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Saucha: Cultivate Simplicity, Purity, Refinement

Oct 23, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Saucha: Cultivate Simplicity, Purity, Refinement

by Nischala Joy Devi. October 21, 2014. Yoga Sutra II.40 Through simplicity and continual refinement (Saucha), the body, thoughts, and emotions become clear reflections of the Self within. Yoga Sutra II.41  Saucha reveals our joyful nature, and the yearning for knowing the Self blossoms.   Through the practice of Saucha our flawless essence becomes the basis for the choices and directions we invite into our life. Pure silver is a lucid and shiny metal. Unrefined, it appears ordinary, its luminescence hidden. The process requires the...

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There’s More to Yoga Than Stretches

Oct 12, 2014 in blog, Featured | 2 comments

There’s More to Yoga Than Stretches

by Nischala Joy Devi. October 9, 2014. Occasionally, I see or hear about heart patients who are following a yoga, stress management, and dietary regime but the results are not good. Their cholesterol, blood pressure, or chest pain is still above normal. Why is this not working for them? It is not just a matter of doing a yoga program or of going through the motions. The poses, breathing, and meditation are practices that draw us inward. They must be balanced with the external. How do we treat or mistreat our own bodies and minds? How do we...

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Feminine Uniqueness & Yoga

Oct 1, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Feminine Uniqueness & Yoga

by Nischala Joy Devi. September 30, 2014 A woman’s body and her emotional makeup have unique qualities that need special attention. Many of the yoga poses need to be adapted to the female body. Yet, our special needs are ignored if we follow traditional asana instruction rather than our intuition. The asanas were designed for the needs of the male body. While gentle pressure and squeezing help to improve blood circulation and health, too-vigorous bending and stretching can harm the softer and less muscular female body. I would always...

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Skip the Excuses! Enjoy Your Practice.

Sep 18, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Skip the Excuses! Enjoy Your Practice.

by Nischala Joy Devi. September 17, 2014. I have had the privilege of teaching yoga as stress management for many years to all populations, including people with life-threatening diseases. It always amazes me how many excuses I hear for not doing the practices. To help yourself heal a physical or mental malady vigilance is required. Vigilance is important even if you don’t have to be concerned about a particular health problem. If you are lucky enough to be doing the practices for prevention, I suggest that you allow them to take a...

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Love & Light with Every Heartbeat – A Guided Meditation

Sep 12, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Love & Light with Every Heartbeat – A Guided Meditation

by Nischala Joy Devi. September 11, 2014. Sit quietly as you take in a few deep inhalations and let them out very slowly. Allow the breath to return to normal observe it as it slowly flows in and out. Bring your awareness to the light in your heart, where the Divine spirit resides. With each inhalation observe the light in the heart brighten. On the exhalation, allow that light to flow out to the earth as love. Allow the light to expand till it becomes the size of the heart; the whole body; and then let it fill the entire room. As you inhale,...

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The Magic Wand: Our Intuitive Wisdom

Aug 29, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

The Magic Wand: Our Intuitive Wisdom

by Nischala Joy Devi. August 27, 2014. Difficulties manifest because we do not understand that everything in this natural world changes and cannot be slowed, halted, or possessed. The only thing we can hold on to is the knowledge of the True Self. Once upon a time there was a great queen. Graced by realizing the eternal truth that ultimately she could not possess anything, she decided to free all her possessions. She issued a proclamation to the entire principality, offering her worldly goods to anyone who wanted them. The only restriction was...

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Nourish Your Senses: Neck & Shoulder Movements

Aug 21, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Nourish Your Senses: Neck & Shoulder Movements

by Nischala Joy Devi. August 20, 2014. So many of us spend much of the day hunched over a computer or a tablet or a smartphone. Our neck and shoulders become tense, tight and even painful. Our senses and our wits become dull. Take time, several times a day, to step away from your work or your online play. Stretch. Breathe in deeply. Move. Of course, it’s wonderful if you have the time and space to do a few asanas, yoga poses, but you might not be able to do that much in the middle of the day. Here are two things you can take care of...

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Your Creative, Positive Imagination

Aug 7, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Your Creative, Positive Imagination

by Nischala Joy Devi. August 6, 2014 Imagination is the third Ray of consciousness. When it is illuminated, it becomes the path leading us to and from our heart’s center. Imagination allows us to create an unlimited number of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. An image is felt, and from that a thought, a word, or an action sprouts. When it is bathed in negative imagination, the image can have an unsettling effect. For instance, worry is the most prevalent form of imagination for many people. All of us have been frightened by...

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How Does Your Belief System Influence Your Life?

