My Heart Was Full

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Yoga Nidra

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Yoga Nidra is better than drugs. If you don’t know, it’s a guided meditation where you lie down and get extremely relaxed, and drift into that in-between state of consciousness to actually become very aware. As you listen to me lead you through the practice, you gain a beautiful and broad perspective about life, problems, and the simple joy of being awake to the beauties of this world. I’ve been studying and practicing Yoga Nidra for over a decade and anymore when I do Yoga Nidra I am led through the very same process of keen awareness as I am facilitating for my students.

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So, one evening when I lived in New York, I had just finished a particularly beautiful and heart opening Yoga Nidra practice. I was teaching at Pure Yoga in Manhattan and as I was walking down Amsterdam Avenue to go and catch the red line back home to Brooklyn. And because of this Yoga Nidra practice that I’d just taught and simultaneously experienced, my entire being felt an absolute surge of well-being and love— I was absolutely brimming with joy. At that moment, it felt as if my eyes suddenly had a super-human focus, like I could see more than 77 blocks down Amsterdam Ave, all the way to the Hudson and that they could see every detail, from the birds landing on the light posts to the dirt in the gutter and all of it felt somehow like an expression of love. I floated down the street with a smile on my face feeling like nothing could ever be so perfect. As I passed people on the street, everyone from the homeless guy to the stressed out business guy, it felt like I could feel into everyone’s heart and could feel everyone’s inherent goodness. Experiences like this are not rare in Yoga Nidra and they are one of the simple reasons that I love this practice so much.

My Heart Was Full


It reminds me of a story that one of my favorite profs in college told me. His name was Leslie Norris and he was an old, wise, and brilliant poet. He knew the Romantic poets so well he could talk about them like they were his neighbors. By the way, if you’re curious what an English major does for a living, this is it. So, in this real-life story, poet William Wordsworth is feeling a lot of pressure from his guardians. His parents have died, as he is emerging into adulthood, he will soon be in charge of taking care of himself and his sister. All he wants to do in life is to write poetry but that doesn’t pay the bills so he’s receiving a lot of pressure to join the clergy instead. Well, one morning he’s walking home in the early twilight through the hills and grasslands near the sea. The landscape is blowing his mind, totally gorgeous, and his senses are completely alive. He’s about ready to burst from joy. And in that moment of intense beauty he gets a revelation from the powers that be that poetry was what he is meant to do in life. He clearly understood that the Universe was telling him loud and clear that poetry was his path. And from that moment forward never looked back. He went on to be, well, William Wordsworth, the Michael Jordan of the Romantic poets. The poem goes like this, it’s from his magnum opus The Prelude.

Leslie Norris

Leslie Norris

Magnificent

William Wordsworth

The morning was, a memorable pomp,

More glorious than I ever had beheld.

The sea was laughing at a distance; all

The solid mountains were as bright as clouds,

Grain-tinctured, drenched in empyrean light;

And in the meadows and the lower grounds

Was all sweetness of a common dawn –

Dews, vapours, and the melody of birds,

And labourers going forth into the fields.

Ah, need I say, dear friend, that to the brim

My heart was full? I made no vows, but vows

Were then made for me: bond unknown to me

Was given, that I should be – else sinning greatly –

A dedicated spirit. On I walked

In blessedness, which even yet remains.



Expert from Prelude by William Wordsworth


All that to say, that on that day after teaching Yoga Nidra, as I was walking down Amsterdam Ave totally brimming with life’s fullness, I had a Wordsworth moment. I felt that this practice of sharing Yoga Nidra with the world is the way in which the Universe has blessed me to feel Universal love and the way in which I get to share it back to the Universe and that it was a responsibility to share it lest I be “sinning greatly.”

Yoga Nidra Training

So I have the privilege, and frankly the responsibility, to share Yoga Nidra. It’s totally my jam and I love it. I’ll be sharing it tonight at a Yoga Nidra class at 21st Yoga and for those who want to really go deep, I’m so thrilled to be spending 20 hours teaching Yoga Nidra in a teacher training/immersion—This. Weekend.

Yoga Nidra Teacher Training

About the training, if you’re a yoga teacher, awesome—Yoga Nidra is an essential tool to add to your teaching tool belt. If you’re just interested in the practice, there’s no better way to understand it than diving deep. If you’re a parent, teacher, or therapist, this could be an essential tool to help you help the people you are privileged to guide and nurture. The last time I did this training someone joined so they could learn to help their therapy clients better deal with stress. Someone else joined because they wanted to lower the teen-suicide rates in their school district. Another person joined because she was a family law attorney and wanted something to help her clients meet the challenge of divorce as mindfully as possible.

So how does it work, how does this relaxing guided meditation have such a powerful effect on people? It’s so powerful because this practice very skillfully leads you experience your True Nature, the part of you that feels wholeness and Universal love. When you are in conversation with the part of you that is fundamentally whole, everything heals.


This weekend is going to be life-changing. I’m not over selling this. There will be a lot of Yoga Nidra practice, chances to practice teaching to each other. You’ll learn how to lead yourself through this practice. You’ll receive a really solid PDF manual with Yoga Nidra scripts that you can start using on day 1 and which will serve as a foundation from which you can learn to personalize and build your own practices. Also, I’m offering this either virtually or in-person if you’re in Salt Lake City. People from all over the world will be joining us. I’ll be recording the entire thing, both audio and video, so if the timing doesn’t work you can always watch it later. This recording will also give you an incredible Yoga Nidra library.


I really hope you can make it this weekend. Regardless, I’d love to offer this Yoga Nidra practice as a chance to experience Yoga Nidra’s power to open your heart, cuz hey all the love songs are right and all you need is love.

