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Let Your Compassion Blossom

May 13, 2014 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

Let Your Compassion Blossom

by Nischala Joy Devi. May 12, 2014 Compassion is the sacred energy that flows through the heart chakra to each and every living thing in the universe. When accessed it allows us to feel a sense of oneness with all. Compassion blossoms as our inner guidance, especially when we study and teach yoga. It constantly reminds us that it is not the exactness of a technique that gives students the experience of Yoga, but the ability to access our own sacred energy. Compassion is fostered by our personal experience through hardships—physical, mental...

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Breath Meditation: See the World in a Different Way

May 1, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Breath Meditation: See the World in a Different Way

by Nischala Joy Devi. April 29, 2014. Here is a simple meditation, using your breath. Breath meditation is wonderful to help center and balance and reestablish calm on a busy day.To begin, sit comfortably on the floor or in a chair that supports you well. Observe your posture. Just thinking about meditation, your back will straighten and your shoulders and arms will come into a comfortable position. Allow your eyes to remain open and unfocused or gently close them. Take in a few deep breaths and let each one out slowly. Now, allow your breath...

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Mantras: Uplifting Words

Apr 20, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Mantras: Uplifting Words

by Nischala Joy Devi. April 18, 2014. The word “mantra” has found its way into our common language usage today. It is always amusing for me to open the newspaper and find the word mantra in the comics or the financial section. They use it to mean a word that, when spoken, wields its own power. In the ancient Sanskrit language Man means mind, tra to transcend. A mantra is a word, sound, or phrase that, when repeated, allows us to transcend the thoughts, the mind, and our ordinary view of the world. The constant repetition of the...

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Hum Into Spring With Yogic Breathing

Apr 8, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Hum Into Spring With Yogic Breathing

by Nischala Joy Devi April 8, 2014 At last! After a harsh winter in many parts of the U.S., Spring is here. People who have been bundled up for months are stepping outside and deeply breathing the fresh air. Although pranayama, the yogic breathing practices, do us good in every season, in every part of the world, this is a wonderful time to be reminded to make them part of your daily routine year round. As the bees start buzzing and visiting the new flowers, we are reminded of a lovely, simple, uplifting pranayama practice—Brahmari, the...

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Learning From Your Breath

Mar 28, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Learning From Your Breath

by Nischala Joy Devi. March 27, 2014. Reverse breathing is a habit that is born out of being frightened over and over again. As we feel fear, our “normal” sympathetic response is to inhale and hold the breath. This allows the blood to be shunted to our extremities, supplying the energy needed to fight or to flee. With this inhalation, the belly is also sucked in—as if the wind has been knocked out of us. (This is the opposite position the abdomen takes in the normal inhalation.) We then hold the breath in until the danger passes....

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Are You Holding Stress?

Mar 21, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Are You Holding Stress?

by Nischala Joy Devi. March 19, 2014. Most of us go through our lives with little awareness of the way different parts of our bodies hold tension and, of course, are eventually adversely affected. The more aware we are of the ways stress affects us physically, the more we can develop kindness toward our own bodies by taking time to release that stress. Deep Relaxation, Yoga Nidra, is a beautiful way to sharpen this awareness. As an example, think about the hands and arms. As we relax the hands and arms through Yoga Nidra, we realize the...

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Vairagya: Remembrance of the True Self

Mar 13, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Vairagya: Remembrance of the True Self

by Nischala Joy Devi. March 12, 2014. In the last couple blogs, I’ve been talking about Abhyasa and Vairagya two components that are essential to reunion with the True Self. Patanjali talks about this in the Yoga Sutras: Yoga Sutra 1.12 Consciousness is elevated by Abhyasa (Devoted Practice) and Vairagya (Remembering the Self) Last week I talked a bit about Abhyasa, Devoted Practice. Now, lets focus on Vairagya, Remembering the Self. Yoga Sutra 1.15 With constant remembrance of the Self, Vairagya, all yearnings fade. As our focus turns...

