Happy-U Bloggity Blog

Holistic Approach to Positive Psychology & Yoga

October 31st, Happy Valentine’s Day :)

“Making the decision to have a child– it is momentous…

…it is to decide forever to have your HEART go walking around outside your body.”
~Elizabeth Stone

__

Little hearts, floating from door to door tonight, HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

Be safe.

Be blessed.

Be sure...

…to give Mommy & Daddy anything that looks like this:

They will take very good care of it for you.

 

 

Love,

Jan 🙂

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Accountability Check!

When the world is swirling all around you (hurricane, anyone?!), it’s the PERFECT reminder of the importance of meditation. Usually when you “don’t have the time”, “can’t possibly conceive of finding the time”, or in any way don’t feel like meditating, that’s when you need it the most.

When your life feels like this…

…you REALLY need this 🙂

Friday’s post introduced the next Chopra Meditation Challenge, and this weekend, we came up with a great way to commit to meditating TOGETHER. Since we are both the type of people who are motivated by checkmarks, credit, & gold stars, we decided to create a fun & light-hearted ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP that will keep us all on track to meditate for 21 days straight for 15 minutes a day.

If this DOG can do it, surely WE can!

Let’s get our Meditation on!!

How will it work?
1) You register for the FREE meditation challenge at www.chopracentermeditation.com. Then, starting November 5th, you’ll receive in your inbox the audio link to the 15-minute meditation for the day, every day, for 21 days. (Remember, it takes 21 days to develop a habit, so the idea is we’re going to become full-fledged meditators by the end of this thing! Yeah!)

2) E-mail Karson at karson@happy-u.org and say “I’m up for the challenge!” You’ll be added to the list and will receive the link to the accountability page.

3) What’s the accountability page? It’ll be a separate blog page where we’ll each check in once a day to say “I did today’s meditation!” and receive your gold star! It’ll be a place to chat about what we thought about the meditation that day, but more importantly, it’ll hopefully be the kicker we need to JUST DO IT!

 

GET PUMPED, this is going to be a fun & motivating way to follow through on a worthwhile intention. Hope to hear from you, and please, tell your friends! There’s MORE than enough bliss to go around.

All our love,

Karson & Jan 🙂

 

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Open your THIRD EYE

The AJNA Chakra

Today, we’re focusing on the sixth Chakra, the THIRD EYE Chakra, or Ajna.

It is said that the physical eyes look OUTWARD as the third eye looks INWARD. The Ajna Chakra is our center of INTUITION, DREAMS, VISIONS, & SEEING YOUR FUTURE. When your third eye is balanced (or opened), you feel a strong sense of intuitive guidance, and more importantly, you TRUST IT. You have strong memory, creativity, and can remember your dreams. You are generally able to see the big picture and have an optimistic vision of what is ahead. When your Ajna is lacking in energy (or the third eye is closed), you have difficulty hearing or trusting your intuition, you may have poor memory, poor concentration, have a narrow view of your circumstances or life in general, and may be skeptical of your own decision making and of that of others.

So how do we balance it?

Turn Within

Here are the stats on the Third Eye Chakra…

COLOR: Indigo/ Deep Blue (wear more deep blue when you need to connect to your Intuition)

ELEMENT: Light (Connect to the sun, be mindful about the lighting in your home, use candle-light or darkness to amp up your inner vision)

LOCATION: The Third Eye is about one inch above and one inch behind the point between your brows. This chakra also includes the eyes, brain, pituitary gland, lymphatic & endocrine system (close your eyes, meditate, trust your balance, place lavender essential oil at your third eye point.)

PHYSICAL SIGNS OF AN AJNA CHAKRA IMBALANCE: Headaches, poor eyesight, hallucinations, vivid nightmares, learning disorders.

ISSUES: Intuition, Inner Wisdom, Dreams (journal, meditate, begin to notice how you experience your intuitive hits in your physical body– i.e. in your gut, clammy hands, your heart flutters; practice acting upon your intuition rather than letting your thoughts override your decision-making; remind yourself that your intuition is NEVER WRONG– it’s our mental interpretation of the message that can steer us down the wrong path)

YOGA PRACTICE: Balancing postures. Lifting your gaze. Using drishti (or points of focus). Trust your balance, and practice with your eyes closed. Meditate 🙂 (In fact, join the HAPPY-U “Get Your Meditation On” Accountability Group to start the 21-Meditation Challenge starting Novemeber 5th. E-mail Karson at karson@happy-u.org with the message “I’m up for the challenge!” to join the free online group)

AFFIRMATION: “I am AWAKE and TRUST MY INTUITION. I ask my third eye to OPEN ITS EYELID so I may connect to a deep sense of INNER PEACE AND KNOWING.” 🙂

AJNA

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The most powerful act in the world

 

 

 

I came across this quote this morning from Wayne Dyer…

I meditate each day
to increase my awareness of the divine power within me.
Through meditation, I am able to realize
the beauty, grace, and love that directs my life
and fulfills my deepest desires. Start with 5 minutes a day.

