A Divine Universal Plan

How are you? And, what’s the real answer? Have you ever noticed how we automatically respond to that question and often don’t give a real answer? Also, have you noticed when someone asks you that question, who really wants to listen to your response, you feel the ability to open up and be real and just say what’s on your heart? God loves us so much. Every day He is asking us how we are and He profoundly wants to know the answer in our hearts…that’s what I believe. And, yet, so often we forget He is there. Yesterday at work one of my co-workers asked me that question and I could tell he really cared what my response was. I imagine God is caring all the time. (I love that song by Steve Gold, Let Your Heart Be Known.

So, I shared and it was so helpful to talk. Right after I shared, I got the most amazing email from someone who had read the Fresh Fruit Cleanse book. I felt like that was God saying to me to remember that He is there for us in infinite ways. But, to feel God’s support or love or anyone’s support or love we must be willing to be vulnerable and let our hearts be known. Sometimes, that’s the hardest thing of all…way harder than what we’re going through in life. As soon as we let ourselves be vulnerable, we can feel God’s grace and love flowing into our hearts and minds whether that’s through the caring spirit of a friend, or, from the God Energy of Life itself.

So, even when it’s scary, remember, to let yourself be vulnerable and let your heart be known. As someone I know said recently…vulnerable is the new strong. And, to that I’ll add something I saw on someone’s t-shirt a couple of weeks ago…strong is the new beautiful. 🙂 Who said life is easy? I’m pretty sure we’ve all realized by now it’s not, but it is so, so, so magnificent and miraculous and impressive even in the depths of our most significant loss or difficulty in life. God is with us, love is with us, grace is with us, and we are all ONE. There is a saying in the Shiva-Svarodaya, “The Prana (life force) ) verily is one’s greatest friend, companion and there is no greater kinsman than the life force.”

A couple of days ago, I was reminded of the quote by Paramhansa Yogananda from Autobiography of a Yogi…

Every saint who has penetrated to the core of Reality has testified that a divine universal plan exists and that it is beautiful and full of joy. – Paramahansa Yogananda

What an awesome quote. May that teaching be with us every moment of every day with each breath we breathe. May we remember that no matter what we are going through in life, God will bring us through and that there is a Universal Divine plan and it IS beautiful and full of joy. As one of my friends said recently, one of the greatest challenges humans face is taking life too seriously. For real, peeps. Of course, we are to have great reverence for this gift of Life, but, let’s remember that through it all it’s important not to take it so seriously but to see, as Yogananda says, the Cosmic picture show of it all. He often refers to life as a movie playing itself out, and we are both creating it and acting in it. The important part is to be conscious, as much as possible, or as Yogananda says, superconscious mind and to be able to be in Purusha, the great observer of it all. Watch your thoughts, watch your feelings even while you feel your feelings…be conscious and watch everything else from that superconscious place. Don’t get so involved in the movie that you forget its a movie. 🙂

Breathing into the Divine when meditatingRemember to sit back, relax and enjoy the show even when it’s a dramatic scene…you can also laugh at the drama, and you can remember to smile even when there is heartache because that, too, shall pass as we are filled more and more with the Light and love of the Divine with every breath we breathe. As Shiva says, the great Light that purifies us all. Sure, we must put forth effort into that purification, but it’s happening one way or another, ultimately. God’s universal plan is the purification of our soul through the purification of our body, heart, and mind. That doesn’t mean you’ll always be perfect, but that does mean, as Yogananda says, we are brought to our knees in desperation or devotion. I’m guessing we’ve all experienced a time or two when we have come to our knees desperate for the love or support of someone. God is always there.

So, this awesome passage was written by the beautiful Yoginia, Sofia Hyder. And, she has graciously allowed me to share it here on the True Yoga Blog with all of us. I read this the other day on Facebook and was brought to tears by how beautiful it is. I met Sofia at the Self-Realization Fellowship. I’m grateful to say she may be sharing her incredible writings with us on the True Yoga Blog, as well. You can read more about her and see her creative and lovely work on her website. For now, I will share these words she was inspired to write after running into a friend at Whole Foods the other day. Can you believe what happens when we allow the inspiration and wisdom were flowing through all of us to stream? That wisdom is in each of us. We all can express in surprising ways. It looks different for each of us, but that creative flow and intelligence is in each of us. Let it flow.

