Tag: blissology

Blissology Project: Day 7 – Sunday, January 28th

This is Day 7 of our two weeks to Commit to Bliss. The Blissology Project will run from Monday, January 22nd until Sunday, February 4th 2018.

It is all about making happiness a habit and creating an Upward Spiral of positivity in our lives through the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments.

You’ve made it to the end of Week 1 of the Blissology Project. Let’s have fun with the Bliss Commitments today and make this the best Sunday Funday ever!

Here’s a list of Blissology Teachers you can connect with or join our Global Blissology Project event on FB.

Today’s Bliss Commitments are:

Yoga poses to be included in today’s practices are:

  1. Firefly Pose (Tittibhasana)
  2. Wide Legged Forward Fold Variations (Prasarita Padottanasana)
  3. Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)

*Note: We realize these are some challenging poses! Do your best with where your practice is today. If you can’t do Firefly (as many of us can’t) then insert a pose of your choice that feels good in your body.

Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtags #blissologyproject + #blissarmy + #upwardspiral

Meditation

Enjoy an energizing Active Meditation and Energy Work practice with Blissologist Michael Toru!

*Note: This was posted on Day 5 of the Blissology Project but now you can enjoy it on Day 7 too.

Nature Appreciation

  • Write on a dark coloured rock with a lighter coloured rock. Draw a funny picture or write a message of love to yourself.
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #natureappreciation 

Food Awareness

Bliss Balls

What can I say, these are truly blissful! Make them with love.

1/2 cup raw cacao

1 cup raw organic walnuts, almonds or cashews (or a mixture)

1/2 cup shredded organic coconut

1/4 cup raw organic coconut oil (softened)

 

zest from 1 organic lemon

healthy pinch of sea salt

handful of mejdool dates (3 – 4) (or other soft dates) de-seeded and soaked for 15 minutes at least

1 Raw Vanilla Bean scraped or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 – 2 tbsp Almond Butter (raw is great)

1 tbsp Chia Seeds (ground)

1 – 2 tbsp Maca Powder

 

Optional Ingredients

pinch of Cinnamon Powder

pinch of Cardamom Powder

pinch of Cayenne Powder

pinch of Ginger Powder

Goji Berries

Lavender Seeds

Raw Cacao Nibs

Raw Honey

 

Directions:

  • Chop the dates coarsely.
  • Blend all the basic ingredients in a food processor until the mass reaches a smooth yet somewhat granular consistency – it is up to you to decide how much texture or bite you would like in the bliss balls, I prefer them with a bit of crunch!
  • You may add some almond milk if the dough has become too thick and clumpy.  
  • Scrape it out into a bowl or a plate – you will need a good spatula for this.
  • Place a small amount of the bliss ball dough in the palm of your hand.  Roll it into a little ball.  
  • Set aside a plate with a sprinkling of shredded coconut and roll the bliss ball in the flakes which will cover it to look like a snow dusted holiday treat.  
  • Place on a plate and repeat.

 

Try a few different variations e.g. You could do Vanilla and Orange Zest, or you could do Lavender and Lemon, You could also do Ginger and Cinnamon, or Ginger and Cardamom, or just Lavender, the possibilities are endless.  You can also make these without the Cacao powder for non-cocoa Bliss Balls.  In that case, you might up the amount of vanilla that I suggest here and use only cashew nuts in the balls as they have a lovely delicate flavor that pairs beautifully with vanilla.

  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #highpranafood
  • Bonus: Watch Insiya’s Blissology Project video from a few years ago on how to make this delicious Bliss-Ball-Ogy Snack!

Gratitude

  • Call your parents to tell them how grateful you’re to them for bringing you into the world. If your parents have passed away write a note to them to express your gratitude.

Wild Card

  • Write a handwritten card to a friend or family member who has had a positive impact on your life. Then mail it to them.

…………………………………………………………………..

Don’t forget to Share your experience with the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments in the Global Blissology Project event page.

“Happiness is Best when Shared.”

Have fun and enjoy the journey to awakening a deep joy within you!

Blissology Project: Day 6 – Saturday, January 27th

This is Day 6 of our two weeks to Commit to Bliss. The Blissology Project will run from Monday, January 22nd until Sunday, February 4th 2018.