And then I remembered…

 

And I thought that an hour sounded like a reeeeeally long time. But then I remembered, ooh yay, the next 21-Day Meditation Challenge with the Chopra Center starts in 10 days, and each meditation is only 15 minutes! Score!

And then I thought, I’d love for all my beautiful Bloggity Blog readers to join me on the journey so we can talk about it! So I decided to put the link here so you can register fo’ free 🙂

CLICK TO REGISTER!

And then I got so excited because ABUNDANCE is one of my favorite topics, and this Meditation Challenge is all about it! It’s called, Creating Abundance!… how perfect 🙂

And THEN, I remembered this OTHER quote from Wayne Dyer…

 

…and I got really amped up about meditating, so I stopped typing, hit PUBLISH, and meditated.

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Smiley Face Mantra :)

This will be my mantra for the week…

 
                Breathing in, I calm my body.
                                                       Breathing out, I smile.

Guru of the Week

FOLLOWING THE BREATH by Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing in, I calm my body.

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment,

I know this is a wonderful moment!

Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in.

as the in-breath grows deep,

Breathing out, I know

the out-breath grows slow.

Breathing in makes me calm.

Breathing out brings me ease.

With the in-breath, I smile.

With the out breath, I release.

Breathing in, there is only the present moment.

Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment.

To learn more about Thich Nhat Hanh please visit www.plumvillage.org

Love, JAN 🙂

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I heard it through the Grapevine: Beginning Anew

This weekend at my Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, our teacher, Melissa Booker, was leading a section on the importance of mindfulness– well, always– but particularly in pregnancy and through childbirth. As an exercise in mindfulness, she gave us each a raisin, and had us hold it in our hands.

We were to:

1. Really LOOK at it. Its color, its texture, its size, and its shape. We were to look with NO JUDGEMENT, which made us laugh because we all sort of found ourselves judging our raisins inadvertently… “Mine’s so small”, said Lena with a smile.

2. SMELL it. Amazing what memories smell triggers. I suddenly remembered eating boxes of raisins as a kid, and sticking my finger down into the cardboard to try to free that last, baby raisin stuck in the corner of the box.

3. Hold it up to our ear, roll it between our fingers, and LISTEN to it. Surprisingly, its stickiness made sound. Gretchen said she could hear hers talking to her, “Don’t eat me!”, we laughed.

4. Look at it again, and THINK about the fact that we were about to EAT it.

5. Put it in our mouths and roll it around the tongue. FEEL it with our mouths.

6. Then slowly, slowly, eat and TASTE it. And boy did we ever. Surprisingly, the flavor of ONE single, solitary raisin was stronger with mindfulness than a mouthful of raisins consumed without.

I thought twice before I shoveled handfuls of popcorn in my mouth later that day…

___

This morning, I was reading about the Art of Mindful Living at Thich Nhat Hanh‘s Buddhist monastery in Plum Village, France. On their site, I came across this line…

“To begin anew is to look deeply and honestly at ourselves, our past actions, speech and thoughts and to create a fresh beginning within ourselves and in our relationships with others.”

Beautiful! Yesterday’s post was all about shedding our leaves and making room for new growth; exactly this idea of beginning anew.

 

There are so many incredibly inspiring mindfulness practices on the Plum Village site, and I encourage you to visit when you can (http://www.plumvillage.org/mindfulness-practice.html)

In the meantime, keep reflecting on the ways you can practice mindfulness, simplify your life, and start again with more awareness, purpose, and love…

With or without raisins 🙂

 

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Let Your Leaves Fall

I’ll be honest with you… There are few things I miss about living in the Northeast. Autumn is one of them…

Not complaining, but Palm trees don’t quite have the Autumnal quality as the ones from back home 🙂 I miss that crispness of the cool air and the colorful leaves dancing on their way down from their branches. Getting to see more sky through the naked branches. Getting to jump in leaf piles.

While I always found Fall to be the most beautiful of seasons, it wasn’t just for the visual beauty, but what I considered the metaphor behind it.

We need to shed our leaves to make room for new growth.

Fall continues to be a time for me to turn inward and reflect on what I’m willing to let go of in my life. Maybe it’s a job or a responsibility that’s no longer serving me. Maybe it’s a friend who I don’t have anything in common with anymore. Maybe it’s a habit that I know isn’t helping me to be the best version of myself.

I recently came across an article on NPR about how & why leaves fall off trees in the Autumn:

“According to Peter Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden and a renowned botanist, the wind doesn’t gently pull leaves off trees. Trees are more proactive than that. They throw their leaves off. Instead of calling this season “The Fall,” if trees could talk they’d call this the “Get Off Me” season.” via Why Leaves Really Fall Off Trees : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR.

I love this idea of being proactive. That trees purposefully release their dead leaves rather than hanging on to them for life.

I, too, want to be proactive. I am empowered by the idea of having a choice to let the dead parts of myself fall away. Of actively making space for new growth. Of making a choice to keep certain elements/people/jobs/habits in my life because they continue to serve me.

