Sunday, 20 September 2015

My one year meditation commitment and the results

Last year in December I was going through some hard times, nothing seemed to be in its place and I was not at peace at all. Work was not satisfying, my love life was affected by the fact I wasn't feeling comfortable in my life and I couldn't find that thing that was missing. So after putting everything on pause in the 2 weeks of holiday during Christmas and New Year's Eve, I started to think what I can do to make myself happier and find out what is really bothering me. In these 2 weeks, I started meditating each day, introspection helped because it gave me an idea. What if for one year, no matter what changes come in my life, I would meditate, discover myself and ignore life, the constant change and challenge that each day brings. Next step was to identify from what I learned, what would be the best option for my soul, what do I need more now? In those 2 weeks everything became clear, I don't know how to be an adult, how to manifest my adult woman personality in its fullest, so I decided to meditate every month with a different aspect of Shakti (the feminine part of the Divine), using Laya yoga with the 10 Mahavidya, or the Cosmic Powers. My meditation journey started so roughly with the first Maha Vidhya, that is Kali, or the Goddess of Time, Death and Destruction. If you ever meditated with Kali, you would know, it makes you dissolve, it teaches you that time is infinite and we are so small with our problems. Overall, each month has been an extraordinary journey and I could say, it has been until now, the year with the most challenges in my life. Meditation is a process, meditating daily for 30 minutes, you have the chance to go so deep in yourself that you find all the questions, answers, plans, needs, everything becomes so clear and you just set your mind to stand still, you just give yourself that moment to breathe and slow down. We almost never slow down, we want to make everything and we just can't. So after more than 9 months of daily 30 minute meditation with 9 Maha Vidhya, I can say that I've gained so much, with such a small commitment, I've gained clarity, I've gained courage to change my life, I've been able to calm myself more, I've learned to let some things go and appreciate more the important ones and I've also understood this is just the beginning. I don't think that one year meditation is enough for me, I just started to reduce my mind a bit to silence and to gain balance, I need to reach the next level, which is getting a higher knowledge, cultivating higher values, transforming them in qualities for my character and my destiny. There are so many things to say about meditation, but you will understand them only when you will do them and when you will practice meditation for a period of time. I hope you will give yourself that moment of peace, close your eyes and go deep. Peace and joy!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Can I practice yoga if I'm a religious person?

This is a great, great question, can I practice yoga if I'm a religious person?
Yoga is like I've said previously in other articles, a science and in a way, the religion without religion, which is really wonderful, especially in a world like the one we are living in right now.
It's true, yoga is closer to Hinduism and in Europe, many schools have mixed it with some Christian, Buddhist and Muslim practices, but in the end, yoga is religion free and is more the science and religion of your soul.
So, if you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, you can always close your eyes, breath in and out, do the Sun salutation , or a few asanas, this will not contradict with the belief you have chosen for your religion.
Yoga will only help you to relax, clear and focus your mind and maybe understand your inner needs, or the deepness of your subconscious, practicing  Yoga Nidra, know as the Yoga of  Conscious sleep.
 I think yoga can be a helping tool for religious people, because they can also use the physical component that is missing in religions and they can create a stronger bond with their own religion.
Many of the yogi gurus advise that you should choose a form for worshipping the Divine and go on with it, until you reach the perfect union with that form (religion).
Personally, I am happy that we can live in a world where we can have such a big diversity of religions and believes, I've always been opened to learn about other religions and I'm proud that in my country we had a great writer , Mircea Eliade,who wrote a history about the religions of the world.
I invite you to have respect of other people's religions, because in the end is God who decided we need more than one and if you study religions with an opened heart, you will feel the Divine in one and each of them and you will understand that each of them shows us a face of the Divine.
Have a blessed week-end!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Preparing for yoga session ( sadhana)

