For me, the headstand is part of the training for the marathon, attempting to find balance and relaxation while being upside down. The eight steps are part of the day in and day out training, insuring safety and allowing for the small, incremental points of progress toward eventual mastery.
A few of the lectures this week had me thinking about why some people are challenged with so many physical ailments to deal with and such difficulties to face in their lives.
It seems that life is a marathon we are destined to run. It's a long and difficult journey.
Yogis say that we all suffer in life, and it is a matter of how equipped we are to deal with the suffering. Our karma bank from the past is like the 'wild cards' in board games, giving us those challenges, gifts and blessings without our having any notice or control over which 'wild card' we get.
One person may get a thorn in their foot and another may have an explosion on their path. The karma is based on our past thoughts and actions and reflect the positive and negative actions and thoughts of our mind. Those who win the lottery may have been very generous people in their past lives, and they are now reaping the karma from that generosity. Whether it is a blessing or not is debatable.
Each moment, we are creating new karma for the future, based on our thoughts and actions. Karma is only part of the equation though. Yogis teach that ultimately, we are all on a spiritual quest, in search of experiencing the oneness of ourselves with God, as part of the universe and beyond.
We each get to choose whether and how much we train for the long haul of our existence. The less we train, the more likely we will struggle often and more severely. Even a strong faith in God will not negate the need for this 'training' to live life.
Training is not easy, not convenient in many ways, not necessarily pleasant, nor does it provide immediate results in most cases. Think of the 5:30am wake up bell here and sitting in meditation at 6am daily. Yet, it is the discipline and preparation needed to survive the many obstacles we are all destined to face along our paths.
Living with grace and love makes the journey more joy filled.
This living a yogic-Ayurvedic lifestyle (training) here at the Ashram, included some fascinating teachings this week.
The Near-Death Experience & The Soul Symposium led by MD, PhD Raymond Moody and Eben Alexander, MD, neurosurgeon who shared his own experience into another world was intriguing. Hearing these two men tell of tens of thousands of cases of experiences of clinically dead people, who came back to life with incredible stories, pointed clearly to the reality of an after-life.
Dr. Moody, as a philosopher and doctor, has wrestled with and studied the topic for nearly 50 years. He is a best-selling author of 12 books, including Life After Life.
Neurosurgeon and past Harvard Medical School professor in neurosurgery, Dr. Eben Alexander lived his near death experience just a few years ago. His book, Proof of Heaven, chronicles his experience.
These two men are dedicated to reconciling medical science and spirituality and believe that soon the medical community will be forced to 'say something' significant and concrete about these increasingly reported occurrences, in order to figure out how to help patients deal with them.
There are many studies disproving the previously held theory of oxygen being cut off to the brain causing hallucinations, as the explanation. Recently, respected medical journals have reported extensively on the phenomena of near death experience, which would have been unheard of even 10 years ago.
While these evening presentations were the backdrop of the week, I also took a teacher training course in iRest yoga nidra.
This practice is a research-based meditation, relaxation and healing protocol that deeply calms the nervous system. Yoga nidra (yogic sleep - deep relaxation without fully sleeping) is helpful for insomnia, anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress syndrome and a host of other conditions.
Molly Birkholm survived a horrific accident, wherein the driver of the car was decapitated, and she was nearly paralyzed and suffered major injuries to her spinal column and neck, among other injuries.
Yoga was Molly's path to recovery, and iRest furthered her progress to health and vitality. She has co-founded Warriors At Ease, an organization that trains yoga teachers to work with Veterans who have suffered PTSD. iRest is the only meditation practice that has been sanctioned by the U.S. Government as a treatment for PTSD and the many adjunct issues that accompany it, including insomnia, depression and anxiety.
Molly developed the curriculum, and more than 100,000 veterans have benefited from her programs. Veterans Yoga retreats have been held here at the Ashram, specifically designed for the deep healing needed for sufferers of PTSD.
The iRest training for me was also therapeutic and relaxing. The week was filled with learning and experiential training sessions, for which I am very grateful. I appreciate the support I received from my supervisor, the Communications Team and from the Ashram, as I embarked on the learning experience of this course.
Sending You Love from the Bahamas.
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
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