So as I’m wrapping this up, I want to let you know that Aug. 29–Sept.1 I’m hosting a Writing + Yoga + Nature Retreat in Harriman State Park with the one and only Nan Seymour. We’ve invited special guest, poet Maya Stein to blow our socks off with her incredible poetry. We are going to explore what happens when we open to deep awareness through Yoga Nidra and then put pen to paper and see what comes out. This is the 4th year we’ve done it and it’s been amazing every year. We have only 1 spot left and we’d love for that spot to be filled by you.

 
30-day meditation challenge

There’s no better way to practice Yoga Nidra or any other form of mindfulness than with my 30-Day Meditation challenge. It’s happening the entire month of September. The challenge is to simply meditate every day for 15 minutes or more using this great app called Insight Timer. All month I’ll be sending you instructions and encouragement. The challenge costs $30 and if you complete the challenge you can choose to either receive a full refund of your tuition or roll that into other cool meditation products that I have.

No matter what you do or don’t do with mindfulness, I just want to say thank you for picking up what I’m puttin’ down. I love doing this and it’s so nice to be on this journey with you.

May the Source be with you.

Namaste.

Please Listen to this heart-centered Yoga Nidra practice


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The Art of Yoga

What is the marriage between inner and outer beauty? What is the Art of Yoga

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Yoga is many things. It’s a science, a philosophy, a mode of spirituality, and a method of therapy to name a few. Sometimes I forget that yoga is also an art. Yoga is an art, beautiful, pure and simple. It’s beautiful to watch and to experience. Yoga, like many other disciplines, explores and celebrates what it means to be human. Through the form of our poses we understand our inner-realm and celebrate being alive. We celebrate being.

Yoga as Art

It’s true that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts; you don’t win when you’ve accomplished a pose. Yet, there is something sublimely beautiful in the simplest form, the humblest yoga posture. When I teach yoga, I am privileged to witness the beauty of all different body types, ages, and walks of life practice being human. I see lines, curves, and angles come alive and flow. I see the magical bleed between effort and ease dancing before me. I see the embodiment of bliss and understanding as well as struggle and frustration. I can feel what’s happening on the inside of my students because it’s manifesting on the outside right before me like a living poem, like sculpture that moves, like a painting that comes alive, or a boisterous Rock Opera turned up to 11. Sure, it’s not about how the pose looks but rather how it feels that is important. Regardless, your inner beauty manifests outwardly. It is still true that the poses are beautiful. We are living art.

And yet this being human, this living art, is like a sand painting that even as we speak is withering to its demise to become part of the elements from whence we came. This notion reminds me that art (human or otherwise) is just as much if not more expressed in its becoming than in its arrival. It shows me that the entire process of our lives is like one long, beautiful play full of tragedies, joys, doldrums, and loves.

Understanding the art of becoming rather than arriving emphasizes presence, the sublime of right now. And perhaps that is the intersection between inner and outer beauty, the place where inner presence and outer form meet. In this sacred marriage, our form helps us to understand that numinous realm within and our presence helps us to live outwardly with heath, clarity, and yes, beauty.

You are an artist whether you think of yourself as an artist or not. An artist, whether dancer, painter, musician, sculptor, or liver of life, must practice presence to honestly and bravely witness this world. The unconscious or the busy mind would pass by such beauty. The artist doesn’t only celebrate sunrises and rainbows. The artist finds beauty also in dark lines and shadow. Landscapes that don’t make sense or that paint a picture that is tragic, disturbing, and poignant, are nonetheless beautifully human. Indeed, that’s why we love tragedies and the dark side because this beautiful tapestry of life isn’t limited by only sunrises and rainbows. With presence, we can truly see the beauty in all things, especially ourselves.

Live and Online Yoga Nidra Training

I invite you to celebrate the full beauty of your life this week through yoga and mindfulness. Celebrate what it means to be human.

You are beautiful.

You are art.



Poem of the One World

This morning

the beautiful white heron

was floating along above the water

and then into the sky of this

the one world

we all belong to

where everything

sooner or later

is a part of everything else


which thought made me feel

for a little while

quite, beautiful, myself.

~Mary Oliver


THREE IN TRANSITION

(FOR WCW)

I wish I understood the beauty

in leaves falling. To whom

are we beautiful

as we go?

I lie in the field

still, absorbing the stars

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and silently throwing off

their presence. Silently

I breathe and die

by turns.

He was ripe

and fell to the ground

from a bough

out where the wind

is free

of the branches

~David Ignatow

Human Doing vs. Human Being

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Your identity is your foundation of existence. Too often we tend to identify with things that don’t support the truth of what we are, our beingness. Too often we get caught up as human doings rather than human beings. Too often we equate our value on what we can do rather than the fact that we simply are. 

Scott Moore Yoga

 

Tantra is a school of eastern thought. One of the many facets to Tantra is its emphasis on non-dualism or all things belonging to a larger whole. When you can expand your Awareness from being either this or that, you tap into what I call your Both And Nature. This Both And Nature speaks to your higher beingness and embraces all the elements of you for optimal expression. 

 

Ironically, the person who doesn’t know their Both And Nature, identifies only as body or with their actions, equates their existence with only what they can do. Ability and doing is by nature volatile and changeable so their sense of identity lacks a real foundation. This lack of existential foundation invariably affects performance because each act becomes a desperate grope for identity when there’s none to be had merely by performing an action. 

 

During my career, I’ve taught yoga and meditation to dozens of world-class athletes and performers. Often when these performers retire, still quite young, they sometimes go into an existential crisis if their entire identity was wrapped up in solely what they could do. Now that they can no longer perform at the level they felt defined them, they have no idea who they are. 

 

By contrast, the person who is identified as a Being rather than a doer knows their Both And Nature and can act invincibly from that place because they realize that they and each of their actions are an expression of their Being, of Source. The person connected to their Being through practices like the Yoga Nidra, graduate from a level of merely doing an action to Being it. 