Jul 31, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

How Does Your Belief System Influence Your Life?

by Nischala Joy Devi. July 30, 2014. Many belief systems seem to hold that difficulty is beneficial. This is reinforced by the all too popular adage: “No pain, no gain.” Perhaps we should reconsider this philosophy. A small measure of discomfort may be necessary to encourage growth, but how much? Our hearts hold the hope that growth can be gained through love and kindness. After a complicated dental procedure, I was given a prescription for pain medication. “Thank you,” I said, returning the slip to the dentist. “I don’t take...

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The Mind Envisions Energy; The Body Follows

Jul 24, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

The Mind Envisions Energy; The Body Follows

by Nischala Joy Devi. July 23, 2014. The yoga movements are often referred to as poses rather than stretches to emphasize that they are done very slowly and held steady. More intense stretching in an attempt to force your muscles to lengthen may actually make the tension worse as the muscles recoil. What makes yoga stretching different from most exercise is the additional benefit to the internal organs, glands, and nervous and cardiovascular systems. There are poses particularly beneficial to the endocrine glands, the organs of digestion and...

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The Best Way to Start Your Day

Jul 16, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

The Best Way to Start Your Day

by Nischala Joy Devi. July 15, 2014. Greet each new day with joy, thankfulness, and reverence. Have a feeling of anticipation, looking forward to what the day will bring. If worries spring to mind, set them aside. Let your mind come back to the present moment. “Now I am stretching to help my body wake up. Now I am brushing my teeth. Now I am sitting for meditation. ” And so on. Let gratitude fill your heart. Focusing your attention on the everyday gifts that nature gives you can help you cultivate reverence. In my own life, just...

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The Healing Path of Yoga – Republished!

Jul 7, 2014 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

The Healing Path of Yoga – Republished!

The Healing Path of Yoga (Re-Published with a New Cover!) Time-Honored Wisdom and Scientifically   Proven Methods that Alleviate Stress,  Open your Heart, and Enrich your Life     By Nischala Joy Devi Foreword by Dean Ornish, M.D. Stress is now considered the foremost contributor to poor health and a major factor in causing heart disease, cancer and a myriad of chronic and acute diseases. This book will make yoga a fundamental part of your quest for wellness and well-being, whether you are a novice or a current...

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The Best Asana, Keep It Simple

Jun 26, 2014 in blog, Featured, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Best Asana, Keep It Simple

by Nischala Joy Devi. June 25, 2014. Once I was asked to give a lecture and demonstration on yoga poses at a local junior high school. I thought it would be inspiring to show them some of the more complicated poses—more complicated than I was capable of, so I asked a friend who was an adept Hatha Yogi to come with me. I spoke and he demonstrated. All went well until one of the more chipper students yelled at me, “Hey! Why are you just sitting doing nothing? Why don’t you do some poses too?” In fact, I had been sitting still, only...

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Mantras, Prayers – The Real Power Comes From the Heart

Jun 13, 2014 in blog, Featured | 1 comment

Mantras, Prayers – The Real Power Comes From the Heart

by Nischala Joy Devi. June 12, 2014. When expressed with great devotion, the sacred sound reveals our Divine nature. Yoga Sutra 1.28 The 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. Then the prayer is only given lip service. The real grace comes when we are unified on all levels of our being. By faithful repetition, the inner light luminously shines. Yoga Sutra 1.29 The real secret is to have a full and...

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Remembering Maya Angelou: An Exquisite Test of Faith

May 29, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Remembering Maya Angelou: An Exquisite Test of Faith

by Nischala Joy Devi. May 28, 2014. This morning I heard the news that a beautiful, dynamic light had passed on. Maya Angelou was to me, as she was to so many, a real mentor and trailblazer. Especially women, all women, can have gratitude for her strong, powerful and compassionate leadership. She will be deeply missed, but I’m grateful that her empowering words will live with us always. In my book The Secret Power of Yoga I used one of her stories to illustrate the perfect blending of Tapas, Swadhaya and Iswara Pranidhana: An Exquisite...

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Love: Enjoy the Peaks and the Valleys

May 25, 2014 in blog, Featured | 0 comments

Love: Enjoy the Peaks and the Valleys

by Nischala Joy Devi. May 23, 2014. We humans cause ourselves so many problems by expecting that life and our relationships should always be on the upswing without, then, swinging in the opposite direction. In fact, our lives and even the most loving relationships are filled with highs and lows. Continually striving for the highs in life, we will probably find that they elude us, and we will feel compelled to climb to steeper and steeper plateaus. We enjoy the thrill of the highest mountain, but dislike roaming around in the endless valleys...

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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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