It is all about making happiness a habit and creating an Upward Spiral of positivity in our lives through the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments.

You’ve hit your stride with the Bliss Commitments and can feel yourself opening up more and more to the deep joy inside of you. Let’s carry these positive vibes forward into Day 6!

Here’s a list of Blissology Teachers you can connect with or join our Global Blissology Project event on FB.

Today’s Bliss Commitments are:

Yoga poses to be included in today’s practices are:

  1. Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)
  2. Revolved Standing Forward Fold (Parivrtta Uttanasana)
  3. Single Leg Seated Forward Fold (Janu Sirsasana)

*Note: We realize these are some challenging poses! Do your best with where your practice is today. If you can’t do Side Crow then insert a pose of your choice that feels good in your body.

Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtags #blissologyproject + #blissarmy + #upwardspiral

Meditation and Nature Appreciation

  • Take yourself on a date to your favourite spot out in nature. Find a space to sit down and close your eyes. Allow your senses to take in the subtle sensations of the natural world all around you: the sound of birds, wind against the trees, water lapping against the shore.
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #natureappreciation 

Food Awareness

Ayurvedic Chai

8 servings (maybe more). Refrigerate leftover chai for up to a week.

Ingredients:

Whole Cardamom Pods – 8 – 10

Whole Black Pepper – 1 tsp

Cinnamon –  1 stick

Cloves – 2

Fennel –  10 – 12 seeds

Fresh Ginger – ¼ “ grated or crushed, or 1 tsp dry ginger

2 cups water

Non-homogenized or raw milk (if you can find it) or soy milk – 2 – 3 cups

Tea – Peppermint tea if you prefer this non-caffeinated, or Assam / English Breakfast Tea –3 – 4 tsp

Pure maple syrup, coconut sugar or honey to sweeten

 

  1. Crush the spices in a mortar and pestle.  
  2. Add spices to ginger and water and bring to a boil.  Upon boiling, let simmer for 20 minutes
  3. Add milk, let simmer for 10 minutes more.  
  4. Finally add tea-leaves, bring to a rolling boil.  Strain and serve.  You can add pure maple syrup, coconut sugar or honey to sweeten.  

Enjoy.

  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #highpranafood
  • Bonus: Insiya created a video on How to make Amazing Chai a few years ago in Bombay that you can check out!

Gratitude

  • Send a text to 3 people you’re grateful for in your life. Tell them how they’ve affected your life in a positive way.

Wild Card

  • Proclaim your spirit animal. What animal do you feel most connected to at this moment in your life. Do you love ocean water? Maybe you’re a Dolphin. What about looking up at the clouds and daydreaming about flying? Perhaps you’re an Eagle.

……………………………………………………………………….

Don’t forget to Share your experience with the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments in the Global Blissology Project event page.

“Happiness is Best when Shared.”

Have fun and enjoy the journey to awakening a deep joy within you!

Blissology Project: Day 5 – Friday, January 26th

This is Day 5 of our two weeks to Commit to Bliss. The Blissology Project will run from Monday, January 22nd until Sunday, February 4th 2018.

It is all about making happiness a habit and creating an Upward Spiral of positivity in our lives through the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments.

We hope you’re beginning to feel lighter and full of more vitality after the Day 4 Bliss Commitments. Lets carry this energy forward into Day 5!

Here’s a list of Blissology Teachers you can connect with or join our Global Blissology Project event on FB.

Today’s Bliss Commitments are:

Yoga poses to be included in today’s practices are:

  1. Prayer Twist Lunge (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)
  2. Forearm Plank
  3. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

Bonus: Revitalize your spirit with Blissologist Donna Williams in her Commit to Bliss Day 5 practice.

Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtags #blissologyproject + #blissarmy + #upwardspiral

Meditation

Enjoy a grounding Let’s Breathe Meditation with Blissologist Chloe Markham to feel awesome about your day!