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Developing Devoted Practice, Abhyasa

Mar 3, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Developing Devoted Practice, Abhyasa

by Nischala Joy Devi. March 1, 2014 In last week’s blog, I talked about Abhyasa (Devoted Practice) and Vairagya (Remembering the Self)–the vital duo that team to elevate our consciousness and bring us union with the True Self. This week, let’s talk more about Abhyasa. What is the purpose of that Devoted Practice/Abhyasa? In Sutra 1.13 of the Yoga Sutras of Raja Yoga, we find the answer: Sutra 1.13 Devoted Practice, Abhyasa, cultivates the unfolding of consciousness. As we develop a deep friendship with our inner Self, the...

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Two Components to Reunion With Your True Self

Feb 21, 2014 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

Two Components to Reunion With Your True Self

by Nischala Joy Devi. February 18, 2014. We all want to soar in our yoga practice and spiritual growth. In the Yoga Sutras, Sri Patanjali talks about the importance of teaming devoted spiritual practice with remembrance of the True Self. Both are vital to our spiritual advancement. Book 1, Sutra 12 Consciousness is elevated by  Abhyasa (devoted practice) and Vairagya (remembering the self). Here are two necessary components to reunite us with our True Self. Imagine that Abhyasa, devoted practice, and Vairagya, remembering the Self, are two...

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Don’t Forget to Serve Yourself

Feb 6, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Don’t Forget to Serve Yourself

by Nischala Joy Devi. February 4, 2014. Knowing how much we have to give comes as we learn more about ourselves from the inside out, not from the opinions others have of us or how we would like to be. As we serve others without expecting rewards, our capacity for service grows. I loved participating in and then later leading ten-day silent yoga retreats. We would vary the daily activities. There was time for meditation, postures, breathing—all the practices that help us to know ourselves. During the day, there would always be a specific time...

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Bring Love to Your Service

Jan 23, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Bring Love to Your Service

by Nischala Joy Devi. January 22, 2014. When performing any kind of service—whether paid or volunteer—genuine love and care for those we serve makes all the difference in the quality of service, the effect on the people being served, and the effect on our own hearts. It is very difficult to separate the hand of service from the loving heart. They seem to harmonize with each other perfectly. We can compensate the lack of skill in doing a service with a generous amount of love. We can also balance the absence of total love with dedicated...

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Fresh Resolves for a New Year: Use All of Yoga

Jan 9, 2014 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

Fresh Resolves for a New Year: Use All of Yoga

by Nischala Joy Devi. January 7, 2014. It’s that time again–the beginning of a fresh, new year. It’s a time for reflection on our old habits and to make changes to better our lives. Often, I hear people reflect on and plan to make one change—”I am going to meditate more.” or “I will do some stretches three times a week.” But I would like to encourage you to consider making your changes a little broader. Over the years I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of people with various degrees of problems and...

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Breathe Past Holiday Stress

Dec 15, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Breathe Past Holiday Stress

by Nischala Joy Devi. December 14, 2013. This beautiful time of year is also one of the most stressful for many people. The rush and obligations of the holiday season—a season that should be simply joyful—can bring anxiety, worry and higher blood pressure. At times of stress many of us withdrawa from our physical bodies and draw into our minds and emotional bodies. Breathing becomes shallow. If the shallow breathing is left undetected, that in itself becomes a signal of stress. As the body and the nervous system react to the shallow...

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The Rhythm of the Spirit: Honor Your Intuition

Dec 8, 2013 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

The Rhythm of the Spirit: Honor Your Intuition

by Nischala Joy Devi. December 7, 2013. Before we begin to formulate a word or even a thought, a feeling is experienced that stems from a vibration. This vibration that triggers the feeling is then translated into a thought, a thought to a word, a word to writing—a complex process that happens in a heartbeat. When we read, the word is connected to a thought, which then traces back to a feeling or sensation. It happens so quickly and often that we fail to notice that each thought is the outgrowth of a feeling. We see this phenomenon echoed in...

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A Balance of Darkness & Light For Good Rest

Nov 26, 2013 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

A Balance of Darkness & Light For Good Rest

by Nischala Joy Devi. November 24, 2013 It seems that so many people these days are hungry for some good sleep. Our hectic, fast-paced lives often keep us from taking the time to set the stage for truly refreshing and healing sleep. But being aware of your sleep environment is vital to get the rest you need. Have a balance of darkness and sunlight filling your bedroom. We sleep deeper and longer when there is darkness. How much more difficult it is to get up in the dark on winter mornings then on bright summer mornings. In the dark, we...