 

Yoga Nidra is a form of Tantric guided meditation that is both relaxing and very useful to reinforce your sense of your own Being. The aim in Yoga Nidra is to disidentify from anything in the realm of the changeable, like body or thoughts, and learn to identify as Awareness itself. Typically, a Yoga Nidra session will last anywhere from 15–40 minutes where you simply lie down, close your eyes, and listen to a facilitator (or recording) lead you through paying attention to things like your body, your breath, energy, thoughts, etc. This process leads you deeper and deeper both into relaxation as well as into Awareness. 

 

Since it’s also true that while you cannot identify solely as body, your body is an important (though changeable) part of who you are. It also exists as one of the greatest tools you possess to open yourself to the experience of Awareness. As you learn to inhabit your body with deeper Awareness, you tune into your Both And Nature and from that place of embodied Awareness, you can go out and perform at your best. 

 

Click here to hear a free Yoga Nidra recording and experience for yourself the transformative of your own Both And Nature.


Guided Meditations for Sleep

 

Be The Shit

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“What does the mighty oak care if the warthog scratches its rump against its bark?

“What does the mighty oak care if the warthog scratches its rump against its bark?

Right before I moved from Salt Lake City, I had my last session with a wonderful private client, and friend. She began our session with a comment about how difficult she found it to be around people who are constantly bragging about who they are or what they own. This comment sparked a wonderful discussion and subsequent Yoga Nidra practice dedicated to the differences between a human being and a human doing. We discussed the idea of aiming to be so secure in our being that we didn’t need to try to prove anything to anyone else. We could just be.

I said to her, “When you’re The Shit, you don’t have to go around town bragging about it. You just go be The Shit.”

It reminds me of something I heard poet and writer David Whyte say, “Constantly explaining who you are is a gospel of despair.” Why does it seem that when we are the least secure in who we are, we tend to brag about ourselves the most? Probably because when we equate our value based on what we can do rather than a sure sense of our own beingness, we’re constantly trying to affirm something that really doesn’t exist. By contrast, we as human beings are valuable simply because we exist. We don’t need to prove anything because we simply are. If we're identified as something as fragile as our action or a title, then we're constantly fearing not being that thing anymore, we fear annihilation.

It’s also true that when we can be secure in our own being, other people don’t ruffle our feathers. The best antidote in response to the braggart is to be so solid in our own beingness that another person could say or do whatever they wish and it wouldn’t bend us one way or the other. Like the fantastic German quote, “What does the mighty oak care if the warthog scratches its rump against its bark?”

This is what we are doing in our yoga and meditation practices: we are affirming our beingness, and steeling ourselves against anything that could arise in our lives by simply learning to pay attention, to have Awareness. Here’s the kicker: our beingness is somehow wrapped around our ability to pay attention to the world, to listen and be. Not to do. The doing comes as the response to the being. The ancient teaching says that consciousness precedes form.

That day, my client and I had a great session. I led her through a personalized Yoga Nidra practice that helped her to feel solid in her own being to go out and be the mighty oak so that others could say or do whatever and she didn’t have to worry about it one way or the other. I recorded the practice and left it with her so she could continue to practice this concept.

After the session, as I was rushing out to go home and pack for France, I was half-way out the door, when I heard her shout after me, “Hey Scott!” I turned back to see her with a wide smile on her face. “Be The Shit,” she said as wise parting advice.

So, may I also extend this invitation to you: Be The Shit.

Can We All Just Calm Down?? Cannabis for Anxiety

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I’m passionate about helping people learn to manage stress and anxiety. There are several ways to help with anxiety including Yoga Nidra and other forms of guided meditation, yoga, and getting out into nature.

One Natural way of helping alleviate anxiety is by the use of cannabis, including CBD oil.

I think we can all just chill out about the use of cannabis. It’s common knowledge that the health benefits are wide and plentiful. I know so many people who use it responsibly and who receive immense health benefits from it.

One of the best uses for cannabis is stress reduction. I think cannabis is such a better alternative than what big phat pharma offers.

Have you ever tried CBD oil? Here’s an article that I think is very worthy of review.


Photo by  Michael Fischer  from  Pexels

Photo by Michael Fischer from Pexels

Emotions are part of human life and throughout the course of our lives, we will go through the entire spectrum of feelings. There are some emotions that are directly related to events such as post-traumatic stress disorder and others that seem to pop up from nowhere. Anger and stress are two of the most powerful feelings that we can experience and if one is present, the other will be too.

Stress and anger are often accompanied by underlying anxiety and this is what makes it difficult to find an appropriate treatment. When these three emotions are all present in someone’s life, things can get out of control rather quickly and your quality of life is in jeopardy, especially if you don’t seek treatment. It is easy to overlook the fact that your anger could be a side effect of anxiety, especially if you haven’t been eating or sleeping properly and you may find that even the smallest of issues will suddenly seem like the end of the world is nigh.

Stress shouldn’t be taken lightly as, in severe cases, it can kill you. It causes hypertension, affects your nervous system, and can lead to depression. Furthermore, as there is still a stigma attached to those who seek medical treatment for seemingly minor emotional issues, many people choose to ignore the symptoms of stress and anger and hope that they will go away on their own.