Nature Appreciation

  • Look at the stars. Take a few minutes to really absorb the grand nature of the universe and the influence it has in your life. Contemplate the notion that we are all born of stardust.
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #natureappreciation 

Food Awareness

Healing Ayurvedic Dal

This is a very simple recipe, one I grew up eating almost daily in India. Do not be alarmed by the spices. There are two stages to cooking dal. In the first, you cook the lentils with a few spices until soft. Then you heat oil to make a tempering, which adds flavor to the cooked lentils.  I’ve offered some more suggestions to get creative as well.  I will add that dal should not be a gloppy mush, which is something I’ve encountered in many places in the west. It should be soupy and thin and be able to be poured easily over rice.  With the combination of grains and lentils, this is a complete, whole food and I hope you find it delicious.

½ cup split yellow mung dal, or the reddish-orange tuvar dal / lentils you find easily in most grocery stores

1 ½ cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder

8 – 10 fenugreek seeds

fresh cilantro leaves to garnish

Himalayan pink salt to taste

 

For the tempering:

1 ½ tsp ghee, or coconut oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

a pinch of asafoetida powder (this is an ingredient you can find at an Indian market or an ayurvedic market)

5 – 6 curry leaves

2 green chiles (if you don’t mind a little spice).

 

  • Rinse the lentils well, until water runs clean.  Cook in water along with turmeric and fenugreek until it reaches a soft consistency. Blend until mostly smooth. You can also use a potato masher to soften the dal more.
  • In a separate wok or frying pan, heat the ghee or oil for the tempering, which is what adds flavor to the dal.
  • Add the cumin and as it crackles, the asafoetida, curry leaves and chiles.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cooked dal and salt.  Add some water so the dal reaches a soupy consistency. Allow it to simmer for 5 – 6 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Serve fresh along some cooked basmati or brown rice and a small green salad..

 

A few other suggestions:  

You can add some sliced onion at the tempering stage, along with some thinly sliced ginger and garlic and let this mixture cook with the cumin and tempering spices for a few minutes before adding the cooked lentils.  You can also add some fresh spinach leaves to this dal. Add them when the dal is very hot, before you take it off the stove.  A lovely accompaniment to this dal is a lightly dressed green salad with fresh radishes and grated carrots etc.  

  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #highpranafood

Gratitude

  • Practice saying, “Thank you!” As you go about your day offer thanks to people any chance you have. Thank your bus driver. Give thanks to your partner for folding the laundry. The possibilities to offer thanks are limitless!

Wild Card

  • Plant something today and name your plant. If the ground is too cold go out and buy a new house plant to bring some positive vibes into your life.

……………………………………………………………………

Don’t forget to Share your experience with the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments in the Global Blissology Project event page.

“Happiness is Best when Shared.”

Have fun and enjoy the journey to awakening a deep joy within you!

Blissology Project: Day 4 – Thursday, January 25th

This is Day 4 of our two weeks to Commit to Bliss. The Blissology Project will run from Monday, January 22nd until Sunday, February 4th 2018.

It is all about making happiness a habit and creating an Upward Spiral of positivity in our lives through the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments.

We admire your commitment to transform from a Ho-Hum, Poor Me, or Selfish way of living to being a Blissologist where your heart is open, radiant and full of joy!

Here’s a list of Blissology Teachers you can connect with or join our Global Blissology Project event on FB.

Today’s Bliss Commitments are:

Yoga poses to be included in today’s practices are:

  1. Crow (Bakasana)
  2. Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
  3. Humble Warrior (Baddha Virabhadrasana)

*Note: We realize these are some challenging poses! Do your best with where your practice is today. If you can’t do Crow then insert a pose of your choice that feels good in your body.

Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtags #blissologyproject + #blissarmy + #upwardspiral

P.S. – If you haven’t had a chance check out Eoin’s Winter Flow practice from Day 2 of the Blissology Project.

Meditation

Enjoy this calming Sunrise Meditation with Blissologist Shelly Prosko to enliven your day!

Nature Appreciation

  • Go for a run, ride your bike, surf some waves or do anything out in the natural world where you get your sweat on and feel more connected to the environment all around you.
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #natureappreciation 

Food Awareness

Eggs + Kale + Avo:

This is a filling, hearty breakfast with good fats and greens when you have a little more time and are craving something savory.