I still remember my first yoga session, I was a teenager and my head was full of thoughts, impulses and emotions.
One of the first things that the yoga teacher told us, was to relax, close our eyes, empty the mind and leave everything that happened in that day , behind, like a coat on the floor.
After that, the teacher told us to create a sacred space around us, to fill it with peace and harmony.
He also told us that we can try at  home to create a special place for our practice, lighting some aromatic candles, putting some suggestive images around us, like yantras or manadalas.
I still try to create a space that is special for my practice and I find nature , the best place for a yoga practice.
The most important thing is always to give ourselves a moment between our activities, to become aware about what we did and what we are going to do and, as they always say , you have to stand "naked" before the Divine.
This "nudity" means taking off our daily personality for a while, give ourselves a break, get closer to our inner space.
This preparation moment before starting a yoga practice is necessary for the transition between our profane self , to our sacred self.
 Some people prefer doing asanas using a music as a background sound, I personally prefer the silence, or the nature's sounds.
Whatever helps you to create your own sacred place, don't forget to fill it with love and gratitude.

Wishing you a peaceful day!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Yama and Nyama, the true values of a yoga practitioner

After so many years of yoga practice, you really start to appreciate your decision on following some moral values, because you realize they build a character and a destiny.
Traditionally , yogis follow as part of their practice, some moral values called Yama and Nyama.
Some of you might read already about them, some tried to put them in practice, but society is not always the best place for them.
The Yama  values are according to the Hindu Upanishad:
  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): not stealing
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): continence
  5. Kṣamā (क्षमा): forgiveness
  6. Dhṛti (धृति): fortitude
  7. Dayā (दया): compassion
  8. Ārjava (आर्जव): non-hypocrisy, sincerity
  9. Mitāhāra (मितहार): measured diet
  10. Śauca (शौच): purity, cleanliness
The Nyama values according to Upanihad
  1. Tapas: persistence, perseverance in one's purpose, austerity
  2. Santoṣa: contentment, acceptance of others and of one's circumstances as they are, optimism for self
  3. Āstikya: faith in Real Self (jnana yoga, raja yoga), belief in God (bhakti yoga), conviction in Vedas/Upanishads (orthodox school)
  4. Dāna: generosity, charity, sharing with others
  5. Īśvarapūjana: worship of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality)
  6. Siddhānta vakya śrāvaṇa: listening to the ancient scriptures
  7. Hrī: remorse and acceptance of one's past, modesty, humility
  8. Mati: think and reflect to understand, reconcile conflicting ideas
  9. Japa: mantra repetition, reciting prayers or knowledge
  10. Huta: rituals, ceremonies such as yajna sacrifice

Yama is the guide for the yogi to have an attitude also in society regarding others, while Nyama focuses more into ourselves and our attitude towards our own spiritual practice.
I always focused more on some values that maybe are easier for me to cope, such as forgiveness and compassion, sincerity, also about perseverance and faith.
Trying to follow all these values might be a challenge, but in the end its our personal daily battle to improve ourselves, learn and grow as individuals.
A yogi living in this materialistic world where people lie, steal and have no dignity trying to make some money, might feel discouraged to apply these values, but don't be scared, loosing some benefits, will bring a bit of respect for yourself and that is more awarding and priceless.
You can't do a real yoga practice if you are not happy about who you are as a person, that will always make you reject yourself, that's why these values come to help you correct your attitudes and for sure you'll sleep better at night.
That's all for today, i hope i brought a little light into your life :)

source for Sanskrit translation

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

What is yoga ?

Many people ask me what is yoga? Is it a religion? Is it a sport? Is it a cult ?
It's always a bit difficult to explain that, first of all yoga is a tool, a support, a way and a path towards something greater, which is ourselves and the Divine.
When I first had my contact with yoga I was very little, around 7-8 years old, my brother was a teenager and was trying to practice yoga at home.
I would spy on him and try to imitate him like a little monkey, without knowing what is behind all those movements called asanas.
Being a teenager myself, I started to have a big curiosity about my body and how it works and then I rediscovered yoga , at a yoga school in Bucharest and I understood that it's like a science combined with spirituality.
Yoga is the perfect union of spiritual and rational, religion and science.
I think that yoga has so many levels of knowledge, it starts from the basics which is your body through physical exercises and breathing technics, then it slowly takes you to a deep level which is meditation and modified states of the consciousness.
The ultimate goal of an authentic yoga practitioner is always to reach a higher level of spirituality and approach through the Divine and his own essence.