So take a look at your life this week and assess what it’s time to let go of. Really consider what is serving you versus holding you back. Trust that the new growth will come… You only have so many branches on your tree, so be wise about which leaves make the cut 🙂

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Express Yourself with the THROAT CHAKRA

Today, we’re focusing on the fifth Chakra, the THROAT Chakra, or Vissuddha.

The Throat Chakra is the first one on the spiritual plane, and has to do with COMMUNICATION & EXPRESSION. When you find yourself unable to communicate your needs and desires or have difficulty putting your feelings into words, your Vissuddha needs some attention. This area of your body (which includes– you guessed it– your throat, neck, mouth, & ears) has to do with your ability to express yourself, listen, and be understood.

When this chakra is balanced, we feel like we’re in vibration with the world around us. Our voice is full, we can easily put emotions into words, and are good listeners; we generally express ourselves WELL. When this chakra is deficient, we fear speaking our truth, may have secrets, speak quietly, and can’t easily find the words. When this chakra is overactive, we might talk too much, overshare, gossip, criticize, or talk too loudly.

So how do we balance it?

Here are the stats on the Throat Chakra…

COLOR: Turquoise (wear more turquoise when you need to balance your creativity & expression; write with a turquoise pen; paint & write poetry)

ELEMENT: Sound (sing, chant, listen to music, mindfully experience sounds & silence)

LOCATION: Throat, neck, jaw, teeth, mouth, tongue, ears (Use your words– practice working with mantras; drink soothing tea for the throat, stretch the neck and upper shoulders, trill the lips to soften the face and jaw, make vibratory sounds (like OMMMMM))

PHYSICAL SIGNS OF A THROAT CHAKRA IMBALANCE: Stiff neck, teeth grinding, jaw issues, throat ailments, under or overactive thyroid.

ISSUES: Being understood, Expressing ourselves, Communicating and Living your TRUTH; Stress, Hyperactivity; Hurtful Communications & lying (Watch your words; try NOT COMPLAINING for one whole day!; do some artwork or write poetry; be creative; really listen to someone when they speak to you.)

YOGA PRACTICE: Stretching & opening the neck to release blockages (i.e. Neck Rolls, Fish Pose, Plow Pose, Shoulderstand, Camel Pose); Forward Folds; use of Mantra

AFFIRMATION: “I express myself with clear intent. I hear and speak my truth.” 🙂

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The Reason will Blow You Away

Think of a time you KNEW… you just KNEW that everything was falling into place. That everything before was leading up to this very moment. When you could trace back the steps that led you to that particular person/ opportunity/ experience, and suddenly the REASON for all the previous steps is clear.

If I didn’t turn left instead of right, I would never have ran into that person.

If I didn’t have that heartbreak, I would have never met the love of my life.

If I had actually gotten that job I so thought I wanted, I never would have moved.

If I hadn’t had that job that I ended up hating, I wouldn’t have found the one that was perfect.

If I hadn’t been brave enough to speak up, I never would have gotten what I truly deserved.

These are the moments you have to look back on
when you’re in the middle of struggle or confusion.

You look to history to buoy you up.

When things aren’t going as you thought or wished they would, think back to the times in your life when it all worked exactly as it was supposed to, and remember how when you were in the act of turning left, you never thought you’d run right into that person.

I mean, when you were feeling rejected because you didn’t get what you thought was the job of your dreams, were you really expecting that the best one was actually the NEXT one? In the moment you got dumped on your ass, were you excited because you knew you were one step closer to your ACTUAL love of your life?

Probably not…

 

But maybe so if you’ve been practicing. Practicing your faith and SURRENDER. Practicing your optimism and your ability to trust in the grand scheme of it all.

Cherish the moments that the universe provides you with PROOF of the fact that everything really does happen exactly as it should. Remember them when you falter.

 

When you can turn to examples in your own life when every single (sometimes painful or ugly) step was absolutely necessary for the outcome to occur, you find the spark of optimism that will bring the next step closer to you 🙂

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Mulabandha, not Cowabunga!

Okay, so I am sixty going on six, but I have been thinking this, and I have to share it with you. Sorry!

You know how some words just make you giggle? Takes you right back to first grade when you read about Dick & Jane,
and you couldn’t believe someone would actually name their child, “Dick?”
 
Confession here…every time I use the word, “Mulabandha” whilst conducting my Yoga class, I want to fall over, convulsing with laughter.  I have not yet given into this desire, but hey, I have many more years of teaching ahead of me, right? If you are not familiar with the term, “Mulabandha” that’s just fine with me. If you want to know what it means, ask Karson,
I am sure she will explain it in a dignified manner. Why does that word slay me every time? I think it’s because I get it confused with “Cowabunga.” 
 
I know you are way too young to remember Chief Thunderthud from the 50’s television program “The Howdy Doody Show”, (“Doody” haha) but every week he would do a rain dance onto the stage, turn his mustach-e-o’d face to the Peanut Gallery, 
and scream, “Cowabunga!” and I would laugh. 
 
 It made me HAPPY! Still does.
 
This blog is about happiness so… that’s about as deep as I can go this week. Giggling makes me happy! Laughing makes me happy!
Don’t forget to have a good laugh today!
Love, JAN 🙂
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