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch kale, stemmed and leaves torn into shreds

2 organic eggs

½ avocado

lemon juice

cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

sesame seeds

sea salt or Himalayan pink salt

  • Prepare the Avocado. Peel and slice. Sprinkle with lemon juice and a bit of salt.
  • Boil water in a large pot. Add kale shreds into the boiling water and let simmer for approx. 3 – 5 minutes. Kale should look bright green but wilted. Drain and let sit in the warm pot while you prepare the eggs.
  • This recipe tastes great with either poached or scrambled eggs.  To poach, boil water in another small saucepan. Bring to boil. Add a ½ tsp of vinegar like apple cider vinegar. Swirl the water quickly to make a whirlpool effect and add in the egg to poach.  Watch it carefully. You may poach the eggs for 5 – 7 minutes or until done.  To remove, use a slotted spoon.
  • For scrambled eggs: beat the eggs lightly in a bowl. Add milk if you would like and perhaps a pinch of thyme or rosemary.  Pour into a pan on medium heat.  Gently stir the eggs from the edges of the pan to the center a few times to create large, soft egg curds 5 minutes or so.  Watch carefully as you don’t want to overcook the eggs.
  • To serve. Place cooked greens on your plate, top with the eggs and avocado and garnish with sesame seeds, salt to taste and black pepper. You can also add a light drizzle of olive oil.
  • If you are craving toast with this meal, use a whole grain sourdough bread, one without added yeast, or added gluten.  
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #highpranafood

Gratitude

  • While outside during your nature appreciation time notice three things in the natural world you’re grateful for that enhance your experience in that moment.

Wild Card

  • Forgive someone. Is there someone in your life who you have unresolved energy with? Give them a call or visit them to confront what has come between you. Notice how much more lighter you will feel afterwards.

……………………………………………………………………..

Don’t forget to Share your experience with the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments in the Global Blissology Projectevent page.

“Happiness is Best when Shared.”

Have fun and enjoy the journey to awakening a deep joy within you!

Blissology Project: Day 1 – Monday, January 22nd

The Blissology Project has finally launched!

This is Day 1 of our two weeks to Commit to Bliss. The Blissology Project will run from Monday, January 22nd until Sunday, February 4th 2018.

It is all about making happiness a habit and creating an Upward Spiral of positivity in our lives through the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments.

Here is the video explaining today’s commitments! 

Here’s a list of Blissology Teachers you can connect with or join our Global Blissology Project event on FB.

Today’s Bliss Commitments are:

Yoga Poses to be included in today’s practices are:

  1. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
  2. Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
  3. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtags #blissologyproject + #blissarmy + #upwardspiral

Meditation

Nature Appreciation

  • 20 minute Park Walk – Stroll off the path and go on a journey. Take off your shoes and feel the earth below you. Maybe even hug a tree or two.
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #natureappreciation 

Food Awareness 

Wave Rider: An Ayurvedic Green Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 organic pear (or green apple, or a peach: sliced or diced
Juice from a freshly squeezed lemon
1/2 organic avocado: sliced or diced
6 – 8 organic spinach leaves or 4 – 5 kale leaves
1 to 2 tsp spirulina
1 heaping tsp extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil, or flax oil, or udos oil
1 cup filtered water
1/4″ chunk of organic ginger (if you need a little more heat, add a bit more to taste)
Optional: a pinch of cardamom powder and some bee pollen to sprinkle on top before drinking.

  • Blend all ingredients together in a high-speed blender.  
  • Add some more water if it is a bit too thick.  
  • Taste for sweetness, if needed, add some raw honey, garnish with bee pollen.
  • Enjoy this deliciousness a little later in the morning, when the sun is high.
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #highpranafood

Gratitude

  • Begin a Gratitude Journal. Write down 3 things you are grateful for in your life.

Wild Card

  • Compliment a stranger. Tell them something nice to brighten their day!

We’ll start by telling you how awesome you are! You rock!

………………………………………………………….

Don’t forget to Share your experience with the 6 Big Easy Bliss Commitments in the Global Blissology Project event page.

“Happiness is Best when Shared.”

Have fun and enjoy the journey to awakening a deep joy within you!

 

Focusing Less on Doing and More on Being.

People are the juice of life. What I mean by that is the older and, hopefully, wiser I grow, the more I value relationships, community, caring for each other, kindness, and love that freely gives life to one another.