‎03-06-2012

The Blank Canvas

The first three chakras teach us how attachment is formed – by need, by desire, and by fear of loss. The fourth chakra shows us how relationships sound to a peaceful heart. Breath becomes a life force. The vibration transcends appearances and speaks the truth, “We are mortal. We are eternal.” The sixth chakra calls upon our ancient, ancestral, and timeless wisdom to guide us through the material world. The seventh and final chakra brings us to our knees with gratitude, abundance, joy, and recognition of the light. Expansive and intimate, its’ guidance bridges heaven and earth by bloodline. Now is the time to know for ourselves who we genuinely are, neither by holy book nor holy men, but by introspection, engagement, and openness.

So, the truth of the matter is I miss my dad today. There’s no reason why I lose him more today than other days but sometimes I realize, even though he’s with me in spirit, I won’t get, and it’s hard to understand that sometimes, especially, when I think I could be on the earth a long time without him here, physically. And, yet, what brings me comfort in those moments these days. Feeling God’s grace and love and all of the incredible love of family and friends. My dad’s love for me, and, my love for my Dad, opened me up to being able to feel God’s love and the love for and of others in a greater way, so, what a blessing to have had him in my life.

Of course, I wish I could see him again, physically. I’ve had lots of dreams where I’ve gotten to see him and Yogananda says if we meditate deeply enough we can connect with our loved ones astrally, but, still, it seems nothing replaces that physical contact while we are here on earth. And, yet, I don’t pine for him because I do know he is in a better place, free from the suffering of the world. Even when we don’t take it too seriously, let’s face it, it’s not always easy to be in this body. But, breathing in and breathing out, inhaling and exhaling, we can know the peace of surrender. As a good friend said today, don’t think too much ever, just relax. Thank you, Walter, for being there, for being here. We are so blessed to be surrounded by the love of so many amazing souls. We are souls in human bodies…what an amazing experience. Mortal and eternal. Om Shanti.

So, friends, a few more words. Some of you have asked for advice for the Fresh Fruit Cleanse book. I believe you’ll find it to be beneficial, and, a guidebook you keep with you in your life, both, for its recipes and its inspiration from some of the greatest teachings that have blessed my life over the years. But, a few words of advice, in addition to the advice in the Fresh Fruit Cleanse book, is — keep going and don’t give up. Be realistic about your cleansing goals and then stick with it. With all of the recipes in the book, you can make it through however many days are best for you whether that’s 1, 3, 5 or 7 days. Cleansing can sometimes seem intimidating, at first, but the Fresh Fruit Cleanse is a supportive program. It’s not hard but encouraging, delicious and straightforward to go through the cleanse because of all the nutritious and delicious food you get to eat. Remember the excellent Chocolate Pudding recipe I shared on FOX 4 Good Day?

5 Steps to Correct Breathing

Most people never think about the way they breathe. It is something that happens as a natural reflex and doesn’t require thought. But, when you do need to concentrate on it, such as during your first yoga class or while working out, that’s when flaws in your breathing style can become easy to detect. Have you ever tried to take a deep breath and found yourself yawning afterward due to lack of oxygen? Or do you ever have trouble focusing on yoga poses and correct breathing at the same time? If so, you’re not alone. Not only do most of us neglect to think about the way we breathe, but we are also most likely in the habit of breathing improperly. To enhance your yoga practice and improve your physical health and emotional well-being, learning to give your body the oxygen it needs should be your very first step. Here’s how:

Posture and rhythm in breathing1. Identify incorrect breathing.

Most people breathe quickly and do not inhale all the way. This is called shallow breathing. If you find yourself breathing fast, raising your shoulders as you breathe, and not letting your stomach expand, you could be breathing incorrectly. When you breathe the right way, your stomach, diaphragm, and ribcage fill with air and visibly expand.

2. Warm up.

Before you learn how to breathe the right way, take some time to warm up your body first. This will relax your muscles and allow the breath to enter the body more fluidly. Don’t exercise to the point that you’re out of breath, though. If you do, wait until your breathing has stabilized.

3. Pick your posture.

You can either stand with your back straight and knees slightly bent or sit cross-legged with a straight back. Put your shoulders back and let your chest lift. Relax your arms and put them on your waist or fold them gently in your lap.

4. Inhale.

Inhaling slowly through your nose, let air pass into your diaphragm and fill your stomach. You should feel like your stomach is expanding like a balloon. Inhale for about five seconds, or until you feel you have taken a full breath. Never force yourself to take a deeper breath than feels natural. The point is to train your body to take slower, better breaths, not to breathe so deep that it hurts. You have to practice a bit until you find the length of breath that feels good for you.

5. Exhale.

Exhale through your mouth, not your nose. Make sure to exhale slowly, in about the amount of time you took to inhale (this can vary, though, with inhaling and exhaling taking different amounts of time for different people). Keep breathing out until you have exhaled fully.

Try this sequence several times a week, and practice regular yoga, and you should see vast improvements in the quality of your breath.