Tag: meditation

Our “Strandemic” in Bali

Our virtual Stay OM Yoga classes kept us sane and connected during the most challenging times of lockdown

 

In late March of 2020, I am sure you remember the week when Covid shifted from a “Chinese problem” to a global pandemic. Our news feeds on our phones became flooded with rising death tolls from around the world and images of dead bodies being escorted from hospitals in Hazmat suits were burned into our consciousness.

My family and I found ourselves in Bali, Indonesia having just finished running one of our EcoKarma retreats.  We had a flight back to Canada a few days after the retreat ended in mid-March.

On the day before we to leave Bali on March 18, we got a text message from the airlines saying our flights were cancelled.  We were a little surprised and slightly annoyed, but we didn’t panic. We simply bought new tickets for the next week at a fairly reasonable price.

Day by day, the news headlines increasingly filled our heads with fearful thoughts of an evil virus.  We loved being in warm Bali, but we longed for the safety of our new home we had just bought in Canada.

Every day, my wife was in touch with the Canadian Embassy to let them know that we were safe and shared our location. Every few hours, we received status updates on What’s App from the Canadian Government saying something like, “Get out of Indonesia now. Rates are spiking in Jakarta and Indonesia is set to become the next hotspot for Coronavirus.”

Watching workers pick up trash with no masks and gloves in a time when the rest of the world was bleaching their door handles was unsettling, to say the least

I did my best to stay calm and take it one step at a time, but I remember a jolt of fear in my heart when I would watch groups of six or seven workers picking up trash cans and emptying them into garbage trucks.  In a time where hand sanitizer sales were going through the roof handling truckloads of unsanitary debris.  None of the men were wearing gloves or masks.

It sent shudders of panic down my spine. My phone was giving me new updates by the hour about how the virus is transmitted through different materials. Coronavirus (the media hadn’t started calling it Covid-19 yet) lasts 3-7 days on plastic, up to 4 days on paper, 24 hours on carboard and 4 hours on glass.

While the rest of the world was bleaching their countertops and wearing rubber gloves to touch doorknobs, these men were standing up to their knees in trash without concern.

“Oh, man,” I thought to myself, “If this country doesn’t take better precautions, we are going to be the next Italy.”

I slept in fits and starts.  I feared for my family’s health and I wasn’t sure if seeing body bags being hauled down streets of the village where we were staying was soon going to be a common site.

As if this wasn’t enough, I was living with massive economic uncertainty.  My demographic was directly hit by the restrictions Covid brought to the world.  I make my living by gathering large groups of 40-80 people together to run yoga and wellness programs.  I had to cancel two really big trainings. My income went immediately to zero overnight.  I was in disbelief.

I explained to my young son that we might lose our new house to the bank, but don’t worry, we have each other so we will be ok.  We will be back home soon.

 

Another Cancelled Flight

 

It was on March 24 that things really shifted.  We had a ticket from Denpasar, Bali to Taipei for a short 3-hour layover and then on to Vancouver. We had our bags packed, our N-95 masks ready and a taxi driver arranged.  Finally, we were homeward bound.

It was about one hour before we were to leave for the Bali airport that our friend Kat texted us saying, “Hey, did you see the Taipei airport just closed for international transit?”

“No, this can’t be.” I texted back in full confidence.  “We’ve already checked in for our flights and EVA airlines hasn’t sent us any messages saying our flight was cancelled.”

Panic set in when I did google the status of the international airport in Taiwan.

Kat was right. It has closed at 12AM that day. A mere twelve hours before our flight home.  A call to EVA air confirmed it.  We were not leaving Bali that day.

 

Sleepless Nights 

 

The normally bustling streets of Bali were empty by the end of March.

I lay awake at night trying to sort things out. I played out different scenarios in my head. “With no tourists in Bali, the locals could turn to crime,” I thought to myself.

We have next to no security either.  Bali villas are famous for their indoor/ outdoor living.  We had just a small, seven foot wall around our compound that I easily climbed over it in about 15 seconds on the occasions that we forget my keys inside.

