Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Today’s Spirit Animal and Asana: Praying Mantis

September 16, 2011

The Praying Mantis by Ogden Nash

From whence arrived the praying mantis?
From outer space, or lost Atlantis?
glimpse the grin, green metal mug
at masks the pseudo-saintly bug,
Orthopterous, also carnivorous,
And faintly whisper, Lord deliver us.

My husband and I have been trying to have an Outdoor Movie night all summer.  Between busy friends and rain, we finally had our chance last Saturday, September 10, 2011.  We decided to screen two Muppet Movies.  It was to be an old school double feature.  We decided to watch The Muppet Movie, (1979) my favorite of the Muppet Movies.  Our Second feature was to be my husband’s favorite, The Great Muppet Caper (1981).

We watched both movies…note to self: Schedule next outdoor movie night closer to a New Moon instead of near a Full Moon.

Other than the bright moonlight, everything went well.  We even had people stick around to help us dismantle everything.

Being a photographer, I used a background and stands for the screen.

As we began breaking down the backdrop, we noticed a Praying Mantis.  He did not want to leave our screen.  We put the stands down, carried the cloth and he still hung on.  Finally, I had to move our little friend so I could take the equipment into the house.

As spirit Animals, Praying Mantises are all about calm, quiet, stillness and are perfect symbols for meditation.  They show is to be patient with others as well as ourselves.  They channel female warrior energy. When a praying mantis appears in your life it is asking you to direct your energy, thoughts or actions in a different way. “Follow Mantis” means putting that core aspect of yourself, your foundation of Spirit, at the helm and let it direct your intellect and ultimately your life.

Now on to the asana:  Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis is a balancing squat that helps open hips.

  • Begin in Table Pose
  • Curl toes under and begin to walk hands back towards your knees
  • Roll back onto your feet and allow your knees to come up off of the floor
  • Inhale your arms up, overhead
  • Interlace your fingers, index fingers up
  • Exhale, keeping your arms straight, lower your arms and lean torso forward
  • Point your fingers to the floor
  • Drishti is at your fingers
  • Hold for several breaths
  • Release to child’s pose for a few breaths

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Today’s Spirit Animal and Asana: Grasshopper

September 22, 2010

I’ve been encountering a lot of wild life lately.  It seems they have a message.

This Grasshopper actually landed on my arm and hung out there until I moved him to this plant.

Grasshoppers are Good Luck.  They symbolize abundance (perfect for the Autumnal Equinox).  Grasshoppers teach us to move forward and take chances, to act on a whim and jump in.  Grasshoppers give us bravery to listen to our internal voices.

In yoga, Grasshopper Posture, better known as Locust Pose or Shalabha-asana, teaches us to looking inward.  We open our hearts in back bends.  We learn compassion, to love and forgive.  Strengthening our backs helps us to stand tall in the assuredness that we have all the answers and we will eventually prosper.

How to perform Shalabha-asana (Locust or Grasshopper Pose):

  • Lay on your mat, belly down, arms at your sides
  • Inhale and lift your chest, neck, head and legs
  • Hold posture, and breathe
  • Relax your neck and bring your shoulders away from your ears
  • Open your Heart Chakra
  • Inhale and lift a bit higher
  • Drishti (eye gaze) is up, about where walls and ceilings generally meet
  • Lower back to your mat on an Exhale
  • After you complete Locust Pose, relax in Child’s Pose (Balasana)

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September 22, 2010 is the Autumnal Equinox

September 21, 2010

Equinoxes are a time of change and balance.

The word “equinox” means equal, and “nox,” means “night.  The two Equinoxes have an equal amount of day and night.

The Autumnal Equinox is a time to give thanks and rejoice in the abundance in your life.

Give thanks by holding a food drive or creating a gratitude list.  Try spending time in nature.

Try this Gratitude Ritual:

  • Face NORTH – Give thanks for your home, finances and health.
  • Face EAST – Give thanks for the knowledge you posses.
  • Face SOUTH – Give thanks for accomplishments in your career.
  • Face WEST – Give thanks for your spiritual growth and development.

Make a dream pillow by stitching two 7″ square pieces of fabric together and fill with two cups of some sound sleep, deep dream, better dream-recall herbs such as hops, lavender flowers, rosemary and rose petals.

Create a meal with some traditional fall foods like Squash, Apples, Root Veggies, Corn, Wine and Beer.

Practice Yoga and Meditation. Try some Balance Asanas like Tree, Eagle, Crane, Warrior III, Dancer’s Pose and half Moon Balance.  Try Alternate Nostril Breathing.

Find Balance with this Candle Ritual:

Light both a white and a black candle, and repeat:

A balance of night and day, a balance of light and dark
Tonight I seek balance in my life
as it is found in the Universe.
A black candle for darkness and pain
and things I can eliminate from my life.
A white candle for the light, and for joy
and all the abundance I wish to bring forth.
At Mabon, the time of the equinox,
there is harmony and balance in the Universe,
and so there shall be in my life.

For more info, check up last year’s post Autumnal Equinox 2009

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Alternate Nostril Breathing: (Nadi Shodhana or Anuloma Viloma )

September 20, 2010

Alternate Nostril Breathing: (Nadi Shodhana or Anuloma Viloma )

Without know it, our natural breathing alternates from one nostril to the next.  We breathe through one nostril for about 2 hours, then we breath through the other nostril for around 2 hours and we continue on in this way.

The Right Nostril is considered Masculine; it controls energy, heat, force and competition

The Left Nostril is Feminine; it controls nurturing, calming and coolness.

Alternate Nostril Breathing is a technique in which you inhale through one nostril, and exhale through the opposite nostril.

This technique helps direct Prana (energy).  Alternating your breathing nostrils helps to bring balance to your life.  By soothing the nervous system, you become more relaxed and sleeping improves.  Practicing Nadi Shodhana is a great way to prepare for meditation.

How to Practice Nadi Shodhana

Come to a comfortable seated position

Begin to notice your breath

Begin with a few rounds of Dirga Pranayama (Three Part Breath)

When you are ready to begin, choose your hand position*.

Close your eyes.

Close your Left Nostril and Inhale through your Right Nostril

Switch Nostrils and Exhale through your Left Nostril (Right nostril is now closed)

Inhale through your Left Nostril (Switch fingers closing your left nostril and opening your right)

Exhale through your Right Nostril

This equals one round.  Try to repeat 6 more times for a total of 7 rounds.



After all seven rounds are complete, return to normal breathing.

*Mudras for Alternate Nostril Breathing

Vishnu Mudra:  use your right hand.  Right thumb holds right nostril closed, curled index and middle finger controls the left nostril.

I prefer to use a third eye mudra.  With your right hand, place your index and middle finger together on your third eye (Ajna chakra, the place between and slightly above your eyebrows).  Right thumb controls the right nostril, and the bent ring and pinky fingers control the Left nostril.
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Yoga Balance Poses

September 23, 2009

Asanas For Balance


Affirmation for Abundance:
I give thanks, now, for all that I have;
the seen and the unseen that are already mine.

Alternate Nostril Breath

Warm up

Sunflower Breath

Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

Chair – Utkatasana, lift up on toes

Crescent Moon – Ashta Chandrasana

Tree – Vrksasana

Standing, Knee to chest – Apanasana

Dancer – Natarajasana

Warrior III – Virabhadrasana III

Half Moon Pose – Ardha Chandrasana

Revolved Half Moon Pose – Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana

Horse Pose– Vatayanasana

Squat to Sit

To begin a harvest meditation sit straight, eyes closed, hands in lap and take a few even breaths – breathe in 4 counts; breathe out 4 counts; breathe in 4…