Along those lines, I find myself blessed to have several groups of incredible friends, one of which is a group of guys who gather together every Tuesday for Beer and Bible. In Beer and Bible the homebrewed beer is fantastic, the conversation is incredible, and the people are the best.

A few weeks ago we were talking about prayer. More specifically, we discussed the importance and power of not only “talking” in prayer, but also quieting our minds and listening. Our general consensus was that calming our minds and minimizing our thoughts is powerful stuff but also super hard and difficult to make time for. That night, hopefully in a humble and kind way, I shared a bit of my yoga journey and the mind-blowing gifts it’s given me.

When I started practicing yoga nearly seven years ago I did so to get more flexible and support my now ex-wife who had just become a teacher. I thought yoga would certainly make me more bendy and hopefully stronger and that’s pretty much it. That said, as I practiced yoga more and more, I began to realize the most marvelous medicine of yoga wasn’t external, it was internal—it was (and is) a sense of peace, calm, joy, bliss, and love within me that blows my mind.

As I shared with the Beer and Bible fellows, this blessing comes most poignantly at the end of the yoga practice, while we lie peacefully in savasana and when we sit in meditation. For me, this isn’t a nonstop experience of peace and bliss, though. Instead, some days it’s 15-30 seconds, others it’s a minute or two, and others it’s longer, yet these brief encounters with What/Who I’d personally name God fill most of the rest of my life with a bliss, peace, and love so big and amazing I struggle to find words for it, which I kind of think is the point. I think often the same thing can be said about beauty in nature. We have no words to describe when we experience scenery like I captured above, better than “Wow!”

But one thing we need to remember is that we can’t expect to go from A to Z overnight. People don’t change from eating whatever they want to being clean-eating vegans at the snap of a finger. Likewise, we can’t expect to go from practicing no meditation, contemplation, yoga, or other mindfulness practices to 15 minutes or an hour per day instantaneously. Instead, we go from zero to one mindful breath where we pause to listen to the Divine, to two mindful breaths and so on.

In these moments of mental quiet and calm I don’t think our Creator is the only being we encounter though. I believe we also meet our True Self. We discover the “I” beyond doings, possessions and statuses. Our egos and the messages of society create a false self that many of us never get beyond, but we all have a True Self. This is the “I” in the image of the Divine, the “I” filled with joy, the “I” saturated with peace, the “I” rich with love. One could say the True Self is crowned with glory as is written in the Psalms:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.

Psalm 8.3-5, NRSV

Have you ever heard of the temptations of Christ? Before Jesus started healing people, spreading love, and preaching the Good News of God’s blissful reign, He went into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil. The brilliant thing I’d like to draw your attention to is these are temptations common to us all. They are the lure to identify ourselves, relate our worth, and name our love based on what we own, what we do, and/or what others say/think about us. This is the false self.

Another way to talk about this is the ego. Our ego is important—it gets us out of bed, it gets stuff done, it pushes us to be the best version of ourselves possible—but the problem comes when we let the ego drive our lives. The ego is all about what we do, what we own, and what other’s think/say about us. While there is value in these things, they do not define who you and I truly are. You, my friend, are an infinitely worthy, loved child, made in the image of and filled with Divine Light and Love and when we do mindfulness practices (like yoga, meditation, and contemplation) to quiet our thoughts and minds, we experience this truth.

As I shared with my friends at Beer and Bible, while I’ve experienced this over and over it has nothing to do with anything I do. Instead, it’s about simply being. I think it’s only when we slow down and take time to just be, that we meet our True Selves. In these moments we encounter a peace that passes understanding, a bliss that defies description, and a love that knows no bounds.

So, how does one do this? How can you and I increasingly tune into our True Selves? First, I’d say it takes time and is a process. The big question here is what’s the next right thing for you? What’s a doable step you can take today/next week/next month/next year?

We’re all uniquely wired and we all go through different seasons in life, meaning what works for me might not work for you, and what resonates with you today might not vibe with you next year. My point is, there’s a zillion mindfulness practices out there and I think they all lead to this same beautiful and amazing result.