The Effect of Pharmaceuticals on Mental Health Issues

Instant calm with this free Beach Paradise Guided Meditation

Guided meditations for stress

When we feel like we are under a high level of stress or anxiety, there will likely come a point where a friend or colleague will point us in the direction of a physician to help us address our issues. It could be caused by a social anxiety disorder, increased stress levels through work, Post-traumatic stress (PTSD), or even because of chronic pain. And one of the most commonly prescribed treatments for anxiety is a benzodiazepine like Xanax. These pills will treat your symptoms almost immediately, but they are accompanied by a long list of harmful side effects—especially when used for long periods of time. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and they can cause the following symptoms:

  • Nausea

  • Depression

  • Dry Mouth

  • Incontinence

  • Headaches

  • Shaking

  • Paranoia

  • Loss of appetite

  • Acne

How CBD Works for Anger and Stress

Photo by  Nathan Cowley  from  Pexels

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

The past couple of years have seen the rise of alternative medicines such as CBD products like hemp seed oil, cannabis oil, and medical cannabis becoming increasingly popular. Medical marijuana and hemp oil (and all their derivatives) have been proven for use as an efficient and effective natural treatment for disorders like anxiety, depression, and stress and it is currently a hot topic in the medical industry. This has led to more studies being performed on cannabinoids and its potential therapeutic uses, as well as much more research scheduled to take place in 2019. While CBD oil is relatively new to the medical market, it has been used in ancient traditions for thousands of years to cure illness and provide relief from emotional issues like anger, stress, and anxiety.


Here are some of the ways that CBD is thought to alleviate the symptoms of anger and stress:

  • CBD is thought to cause pleasure hormones in the body to be released. These particular hormones are incredibly powerful, as they are responsible for inducing feelings of calm, reducing stress, and eliminating underlying anxiety.

  • Research has shown us that CBD positively affects the basolateral amygdala receptors that we naturally have in our bodies in order to process most of our sensory information.

  • The hippocampus is the part of our brain that is basically an emotional control center. CBD interacts with receptors in the hippocampus to stimulate positive emotions and the necessary chemicals to provide us with therapeutic comfort.

  • A daily dose of CBD oil has been found to reduce cognitive impairment.

  • CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help eliminate the effects that stress can have on our heart and arteries.


Another major factor to take into account, when looking at CBD as a viable treatment for emotional disorders, is the effect that CBD has on Serotonin levels in the brain. Science and anecdotal evidence have both demonstrated the positive effect that CBD has on the mood-enhancing chemicals in our brain. It triggers the release of these necessary chemicals and works to ensure that they are balanced in an entirely natural way. As an added bonus, it is not accompanied by any nasty side effects.

Photo by  Andre Furtado  from  Pexels

Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels

CBD Is not Addictive

CBD oil is a cumulative substance, meaning that it builds up in our body and works away behind the scenes. This is why it should be taken as a routine supplement each day, instead of when you are right in the clutches of a panic attack. Good quality CBD oil is extracted and processed in a way that allows it to override the psychoactive effects of THC (another important compound in the cannabis plant—the one that gets you high) this means that you won’t be walking around like a zombie and CBD oil is perfectly safe to take at work and it won’t impair your ability to drive or be productive. One of the primary risks of treating anxiety with traditional pharmaceuticals is an addiction and this, in turn, contributes to even more stress! CBD is completely non-addictive and you can take as much or as little as you like, without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.


Final Thoughts

While CBD oil is an incredibly powerful natural substance, not all oils are created equal. Before making a purchase, always check that the oil you are looking at is full spectrum and extracted in a chemical-free process. One of the biggest appeals of using CBD oil is the fact that it is completely non-toxic, so making sure that it is as pure as possible is going to be the key to success. It is also not a quick fix and should ideally be taken as part of a balanced diet and combined with exercise, which is also another incredibly effective way of eliminating stress from our lives. Finally, know that it is completely safe to experiment with dosage. What works for one person, might not be effective for another. Therefore, always start by taking a lower dose and increase it until you notice a positive change with regards to your anger and stress.

This article by Madeleine Taylor is originally published at SundayScaries.


Spring Cleaning with Yoga

We are well into spring and for many of us it’s time for some deep cleansing. In Ayurveda, you must first cleanse before you can add strength and power. Here’s a few yoga poses that will help you do just that by heating the system, twisting the torso, and inverting the body. These poses are great to help cleanse the system by moving lymph fluid. They also help with spinal decompression and organ cleansing.


Before cleansing, it’s necessary to add Tapas to the system. Tapas is both a word meaning  tasty Spanish dishes served on little plates as well as a Sanskrit word described in the Yoga Sutras as the heat necessary for transformation. Getting the body to heat up with poses that warm up the body (without overly challenging it) is very useful before cleansing the body. These poses include standing poses like Warrior I, II, and III, Side Angle Pose, and Chatarunga. Once the body heats up, it’s ready for cleansing.

Twists: Cleansing Poses

Photo by Dan Morris

Photo by Dan Morris

Twists are the best poses for cleansing. One of the reasons we want things twisting is to circulate our lymph. Sort of like nymphs, the spritely libido-rich fairies so abundant in enchanted forests, this kind of  "ymph" are like the body’s fairies that flutter around the forest of your body's fluids systems and with their rich source of white blood cells, put magical spells on bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms, spells that send these unwanted guests into your eliminatory systems. The problem with the lymph system is that unlike our circulatory system, lymph depends on movements. Therefore, poses like twists help to get your lymph moving to do their work. Some yoga postures that help with this are seated and standing twists like Ardhamatsyandrasana and Twisting Crescent Lunge Pose. is one of  the best ways of keeping the lymph moving and thus keeping you healthy.

Twists are really excellent for the overall health of your back. They keep the body healthy by rotating the vertebral bodies of your spine and building strength and flexibility in the deep and superficial spinal and abdominal muscles. Twists maintain elasticity in the disks between the vertebrae as well as the ligaments of the back. Twists alternately compress and stretch the hemispheres of the chest, stimulating respiratory function. They also give a healthy massage to other vital organs, like the stomach, liver, intestines, and kidneys. Plus, twisting can help restore symmetry between the shoulders and pelvis which can be the problem of some kinds of back pain.  

