Monday, March 30, 2009

April Monthly Theme: Klesas

The April theme of the month highlights the Klesas, or the obstacles that get in the way of us reaching Samadhi, or enlightenment. The idea is to minimize the five Klesas. They are with us always but we want to weaken them.

The Five Klesas are:

Avidya – Ignorance or better yet… lack of awareness

Asmita – The feeling of individuality which limits a person and distinguishes him from a group and which may be physical, mental, intellectual or emotional: EGO

Raga – Attachment or passion

Dvesa – Aversion or repulsion

Abhinivesa – Love or thirst for life, the instinctive clinging to life and bodily enjoyment and fear that one may be cut off from all by death.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

An Introduction to
Seasonal Detox and Cleansing

Almost everyone needs to detoxify and rest their body from time to time. Some of us need to cleanse more frequently or work more continually to rebalance our body. There are many types of cleanses that restore the body by eliminating toxins, thereby improving our ability to absorb nutrients. After cleansing, people usually find their digestion improves, resulting in clear skin, more energy and a healthier weight. Additionally, cleanses can balance moods and improve mental clarity, making you feel clear headed and present. Common toxicity symptoms include headache, fatigue, congestion, backaches, aching or swollen joints, digestive problems, allergy symptoms, and sensitivity to environmental agents. Dietary changes or avoidance of symptom causing agents is usually beneficial. It is advisable to do a cleanse 1 to 4 times a year.

Most importantly, cleansing is a form of yoga or union… and presence with what you are doing is fundamental. You will want to be aware of doing something kind for yourself, preparing foods lovingly, and making sure they are thoroughly savored and enjoyed.
Be creative when preparing a cleansing menu. Discover a variety of fruits and vegetables and make your salads colorful and adventurous. Eat only organic or local.

Cleanses can last on average 3-12 days and even longer if need be. Some people may choose a raw cleanse, an ayurvedic cleanse or even a juice fast. First you must decide the right level and length of cleanse for you, commit to it and move forward with mindful awareness. Listed below are a few recommendations:
  1. Eliminate meat, chicken, seafood, eggs. Substitute with beans, nuts, tofu, tempeh. Eat Kitcheree (mung beans and rice).
  2. Eliminate all foods including leftovers; foods with preservatives, additives or chemicals; and canned, frozen or processed foods.
  3. Eliminate heavy desserts, cheeses, fried foods, candy and chocolate, white sugar, carbonated drinks, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
  4. Drink lots of warm water with lemon.
  5. Consider eliminating dairy products.
  6. Eat only whole grains and non-yeasted breads: brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, Ezekial bread.
  7. Eliminate simple sugars. Substitute with brown rice syrup or agave nectar.
  8. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, nicotine.
  9. Drink herbal teas such as Licorice, Red Clover, or Dandelion which are blood cleansers & detoxifiers; or teas with coriander, cumin and fennel which are digestion enhancing spices.
  10. Cook with digestion-enhancing, detoxifying spices such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, clove, ginger, fennel.
  11. Consider taking food enzymes and drinking Emergen C packets each day.
  12. Use only natural soaps and oils on your body
  13. Neti daily.
  14. Do yoga, pranayama, and meditation daily.
  15. Take warm baths and get adequate sleep.

March Monthly Theme:
Dhyana & Samadhi

The monthly theme for March brings us to the last two limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, Dhyana and Samadhi.

From the previous limb or Dharana, we learned the importance of single pointed concentration. It is the foundation for the next limb, Dhyana, or meditation. It is at this point that there is uninterrupted flow of concentration. It is a fine distinction but at this point the mind has quieted and in the stillness it produces few or no thoughts at all. One is aware without focus. One has actually merged with the object of concentration. It has often been compared to rain drops falling. The rain drops themselves represent, dharana, or intermittent moments of focused attention. When they fall to Earth and create a river, there is a merging of the individual raindrops into one stream, like dhyana, or meditation.

The final limb is Samadhi, or enlightenment or super consciousness. Here we lose all attachment and are one with the meditation. Samadhi is the state in which we no longer experience reality through our own filters. Instead we experience reality directly. It is the state in which you are aware on a cellular level of the underlying oneness of the universe. Judith Lasater says ” Samadhi is a state of being intensely present without a point of view.” It is believed that we can achieve this in our everyday lives but is seems we need the journey of yoga to discover what was present inside us all along.