That being said let me throw a few practical tips out there for us all. I’ll start by saying there’s something powerful about doing something everyday, or nearly everyday, for 3-4 weeks, as this period of time rewires our brains and turns practices into habits so I’d recommend trying to pick something doable that you can try out for that long. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Yoga: While I think going to a studio will give you the biggest bang for the buck, there’s a lot of online videos you can use at home. Only 15 minutes a day will have amazing effects.
  2. Gratitude journal: Take 5 minutes before going to bed to reflect on the day and write about three things you’re grateful for.
  3. Meditation: Take 1-15 minutes to simply be and quiet the mind. I recommend using a podcast or app for this, but it’s free and super helpful to just breathe a mantra that speaks to where you are in life. For instance, one could inhale “I am” and exhale “loved,” or “worthy,” or “peace,” or “joyful.”
  4. Contemplation: Take 1-15 minutes to simply be and quiet the mind by contemplating some aspect of God, nature, scripture, etc.
  5. Meditative Walking: Step and breath in time with a mantra that speaks to where you are in life.
  6. Contemplative Walking: Notice, but I mean really, notice the nature and people and everything else around you.
  7. Praying the hours: Set an alarm on your phone for 9, 12, and 3. When it goes off, stop for a minute or two and take a few really deep breaths in time with a short prayer.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas to get started. I think mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and everywhere, it can be simply slowing the breath down, noticing your thoughts and remembering you have thoughts but you are not your thoughts, and taking time to really see and hear what’s going on around you. When we do this we both come into touch with our True Selves and God, and the affect is amazing on you, me, and everyone we come into contact with.

I truly think our money, our possessions, our achievements, and what other people think about us do have their place and are good in their own way but they do not define us. You and I are something infinitely more precious, imperishable, and beautiful than those passing things, and the more we come into contact with this—our True Selves—the more amazing life gets. Honestly, the people I’ve met who are in tune with their stable, secure, and real selves are calm, joyful, and loving even in the midst of adversity, conflict, and trauma. They are bright sources of light and love in the midst of darkness. They are able to be non-anxious, calming presences when everyone else is freaking out. The awesome thing is, though, we can all be like these saints! Each of our True Selves is full of Divine bliss, peace, and love, we simply have to take time to be and tune into it!

By Lang Charters Blissology 200-hr YTT 2017
He’s here to awaken, open to, and be love together!
Check out Lang’s teacher profile to learn more.  

Put Down Your Smart Phone and Pick Up Your Heart Phone

Even though I am obsessed with yoga, I think it is only the second best thing we can do for health. The best thing we can do is to have an intimate connection with nature.

Last winter we moved to one of the great yoga hubs of the world, Santa Monica, California. I taught yoga, went to yoga classes every day with talented and famous yoga instructors, got used to paying $22 for superfood smoothies and practically took out a second mortgage at the Whole Foods salad bar. Every day was full of California sunshine and palm trees, but there was an emptiness inside me and a sense of restlessness that I could not quell. One chilly December evening, my wife, two-year-old son and I drove North on Highway 1. We found a long stretch of beach that was isolated with the exception of the distant silhouette of an older woman strolling in her leopard skin coat. A reminder of our proximity to Malibu. I had surfed on Venice Beach every day and played in the parks of Santa Monica with our son daily, but those beaches were filled with a stream of cruiser bike riders, joggers and roller coasters.

There was a quietness to us that night as we watched the hazy pink marine layer softly blend into the ocean’s seemingly endless horizon. I stopped and breathed deeply, not because it says to breathe deeply in a yoga text, but to replace the emptiness I felt in my chest. My heart became more inflated and I could finally pinpoint the source of my unease…

Read the rest of the article on Huffington Post Canada.

 

Blissology Project: January 22nd – February 4th, 2018

Aloha everyone!

This January 22nd – February 4th 2018 we’re launching the Blissology Project. This is a program we created years ago to create an Upward Spiral of positivity and health in ones life. We’ve refreshed the content while keeping what works the same and we’re stoked to change lives!

Watch the video below for more information. More detailed information will be released in the coming weeks. Stay tuned and keep your Bliss Vibes strong in the meantime!

Beyond Fight or Flight.

Often in yoga we refer to something called “fight or flight” to account for the mundane worries of the world that may steal our presence during practice.

