I was so content sitting down  to watch  NFL Wild Card weekend. 

 What  a great weekend of football it was!   Close scores  with talented teams doing their BEST to win.  I like  the Patriots and the Eagles.  ( I know – odd, right? )   Both teams  lost.  I allowed  myself  an “aw man”,  and then a good game!   Good games played by all teams,  and then I moved on….

 A few moments  of the Golden Globes… then I logged on to Facebook.    In my feed was a lot of negativity towards the Patriots that comes around every time this year…  I do chuckle at some,  as  most of  the GIF’s are funny and harmless.   but what shocked my eyes (and my brain) this time were the  words :

 ” I hate the Patriots”      ” I hate Tom Brady”     “Tom Brady acting like a bitch” 

Wow, just wow. …  

Now, don’t mistake me, this is not a blog trying defend the Patriots, or Tom Brady.  This is about  hate of another human being…. And then putting your hate  and/or disdain onto social media., especially when you are of an age that did not grow up on social media..

 I just came off a weekend of teaching about Human Morality and Self Study, helping others to find their center, so to speak….so I feel a need to share a few things. The Yoga Sutras describe the inner workings of the mind, providing  us with an eight-step outline to control the mind’s restlessness.  The first two steps are the Yamas and Niyamas.  

Five Yamas Universal morality.  Attitudes & Behaviors we that have towards others.  

Five  Niyamas  – Personal Observances.   How we relate to ourselves inwardly.   

  I will only mention a few and very  briefly:

Satya – truthfulness of speech, thoughts, words. Yes, speak the truth, yet it is not needed to speak truth if it could harm someone unnecessarily.  

Ahimsa kindness. Avoidance of harming others, not only by deeds, but also by words and in thoughts

Svadhyaya  –  Self Study.   Study yourself in all activities including interactions with others.  Find self-awareness in all of your actions & efforts.   Transcend your Ego Self and cultivate the light within.

I have an 18 year old in my yoga training class.   After my lecture on Yamas & Niyamas,  she is shaking her head and says, “wow, I really do not see kids my age following this,  or even having an understanding of self study, compassion,  and truthfulness, especially when it comes to social media ”    

Hmmmm, I wonder why…..

Take note,  there is  generation growing up on social media and they read your words, folks.  They read your words of hate and negativity.    Hate is a pretty intense emotion. … and hate of another human being (s) over football is just absurd.

 As Adults (or even just as a decent human being)  aren’t  we supposed to teach the  younger generation a certain standard of behavior as to what is right or wrong, what is acceptable or not,  for them to do ?    

Listen,  I am not perfect.  I fall from Grace.   It is why I practice Svadhyaya, on a daily basis. It’s why I choose to teach these concepts to others…

 If you post any hate comments  on any social media,  I ask you to think about Sayta  and  then to really focus on Svadhyaya.   Look at yourself.   Why do you feel a need to put any hate comments  on Social Media ?   (Lets’ just go with the football for now, because boy oh boy I could go into political posts !)   What do hate comments say about you?   Please look at yourself and your action.   And please subscribe to my blog to receive more insights on the wisdom of yoga and help in finding your Light… Hate is never a good thing…

I will leave you with the quote below. It’s really quite simply and I hope you all take heed.

Hey, If you see a chance to be kind to someone tomorrow, take it. I think we need it

–  Brad Pitt’s last 20 seconds of Golden Globe acceptance speech last nigh

Perhaps you can even put it into action, especially on social media….Lets just start with one day…..

Peace, my peep, Peace.

No Fancy Title….Just some thoughts

An old friend recently commented about how I have changed physically & spiritually. Well, I am not sure about the physical, except maybe a bit older and a bit heavier with age ?   LOL

 The spiritual ?  Yes,  definitely !  And you know what?    I could say it was because of him.

 Not my spirituality,  but our situation led to me to my  first Yoga class.  

And that first class set me on a different path…

The first step has to be awareness.   It’s a deeper level of understanding.  And when I made a connection  to this awareness, this deeper part  of me – my higher  Self – I changed. 

My spirituality has been a 13 year journey.  It still is a journey.    Its daily (sometimes hour by hour), it’s  weekly,  it’s monthly, and it can be a battle,  that’s for sure…  It’s not easy to look at yourself… to truly look at yourself with all the baggage,  emotions,  negative experiences that come up… (more on this in a Meditation Blog)

For now, since it’s the time of year for Holiday celebrations, I would like to share Russell Brand’s quick video on Spirituality… You  might not understand some of it, but do understand that it doesn’t matter if we are Catholic, Christian, Jewish or a student of the Vedas & Indian Philosophy….We are all ONE.

In these last few days of the year,  look beyond any fear of religion.  Go past the desire of commercialism, and try to find something deeper. And try to find it in yourself.

 Then strengthen your connection to that deeper part of you, not just once, but  every day.   If you do, your life will change.    Just as mine did ….

Peace out Peeps and keep it fresh!

Allow a Birth to happen

Like I said this morning, yes, I go to church.   For some reason it shocks  a lot of people   I am not really sure why ?  

What  I am sure of is that my study of yoga philosophy helps me to understand Catholicism on a deeper level.. Shocker, huh? 

  (More on all this in my weekly Sunday Posts)

Today I want to focus on Advent –   Advent is a time of preparation  and yes, we are preparing for the birth of Jesus .  Are we waiting for  an actual baby to come?  No. The birth is in our hearts.  A birth to be good, to do good, to be of service (karma yoga anyone? ) and help others, and so on…. Furthermore, its a birth of our internal spirit, a birth to keep our inner light shining.

Who out there doesn’t feel a little unsettled at times?    

Who out there is looking for something more?    A connection to something or someone?  Perhaps a deeper connection to yourself ? 

We are all searching .  We put up lights this time of year.  we love to drive around and look at the lights. I know I do., but why?     Well, light fills the darkness.   In light, we find safety.  In light, we  find peace.   Maybe even some faith, hope and love….

As the Priest said this morning, Christmas is a time to  “Let Christ be born into your hearts”.   I say to you,  “Let Light be born into your hearts”  If you are out shopping for gifts, visiting Christmas displays  or going to Holiday Shows, you are  allowing the spirit of the season unto you. You just might be searching for your inner light.

Our light  should shine forth every day!  To me, that baby in the manager represents  Love…  He represents the love deep inside of our Being, that we need to be connected to daily. But it’s tough. Life is tough, right ? Some days its hard to shine, its hard to be a karma yogi (exhibiting selfless service)

So if your light is more of a flicker, then allow a birth to happen ..  In the next few days, take time to find your Inner Light…  Call forth what is truly the best in you and take time to honor what is the best in others…  Allow the Spirit of the season to shine forth….Smile at  a stranger, say a kind word, send an e-mail of gratitude….

” Let Light be born into your hearts”

More important, allow the birth to happen every day. Make the Connection…. to yourself and to others….

Peace this Holiday Season, my friends, Peace….

How do we stay connected?

Yoga allows you to find an inner peace that is not ruffled and riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life. B.K.S Iyengar

Hmmmmm…. this made me pause

As much as I respect Mr. Iyengar, how relevant is this quote in today’s society? Yes, yoga allows us to find an inner peace, however, that peace CAN BE ruffled by stresses and struggles of life. Life ain’t easy. I have been practicing for over 10 years, and some days my inner peace implodes by my daily work and/or family struggles.

Photo by Pixabay on

So yes, I have found inner peace via yoga. The challenge is staying connect to it….

How do we stay connected?