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The Secret Power of Yoga Book Review

Nov 17, 2013 in Articles | 0 comments

The Secret Power of Yoga Book Review

by Danielle Fowler Devi, Nischala Joy. The Secret Power of Yoga: A Women’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras. New York, Three Rivers Press, Random House, Inc., 2007. An innovative, readable and insightful commentary of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Written from a feminine, heart-centered perspective this book is revolutionary, if not controversial. Devi has broken the mold of traditional, scholarly approaches of understanding the Yoga Sutras and has invited the novice into the world of Yogic philosophy. Anyone can read, understand...

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Sleep Well with the Maya Koshas

Nov 15, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Sleep Well with the Maya Koshas

by Nischala Joy Devi. November 14, 2013. If we investigate sleep through the subtle bodies, or Maya Koshas, we understand that there is much more to sleep then putting the head down on a soft pillow. Accessing and acknowledging these five subtle aspects takes us into the deep and restful sleep we need to achieve optimum physical, emotional, and mental health. Doing a few minutes of deep relaxation, physical poses, breathing, imagery, and meditation before bedtime assures us of a deep and peaceful rest. We can retreat back into our center and...

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Experiencing OM

Nov 3, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Experiencing OM

by Nischala Joy Devi November 2, 2013 OM is the sacred mantra of divinity. It is chanted and revered as the sound from which all other sounds resonate. , awakening universal consciousness. In this way, it is the guru of sounds, invoking the Divine Consciousness in every sound. A sacred sound must pluck the strings of our hearts in order to unite our entire being. Often we are accustomed to repeating the same prayer with our mind and heart engaged elsewhere. When that happens, the prayer is only given lip surface. The real grace comes when we...

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Prana: The Universal Energy

Oct 24, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Prana: The Universal Energy

by Nischala Joy Devi. October 23, 2013. Let’s talk about prana, the vital energy. Inhabiting and surrounding each cell of our physical body and is the universal energy called prana (this energy is named qi in Japan and chi in China). Everything in the natural world has a field of energy surrounding and circulating through it. At different times the quality and quantity of prana may vary. For example, a tree in winter would have less circulating prana than a tree in springtime. There is more energy needed for a tree to flower then to...

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What Is Active Imagery?

Oct 10, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

What Is Active Imagery?

by Nischala Joy Devi. October 9, 2013. Recently, someone wrote in with a question, asking, “What is meant by active imagery?” In active imagery we formulate an action to work directly on an area in need of healing and, with concentration, we project that image to do the task. In choosing an active imagery tool for yourself it is helpful to base it on the stronger of your sentences. If possible, it’s good to combine the senses. For example, I may see a color and also feel its quality—as in a blue, cooling light or a warm, yellow...

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Keep Your Heart Light

Oct 4, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Keep Your Heart Light

by Nischala Joy Devi. October 3, 2013. In ancient Egypt, after death, the heart was removed from the body to be measured against the weight of a feather. If the heart was found to be heavier than the feather’s weight, the person was considered not ready for admission to heaven. The scale, although normally the measure of physical weight, was thought to reveal the degree of emotional heaviness held in the heart. The lighthearted were presumably permitted entry through a special ritual, as their physical heart was given a place of honor in...

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Start The Day Relaxed & Limber

Sep 23, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Start The Day Relaxed & Limber

by Nischala Joy Devi. September 23, 2010. The time of day for practice of the yoga poses, asanas, can be determined by the busyness of your schedule. Early morning seems to work well for many because the day’s activities are not yet in full force. The mind is calmer, and the lists for the day have not yet begun. Having the recommended empty stomach for the practice is also easier at this time. The poses may look better later in the day, when the body naturally has more flexibility; yet, the effect of doing them earlier can actually help...

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Asteya: Never Miss An Opportunity to Give

Sep 14, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Asteya: Never Miss An Opportunity to Give

by Nischala Joy Devi. September 14, 2013.   Asteya: Abiding in generosity and honesty, material and spiritual prosperity is bestowed. -The Yoga Sutras This wonderful teaching from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Asteya, is one of the ethical teachings of yoga. Asteya encompasses not only generosity with money and giving of things, but also generosity with time and giving from our hearts. As we start to bring Asteya into our lives, we can see ways in which we are less than generous or  subtle ways that we “steal” by not being...