Fight or flight refers to our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which are the “autonomic” nerves to our organs that are believed to be out of our control. It is generally understood that the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) revs us up or excites us, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) revs us down or relaxes us, but there is so much more to it than that.

I would like to talk about the entire nervous system, including the peripheral or “somatic” part that we do control and how it also ties in. My ultimate goal is to (1) explain how yoga and asana integrate with all parts of the nervous system, (2) help you understand why some poses stimulate certain pathways either consciously or subconsciously, and (3) show how to pair the PNS an SNS into a yoga class for those perfect sensations whether you’re shooting for peak asana or something more subtle.

Part 1: Nervous System Integration

The PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) does not inhibit the SNS (sympathetic nervous system), they are both excitatory systems. Ideally, these systems are in balance with each other, one waxing while the other one wanes. The SNS excites us when it is time to fight or flee (heart races, eyes widen and dilate to look out, lungs open up, sphincters close, digestion stops, adrenals release epinephrin, liver calls for energy stores to become sugar) while the PNS excites us to rest and digest (eyes constrict, heart slows, sphincters relax, digestion begins, liver calls to make energy stores). Notice that with each, the organs are being stimulated for a purpose but not two purposes at once. IBS is a problem where a confused gut becomes dually excited, so stress causes a painfully mixed reaction of both PNS and SNS activity.

We can say energetically the SNS is a plus and the PNS is a minus however the minuses don’t turn off pluses and the key to sustainability is balance without extremes. This way we can experience healthful levels of excitation to lift us up while also providing our body with energizing rest that restores us. Unbalanced SNS may drive anxiety or anger and too much PNS may make one lazy or depressed. The demands of the modern world frequently drive us into too much SNS and subsequently we get adrenal fatigue.

There is also the “somatic” nervous system which controls our skeletal muscles and sensations like pain or comfort. It is a bottom up model where our somatics work in concert with our emotions and intelligence to change and modulate the outputs of the autonomics. When properly aligned, or at least comfortable in asana, we lose the over-excitation that comes from the protective need of the PNS or SNS, and this is when we feel yoga relax us into a state of presence where our thoughts and control of wellbeing is not influenced by our external altercations or stimuli. Here we may hypothesize why yoga “miraculously” healed Iyengar and Paramahansa Yogananda. It is also part of the scientific basis for osteopathy whereas other forms of modern medicine try to only adjust outputs to organs and therefore cannot create true natural healing from within.

Part 2: Stimulatory Effects of Poses

Nerves pass up and down through ganglia or “switchboards”. SNS switchboards are located along the thoracic and lumbar spines and is why dancer pose is so exhilarating. PNS switchboards are located at the neck and sacrum and is why child’s pose is so relaxing.

That perfect experience in poses like camel balances both PNS and SNS switchboards by evenly distributing the curve to make us feel proud, strong and energized through the mid-spine while at the same time making us feel relaxed but poised and protected through the neck and pelvic regions. When poses are properly embodied, somatics to the brain speak comfort and we perceive a safe place, the SNS or PNS are balanced and naturally go back and forth between excitatory states without extremes. Extremes overly heighten the system and drive one towards the opposite excitatory state, ie. crunching of the lumbar spine in camel that suddenly drives us into child’s pose, or a pigeon pose that just doesn’t feel accomplished without having to be a mermaid.

Part 3: Pairing of Asana and Flow

As yoga teachers, we must be experts in neuroplasticity and ask ourselves what we want to achieve, and then strategize a practice that uses somatics to balance the body and mind without extremes or drastic autonomic cycling. Yoga thus provides a way for teachers and students to actively remodel how the body handles stress and disease.

All yoga poses have their perfection, but we want to teach to the needs of the students. Compliment sustained flow of poses affect both SNS and PNS equally in turn, but don’t push one system too hard. This creates an enjoyable and sustainable practice.  From an anatomical model, movement and engagement in the thoracic and lumbar spines stimulate the SNS more. The PNS is stimulated more through the neck and pelvic regions. Asanas that intensify awareness in these parts of the spine or add rapid cyclic motion to them will heighten the effect, as do focused assists and touch.