Your nervous system literally revolves around your spinal cord so doing twisting poses helps wring out the nervous system. Your nervous system is one of the interesting junctures of mind and body. Twists and other tension-relieving poses do wonders to help relieve emotional tension that gets trapped in the body in the form of tight muscles.




Inversions


Handstand

Inversions are poses that turn you upside-down. Common inversions are Headstand, Handstand, and Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose. Just like twists, inversions are great to help you cleanse your system. Our digestive system sometimes get compacted and turning things upside-down helps to get things moving again. Inversions are also excellent for decompressing your spine, strengthening your arms and shoulders, and strengthening both the deep and superficial core muscles.

Getting upside-down is perhaps the best way of moving lymph through the bod and cleaning house. Inversions also build muscles in the neck and shoulders. They tone vital organs and stimulate glands. Like twists, inversions build strength and flexibility in the superficial and deep muscles and connective tissue along the spine and rib cage, most notably in the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. With all this muscular toning along our spine and ribs, our posture shapes up. When done properly, inversions can lengthen our spine. Inversions also help out your digestion, respiration, and circulation systems. Last, inversions can maybe help you look at this sludge in the air in a different way, when you see it from upside-down.

Consider some gently-heating poses, twists, and inversions as you’re mindfully planning how to spring clean your body, mind, and spirit.


Guided Meditations for Sleep





Yoga Nidra

Online Yoga Nidra Teacher Training

Become a qualified Yoga Nidra teacher

Yoga Nidra is form of Self-inquiry where we come to know our deepest, truest selves as Awareness. We do this through conscious relaxation and through a vivid exploration of the ego to understand our “Both And” nature which is truly the Divine essence of the Universe as it seeks to know itself through and as us, a beautiful and localized version of this divine Source.

As you experience your True Nature you feel one with all things—infinite, and whole. Such wholeness leads naturally to profound healing, boundless equanimity, and and understanding of your life, unparalleled by every-day thinking. Stress, trauma, and scarcity seem insignificant after you've experienced the part of you that is infinitely larger than any of these smaller experiences. Truly, through Yoga Nidra you see into the vastness of the Universe that is within you.

Yoga Nidra vs Other Meditation

What’s the difference between Yoga Nidra and guided meditation? I often describe Yoga Nidra as a guided meditation. However, one of the main differences between Yoga Nidra and other forms of mindfulness is that in this form of mindfulness you try to get relaxed as possible. Unlike other forms of meditation, it’s ok if you fall asleep—the part of you that we are working with, your deep Awareness, is still paying attention, even if your waking mind is asleep. In fact, Nidra means sleep. More appropriately, Nidra means that liminal realm of consciousness that lies between waking and dreaming, between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. Sometimes the deep conscious work that is going on in Yoga Nidra requires that the rational, thinking mind fall asleep and become anesthetized, as if there were a surgery that needed to occur on the soul and the rational mind simply would be best to check out for a while.

Yoga Nidra is Identifying as Awareness

Another main difference between Yoga Nidra and other forms of meditation is that one of your primary goals is to identify as Awareness itself. A Yoga Nidra practice is one where you lie down and are led through a layering of deeper and deeper awareness. You’ll first become aware of your immediate surroundings and then you’ll start to notice the many different things that filter through your attention in any given moment. Soon you start to notice that the changing things you’re aware of all point to a constant Awareness. Then, as you begin to feel and experience yourself as Awareness, you move into a more profound experience of Self. You feel yourself as Awareness, coming to know itself as whatever you’re aware of in that moment, like different costumes you can wear to practice knowing yourself.

Yoga Nidra

Therefore, the effects of Yoga Nidra are as profound as they are relaxing. Through practicing this deep awareness, you experience yourself, your REAL self, without boundaries, fears, or limitations. You open up to astounding and beautiful clarity about who you are. It opens you to feel at one with all things, increases your capacity for love, and helps you to be more compassionate. It shows you your gifts for the world, shows you your strength and power, and helps you feel as though someone has turned up all the colors of your life. Yoga Nidra is perhaps the most effective way I know to manage and eliminate trauma and stress.

The world desperately needs more Yoga Nidra and more qualified Yoga Nidra instructors. Practicing Yoga Nidra is easy but teaching it effectively can be complex. I’d love to share my knowledge of teaching Yoga Nidra with you.

If you are interested in learning more about this profound and illuminating practice, please take a look at either my Online Yoga Nidra Teacher Training or my Online Yoga Nidra Course: Sourcing Your True Power.


Enjoy this Yoga Nidra recording!


Guided Meditations for Sleep

Online Yoga Nidra Meditation Training: The Magic of Maya Working Through Illusion

Photo by David Newkirk

Photo by David Newkirk

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We're well into the new year and I hope the sun is smiling on you, even if you live in a place where the sun doesn't raise the temp above freezing.

This year has been already so rich for me and every day I practice staying present to everything that arises, in part thanks to my 31-Day Meditation Challenge.

One thing I've learned is that meditation doesn't prevent things like emotions such as fear or anxiety from arising in me, but trains me to be cool with what does arise. It teaches me to welcome whatever comes my way, recognize it for what it is—no more no less. Ultimately it trains me to be merely the witness of that thing. Then, from that place of observation, I may choose to respond to the information rather than react. Strange how emotions like fear and anxiety seem to come around less and less when I stop resisting them and let them be what they are, mere bits of information.

I'm still human, though, and once in a while I might still lose my $#1€, but the more I meditate, the less it happens.

So today, I want to share two things with you that are related to this idea of learning to observe emotions. I think you'll love them: My Yoga Nidra series coming up, and a fun story I wrote called Lessons in Fear…

First, I want to tell you how excited I am about my 6-week virtual Yoga Nidra series starting Jan. 20th called, The Magic of Maya: Working Through Illusion.