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Imagery: All Things Are Possible

Sep 7, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Imagery: All Things Are Possible

by Nischala Joy Devi. September 7, 2013. A great story of healing came from a dear friend who was out for a walk on a wintry day. She stopped in the library; and, by the time she departed, the weather had turned to freezing rain and sleet. Putting her coat over her head to protect her from the elements, she proceeded to dash across the street. The oncoming car’s windows were a bit foggy, and my friend’s coat was gray. When the car finally stopped, Mary was down on the ground, unable to move her legs. The confusion that followed was...

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Ahimsa: Love & Reverence for All

Aug 31, 2013 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

Ahimsa: Love & Reverence for All

by Nischala Joy Devi. August 31, 2013 Embracing reverence and love for all (Ahimsa), we experience oneness. Yoga Sutra II:35 Most often this exalted virtue of Ahimsa is translated simply as “non-harming” or even “nonviolence.” Again, we visit the idea of placing a “non-” in front of a negative trait telling us what not to do instead of how to espouse our true nature. It implies that we are “inherently” violent and that mischief may be lurking somewhere in the background of our minds. You may even feel insulted by the...

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Meditation to Withdraw the Senses – Pratyahara

Aug 22, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Meditation to Withdraw the Senses – Pratyahara

by Nischala Joy Devi. August 21, 2013. Our senses are wonderful tools, but they can also pull our attention here, there, and everywhere. The yogic practice of pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses, helps us have control over them and use them well, rather than being distracted by them. Here is a guided meditation to help experience the senses and draw our awareness inward. This is a profound relaxation practice for bringing in all of the outward sensual consciousness. We begin with the physical body, then move to the breath, thoughts, and...

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Natural Vitality with Balanced Food

Aug 15, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Natural Vitality with Balanced Food

by Nischala Joy Devi. August 14, 2013. Sattwic, or balanced, food brings vitality and health to the body and peace and joy to the mind. It is food that is simple, tasty, and as close to its natural form as possible. When food is natural, we eat less of it; our bodies are nurtured and satisfied, and our minds are in harmony. Balanced foods satisfy our need, not our greed. They allow us to stop when we are physically satisfied without coaxing us. Do you remember the famous commercial challenging us to try to eat just one potato chip, knowing...

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A Meditation: Dissolving the Five Kleshas

Aug 7, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

A Meditation: Dissolving the Five Kleshas

by Nischala Joy Devi. August 7, 2013. In last week’s blog post, I talked a bit about the kleshas (the veils over the inner Light) and why dissolving them will bring us full awareness of that Light. Here is a guided mediation that can help dissolve those kleshas. Take your time with each of these steps and see where they take you. Find a comfortable position, either lying down on the floor or on your bed. Place your right hand on your lower belly and your left hand on your heart. Observe your breath. Is it deep and regular? Shallow and...

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Dissolve the Veils Over Your Inner Light

Jul 31, 2013 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

Dissolve the Veils Over Your Inner Light

by Nischala Joy Devi. July 30, 2013. There are five veils, kleshas, that cover the light of the Divine Self, obscuring it from recognition. When we become aware of them, the veils dissolve one by one, and the Divine Light within is seen again. Dissolving the five kleshas, or veils, brings forth the radiance of the Divine Self. The five kleshas are: Avidya: innocence of our Divine nature Asmita: undue trust in the individual self Raga: excessive fondness of fleeting pleasures Dvesa: excessive avoidance of unpleasant experiences Abhinivesah:...

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Pick a Technique You Love

Jul 11, 2013 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Pick a Technique You Love

by Nischala Joy Devi. July 10, 2013. When we are choosing tools for work or play, we must take the time to select the correct size, shape, texture, and level of use. I may like the look and feel of advanced skis; yet, if I am a beginner, the skis designed for beginners suit me best. When selecting food for a special meal, we prefer food that is tasty as well as nutritious. It is with that same consciousness that we embrace a meditation technique. Today, there are many great techniques to choose from. The goal of any technique is to keep the...

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