Thoughtfully creating your yoga class can involve more than just warming up and stretching the muscles and joints and also include fully balancing the needs of the automatics. Classes that build to those climactic poses do so best though the gradual crescendo of SNS excitation of the thoracic and lumbars without overstimulating a premature collapse into the PNS. Restorative flows can calm us down greatly by stimulating areas of the neck and pelvis. Asanas that go back and forth without pushing one too far gives us something enjoyably and sustainably in between.

In a standard yoga teacher training, you learn how to build heat or create cooling in various intensities, and think ahead as to where and why this is important for the rest of the class. A deeper art is understanding why some poses stimulate certain autonomic pathways either consciously or subconsciously, and how to build flow to pair the pathway for those perfect sensations whether you’re shooting for peak asana or something more subtle. Embodiment that allows the somatics to deliver sensations of safety and wellbeing avoids triggering the protective need of the SNS or PNS. Doing so balances the the SNS and PNS into naturally healthy oscillations of excitation without extremes and is fundamental to helping students truly feel yoga liberated from the instinct of fight or flight.

By Dr. Jonathan Bloch, Blissology 300-hr YTT graduate
Check out Jonathan’s teacher profile to learn more.  

5 Surf-Inspired Yoga Moves

A superflow is a joyous movement practice that pulls from yoga, tai chi, and surfing.

This powerful yet calming trinity intentionally mimics the rhythm of nature and flow of the oceans, opening you to a higher state of bliss in both body and mind.

Here are five beneficial surf-inspired movements:

  • Tai Chi for centering
  • Lay back flow
  • Surf burpees
  • Surf burpees with slash
  • Round house

On a physical level, these practices increase agility, coordination, and strength; mentally they evoke positive energy and clarity. Yogis will find these flows more circular and less confined to a grid than a traditional yoga practice. Fitness enthusiasts will love the physical challenge and creativity within each sequence. Expect a whole new level of mind-body harmony.

And if you want to dive deeper into the superflow practice, join me in Tofino in September/October for a Superflow: the Fluid Body advanced module course!

Karma Yoga, Blissology & the Value of having Reverence for Nature

Eoin is super stoked to be featured on this week’s podcast by the lovely Magda Freedom Rod (aka Visionary Lifestyle):

Our guest today is Eoin Finn. Eoin Finn is a yogi, surfer and blissologist from Vancouver, BC. A philosophy graduate, he has been deepening his understanding of Meditation, Yoga and Eastern Philosophy since 1989. In the mid-nineties he moved to Maui and learned Ashtanga and Power Yoga and later Vinjana Yoga. He’s been teaching yoga for 18 years. Eoin is a karma yogi with a deep passion for the oceans, and a connection and reverence for nature, that is truly inspiring. His yoga teacher trainings generally include a lot of education about the environment, as well as hands on projects to help clean and protect it. His Ecokarma program is replacing endangered coral in Key Largo Florida and beyond. Eion says “Karma is the offering of unselfish service – our offering to the world. I want us to connect our love for ecology with both the physical yoga practice and selfless service of Karma yoga. “ I caught up with Eion at the Bali Spirit Festival and we dropped in about the state of the oceans, the effects of overfishing and carbon on the oceans, and what it means to be a karma yogi. He shares his love for nature, explains his main goal in life and guides us on his path of Blissology. If you go back to my first episode and listen to the “7 steps of activating your highest potential” show , you’ll see that Eion really speaks to one of my points, which is seva, or being in service, sometimes known as karma yoga. I’m really impressed with Eion’s dedication to educating and inspiring people to pay attention to what’s happening to the oceans, and empowering them to find their own inner power and voice to be the change we want to see in the world.

Listen to the interview below:

 

My Favourite Morning Yoga Routine

Twenty-nine years ago I started dabbling in tai chi, meditation and yoga.

I didn’t know a lot about any of these at the time but I would go to empty beaches where I could feel the transformative power of the Great Spirit. I would move organically and let its energy flow through me, sand in my toes and peace in my heart.

Today, a mix of these tai chi, yoga and surfing movements is called a Superflow and it is my favourite routine every morning when I wake up (I highly recommend checking out the instructional video first to understand the movements before putting them together in a flow, practice starts at 5:20 mins):

If you’re inspired by these movements, join me for a 50-hr Superflow advanced module in Tofino this September/October. Or practice with me online, on Cody.