Yoga Nidra is a relaxing and profound guided meditation aimed to help you experience your True Nature. The most essential premise of Yoga Nidra is that your True Nature is whole and perfect, a being of limitless power, boundless equanimity, with a cosmic perspective that has no need for worry. Anything in contrast to that is an illusion. But rather than trying to transcend illusion, what if you could actually use it to discover and experience your True Self?

One of the questions we'll explore in this course is, "What if emotions aren't 'real,' but just an illusion of reality and how do we actually use these illusions to uncover what is true and experience our True Self?"

This understanding is one of the things that Yoga Nidra has taught me and countless other people and what I want to offer to you through this this Yoga Nidra series.

This series will be 6 sessions, each around 75 min. During each session, I'll lead you through a verrrry relaxing Yoga Nidra practice (guided meditation), offer an engaging and thought-provoking teaching, and open the conversation to all for comments and questions.

I'll be recording each session and will be offering the recording and a transcript of it for review, or in case you have to miss a session you can watch or read it later.

One of the best features of this series is that you'll be in the comfort of your own home but joined virtually with me and other students all over the world.

In addition to access to the live classes you’ll also receive a Yoga Nidra digital library which includes:

Online Yoga Nidra Teacher Training

Become a qualified Yoga Nidra Teacher

  • Audio/Video recording of each of the sessions

  • A transcript of each of the sessions

  • Access to dozens of other Yoga Nidra recordings

  • Helpful tips and links to videos, recordings, books, and articles to expand your Yoga Nidra education

  • Clarinet Lullaby, a high-quality audio recording of me playing the clarinet set to ocean waves and a background drone for the purpose of deep relaxation and meditation.

You'll end the each session and the entire series with a deeper experience and understanding of the profound nature of your Self. Plus you'll have lifetime access to all the practices and materials.

In addition, Yoga Nidra also helps with:

  • Reduction or elimination of stress

  • Profound relaxation

  • A deeper, richer, and more present life

  • Spiritual growth and understanding

  • Greater presence in relationships, work, and the community

  • Greater mental clarity

  • Clear sense of purpose

  • Better sleep


It's like napping your way to enlightenment!

One of the things I love about Yoga Nidra is that ANYONE can do it.

Registration is now open! I can't wait for this to start. I'd love for you to join me. This really is a must-attend series that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

A Ticket Home: Meditations on Homelessness

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What is a mindful approach to homelessness? Perhaps this story can be a meditation on the subject.

Once when I was 21, I saw a guy on the side of the freeway off-ramp with a cardboard sign that said he was stranded and hungry. My heart broke. He looked like a nice guy who just needed a break.


Discovering Darrin

Meditation

I turned the car around and picked him up. I bought him lunch. As we ate together, he told me that his name was Darren. He told me bits about his life, that he said he lived in San Diego, worked construction, and had recently traveled to Nebraska to attend his mother's funeral. He said that he had a wife and two kids at home but had become stranded in Utah and couldn't get back home to keep working. Without work he couldn't get home and all he needed was money for a bus ticket.


Just a week before, I had executed a brilliant plan to quit my lame desk job, take out a loan from, and travel to Europe to for 5 weeks to be my girlfriend. I didn't have much money, most of what I did have was borrowed, but my heart ached that I had the means to travel to be with the one I loved and he didn't.


So, with my travel plans imminent, pressing preparations looming, and two thousand dollars of borrowed money in my pocket, I did what any naïve 21 year-old, eager to solve the problems of the universe would do: I bought Darren a bus ticket home. I even bought him a ticket to the movies next door to the Greyhound station so he could kill some time while he was waiting the three hours for his bus to leave. I drove away from the bus station feeling great, like I'd really done something to make the world a better place and that I’d really helped someone.


Will Work for Food: Darren Double Take


I went to Europe, had an enchanting five weeks in Austria and Germany, and came back jobless and in debt but in love and happy to be alive.

I immediately began an all-out assault on the job market, desperate to join the ranks of that elite class of society known as “The Employed.” While driving around looking for anyone reckless enough to hire such an unfledged bohemian, I came off the same freeway off-ramp and to my great surprise, saw Darren standing there—same dude, different sign. And though I felt I might regret it, I did it anyway.


I turned around, picked him up (again) and took him to lunch (again). Darren didn't seem to remember me. I told him that I was the kid who bought him the ticket to San Diego about six weeks earlier and I didn't mind telling him that I was a little pissed off that he was still stranded in Utah when I had paid his way home. I asked him why he didn't go to San Diego. He said he'd lost his bus ticket while at the movies. I told him that I felt that he'd taken advantage of me. He just sort of shrugged and went about eating his Big Mac. We went our separate ways.


Lessons Learned

In the years that followed, I'd see Darren now and again. His hair would be longer and he'd grown a beard. Every time that I saw him, he looked older. Time on the street was certainly not being kind to him.

Online Yoga Nidra Teacher Training

Still, I couldn't judge Darren too harshly. Despite the fact that he took advantage of me, I couldn't help but worry about him, this guy I didn't know. The more I thought about it, Darren didn't seem all the way right in his mind, you know? How could someone who probably needed institutional help be out there at the mercy of the streets?


For me, Darren put a real face on the entire blight homelessness. He made something huge and abstract very small and personal to me. And I guess that was the deeper realization for this naïve kid who thought he could somehow fix the world's problems with a little pocket money: that homelessness is bigger than buying someone a Big Mac and or even springing for a Greyhound ticket for somebody.


Looking back, I have also learned that it's not bad to try. Even if the results are different than what you'd hoped for. I learned that the answer isn't to stop trying, but to try in better ways. How could I not try when Darren in out there somewhere?


More than 20 years later, even though I think it's wisest to donate time or money to the shelter, I still can't resist giving a few coins to someone down on their luck. And though I wouldn't do it again, I don't regret buying Darren a Greyhound ticket to San Diego.


Yes, I hope Darren gets what he deserves: happiness, a warm meal, and the chance to be with the people he loves.


I'm not the less for trying. Nor am I a saint. Who knows, someday if I'm down and out, maybe some guy named Darren will buy be a Big Mac and a ticket back home.


Compassion for The World Starts Within

I believe the entrance into compassion for the outside world is to first develop a ready and familiar compassion for Self. Yoga is the best way I know to honor and nurture all aspects of Self. It may seem oblique, but in this light, coming to yoga practice or practicing yoga on your own is a powerful preliminary to helping solve the world's problems. It doesn't preclude us from lifting a finger in other ways, it just helps us lift said finger from the place of a clear mind, strong body, and a pure heart.


Scott


Yoga Nidra Meditation Training

6-Week Virtual Yoga Nidra Series

January 20–February 24, 2019



Why You Should Start Using Himalayan Salt Lamps During Yoga

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Ever seen one of these glowing rocks at the yoga studio, chiro office, or crystals/dragons/rainbow shop? What are they and what are there benefits? My wife has one of these that lights up her meditation space. Well, the following is an article sent to me by Eddie Gilani who explains all of it.

Himalayan salt lamps are incredibly popular nowadays; it seems like shops peddling these lamps are everywhere now, and there are no signs of this trend slowing down. Some people buy them because they’re a cute novelty item to decorate their homes with. But Himalayan salt lamps are more than just an attractive accessory, they can also help improve your mind, body, and soul.



What are Himalayan salt lamps and how do they work?

As the name implies, these lamps are made out of salt from the Himalayan mountainside. They can come in pretty much any color, but the most common ones are usually pink or orange. After they are mined, the salt is formed into a huge chunk which is then hollowed out to fit a light bulb inside.

Ancient civilizations were known to use salt therapy to soothe minor ailments and increase mood and energy levels. Extensive research has been done on salt therapy and whether or not it does any of the things it’s been claimed to do..

Himalayan salt lamps are known to contain the same 84 natural elements and minerals found in the human body. These lamps store vibrational energy, also called negative ions, which have a host of health benefits when released. They can also purify and detoxify your room by getting rid of nasty toxins and contaminants in the air. Himalayan salt lamps are 100% safe for humans, but you should take care to keep it out of reach of small children and pets.



Health benefits of Himalayan Salt Lamps

Reduces asthma and allergy symptoms

Nothing interrupts a yoga session more effectively than a fit of sneezing. Himalayan salt lamps naturally remove dust, bacteria, and germs from the air, allowing you to take deep breaths of pure, clean air.


Enriches your surroundings with negative ions

Negative ions, which are also found in nature, is proven to increase energy levels, promote better oxygen flow to the brain, and leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. You could get your dose of negative ions from going out in nature, but that’s not always feasible; a Himalayan salt lamp will deliver similar results without any of the hassles.


Promotes a stronger, healthier body

You need your body to be in tip-top shape if you want to pull off more difficult poses. Himalayan salt lamps help to reduce inflammation in your muscles, preventing cramps and allowing for a full range of movement. It can also help soothe migraines, headaches, and other respiratory complaints.


Helps you concentrate during your session

Sometimes your mind can’t help but wander during yoga practice, even though you know it’s important to stay focused if you want to get the full range of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. The negative ions in Himalayan salt lamps help to counter the positively-charged electromagnetic field we are exposed to every day, which can cause poor focus, stress, frustration, fatigue, and depression.


Aren’t Himalayan salt lamps incredible? Use one in your practice today and feel the difference.

Visit their shop.

Guided Meditation for Sleep

Guided Meditations for Sleep

The World Needs YOU to Teach Yoga

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Yoga Teachers Workshop

Can you remember a yoga class that really changed you?


This email is for my everybody, but especially my yoga teaching friends or those who might be interested in teaching Yoga.

Have you had a yoga class that for some reason really moved you? What was it about that class that made such a difference? What did that teacher do that moved you so much?

If you're a teacher, do you realize that YOU have the power to powerfully touch people's lives like no one else can? It's true. Your unique, gifts, interests and talents make you uniquely qualified to touch people in a way that only you can. 

Ever wonder why your yoga classes aren't thriving, or you're feeling a little burned out with teaching, or questioning whether or not you even want to teach anymore? Do you wish you were making more money teaching yoga so you could quit your day job and only teach yoga?

One reason your teaching and opportunities aren't thriving could be because you're not tapped into and teaching from your own authenticity.

When you're teaching what you love, what interests you, and what you're not only passionate about but what you know a helluva lot about, teaching is not only effortless, it is abundant. 

If you read my 2nd to last blog post, I spelled out the formula for success as given me by my favorite business prof in college, which I live by, and truly believe. He said:

Interest breeds excellence. Excellence breeds opportunities.

When you are teaching what interests you, what you're passionate about, your excellence, your natural talent for teaching, rises to the surface. Opportunities arise as you attract the people who are pickin' up what you're puttin' down. 

Don't worry about the rest of the people who aren't interested in your offering. Other teachers with other gifts will teach them.  

If you're interested in optimizing your teaching and learning how to grow your opportunities to teach yoga, and get paid what you're worth, I'd like to invite you to attend my live and online Yoga Teachers Workshop this Saturday, November 11th at 2 pm ET, 1 pm CT, 12 pm MT, 11 am PT.

It's virtual so you can do it from your own home. Besides learning key principles about teaching and the biz of yoga, you will meet with teachers from all over the country for discussion and networking.

Also, if you can't make the time, I'm recording the audio/video so you can still register and watch it later. 

In this workshop, I want to share with you some of the invaluable things I've learned over 17 years of teaching yoga, not only about leveraging your gifts for extraordinary teaching, but also about some of the industry secrets to make a living which I've learned over in the past 17 years.

There's a good chance you can write this off on your taxes, plus it counts as hours for continuing education for Yoga Alliance.

This could be the most valuable workshop you will ever attend for you yoga teaching and your career.

Plus, I'll give you your money back if you don't think it was worth your time.

Join me!
 

Check out what one of my Mentor Students said about my yoga teachers coaching:

“I have followed Scott’s career for years. He is someone who walks his talk and shows his deep knowledge for all things yoga in every class or conversation. He is extremely grounded and dedicated to this work. As a mentor, Scott was literally “an all things” coach to me. He helped me overcome mindset of owning this soul calling of teaching and supported me in times of doubt. He helped me discover my strengths as a teacher, ways to make this into a thriving business and conceptualize an idea into a breathing business. From technical help on my website to marketing and deepening the mechanics of teaching, he helped me with all of it. He is extremely professional with a very personal approach. He truly cares about his clients and the integrity of this work. I am so grateful for this program to work one on one with such a well-rounded leader in the yoga space. ” J.J.

Details

How much: $45

When: Saturday, November 11th 2-4 pm ET, 1-3 pm CT, 12-2 pm MT, 11 am to 1 pm PT

Where: Your house, via our virtual learning space. You'll need a laptop, computer, iPad, or smart device with an internet connection. 

A Moveable Feast

“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

~Earnest Hemmingway. Excerpt from A Movable Feast

New York Yoga.jpg

In Paris, we rented a very small and completely perfect half-room apartment on the third floor. To call it a one-room apartment would be to grossly exaggerate its scale. Our only window looked out onto a common space, a sort of chimney of light that allowed each apartment both the pleasure of natural night and the pleasure of being a voyeur into the lives of our neighbors. For breakfast we ate warm omelets with fresh melted goat cheese that Seneca cooked on the hot plate. Seneca said the cheese was too strong and tasted like a sheep’s utter. I loved the strong cheese and we both swooned over a small salad of fresh arugula and the freshest tomatoes and strawberries so flavorful that it made me feel like I’d never before eaten something called a strawberry.

Photo by David Newkirk

Photo by David Newkirk

After breakfast we left the apartment and descended the old but sturdy stairs down the narrow, winding staircase and made another day of walking the streets of Paris. Walking down our street I again felt like a voyeur looking into the lives of the people around me, like those sitting outside in the small seats of the Café Italien on the corner that served fresh-squeezed orange juice and delicious smooth coffee by the owner who was as warm as her coffee one day and as cold as her orange juice the next. Sitting in his usual seat was the middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair and neat moustache who seemed not to mind to run the errands on his scooter, nor mind being readily criticized by the other regulars of whom there seemed to be the same three or four, always with their commentary of the goings on in their petite corner of the world. We walked along the Rue Du Pont Aux Choux to Rue Vieille Du Temple, the small road which seemed to my navigational senses a main artery into the colorful quarter of the Marais and 3eme Arrondissement with its small, bright shops, historic buildings and boulangeries. This road led us directly to the Rue Des Rosiers, the small jewel of a street, like a vein of gold in the rough, that was home to the both the orthodox Jews and the gays, a street that served the finest falafel from boisterous Israelis, and where you can find the tidy shop of the most master crêpe-maker I believe I will ever know. 

Sourcing Your True Power: an online Yoga Nidra course

Discover your untold possibilities through the relaxing practice of Yoga Nidra. 

 

Later that day as we left the Musée d’Orsay, the canvas of our mind painted by the colors of Cézanne, Monet, Van Gough, and Renoir, we walked down the narrow streets searching for the artisan pâtisserie and some mineral water. Looking around, the thought entered me that people are just people wherever you go. Whether in Paris or anywhere else, people need to belong. We all need to be loved. We all need to find purpose and beauty in the world whether that is through art, music, architecture, numbers, teaching, children, nature, or all of it. And looking around at this city showed me the miracles that people can perform when they believe in something. Everywhere I turned, I saw a spirit of strength and determination and capacity for beauty and meaning. I saw it in their architecture, their cathedrals and palaces and their houses and most poignantly by simply watching them live out another day in their regular lives. I saw it in the way they decorated their little shops and showed great care about their cafés and restaurants, the prim waiter with his pressed shirt and manicured mustache and his full-length apron, standing at elegant attention hoping to show off his mastery of service because that was his art, to impeccably serve un café and croissant and make correct change and whisk you away when you were finished with a polite “Merci. Bonjour!” The next evening we sat in the small wooden pews of Nôtre Dame at the free organ concert. Here, I felt the beauty and strength of the human spirit, past and present, like a weight in my heart and lump in my throat as the deep pedal tones of that organ shook that holy palace at its foundation and opened my eyes perhaps for the first time to the height of the ceiling and light of the stained glass windows, a peach sunset at our backs making color dance upon the giant grey stones. I felt the strength of those rough hands that built that edifice of solid rock hundreds of years ago which stands in the form of a giant cross to remind us all what is directly in the center of vertical and horizontal, that magical place between what is spiritual and what is temporal, that place that is now. And whether on the yoga mat or at Nôtre Dame, presence allows us the same vision into the divine part that is within all of us.

Whether it’s the tourist who snaps a photo of the Mona Lisa on their phone and rushes off to something else hoping somehow to take it now and maybe look at it some other time, or it’s the local who never takes the time to get up into the mountains because there will be plenty of time later, it all speaks to the same thing: presence. It’s about this moment which if lived fully might express itself into something that could last into centuries or if wasted by living too much in the future or past never really happens. Without presence, we will never have our movable feast, we will never taste the cheese, see the stained glass, or feel the beauty of anything.

I invite you to come to yoga this week and practice presence. I invite you to move about your daily life with presence and experience your own movable feast.