I tossed and turned. It occurred to me that I didn’t even know how to call the police in this country or speak the language even if I did.

“Does 9-11 even work over here?” I asked myself at 3:30 AM.  I was clueless.

This fear was exacerbated as we watched videos of Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau saying, “All Canadians must return home now.”

Our friend Daphne in Texas was kind enough to help us. She was our friend who had become an angel travel agent. Out of the goodness of her heart, she volunteered hour on the phone to help us find flights.  She scoured kayak.com for any tickets while I searched google flights and my wife checked Expedia.

She was telling us on our call that we have to get out of Bali. She had been talking to her friends in Jakarta. There are no respirators at the hospitals in Bali. If we got really sick, we would no access to the services we needed.  On top of this, I only had 2 more weeks left on my travel medical insurance.

I will never forget her words.  “The situation in Jakarta is already not good and if things get bad in Bali, the only thing they have to turn to is prayer… And they are sure going to need that.”

As we looked for tickets, the harshness of human nature became clear. At a time when you would think that kindness would prevail and airlines would help travelers get home, they were jacking their prices up by the second.

It was like a mad bidding war.  One minute you would find flights with three seats available for a whopping $4000 per ticket.  By the time you could press “book now,” the prices had risen again to $5000 per ticket. Then the next minute, they would be sold out altogether.

“This is insane,” I thought. I was trying to maintain my calm as I swallowed down a harsh emotional cocktail of part anger, part worry and part tears of sadness.  I pushed them back and reminded myself to stay strong and calm.

By the end of our FaceTime call, we had bought three tickets for about $12,000 for my whole family to fly back home on a wild route through 4 different airports. This was the opposite of a dream flight.  The total flying time was around 50 long hours.  We would have to sleep on the floor of the Jakarta airport for 12 hours waiting for transfers while wearing N-95 masks.  It sounded like hell.

The psychological signature of these early stages of the pandemic for most people on the planet was two bitter pills of terror.  One pill was the fear for our own health and the ones we love.  The second pill was all about economic fear for how we were going to keep the lights on.

Now, it seemed like I had been issued and an extra-large dosage. Here we were stranded in a foreign country; we had no more income and I just put $12,000 on my credit card to fly home at a time when the news headlines were filled with news about how Coronavirus is actually transmitted through the recirculated air in airplanes.

“Is it more of a risk to fly out of here than to stay?” I asked myself incessantly.

 

Just When we Thought It Couldn’t get Worse…

 

Lion had a slight fever and didn’t want to swim or eat croissants. 2 signs that something was really wrong.

Just as I thought that my daily hits of adrenaline and panic couldn’t get any worse, it did.  Our nine-year old son Lion who was normally filled with an abundance of playful boy-energy began to feel weak.

“Dad, I just feel so tired,” he would say as he slumped over the front of our rented scooter as we drove home.  If there are two things that he loves it’s swimming in the ocean and croissants from the local French Bakery, Monsieur Spoon.  He wasn’t interested in either and, in fact, he barely ate and instead of swimming at the beach, he would sit silently in a lump.

Over and over, my mantra of, “don’t panic” and “one step at a time,” filled my headspace.  It worked to some degree, but still fear lived inside my wife and I.  We only felt reassured by the fact that, besides feeling tired, it was his belly that he complained about.  Thank God it wasn’t the tell-tale Covid symptoms of cough and fever.  He was weak and didn’t eat for a few days.

Then, just two days before we were due to depart, Lion felt warm to us.  We took his temperature and to our slight horror, he had a small fever.  It was only 99.1 Fahrenheit, which is relatively mild, but still nothing we wanted to be faced with.

This was the hand we were dealt.  There was no option to tell the universe, “Um, excuse me, this is not my order, can you please send it back to the chef.”

We took him to the doctor and he said that it could be dengue, a mosquito born virus common in the tropics.

To this point in time, we still don’t know exactly what affected him, but we do know that the next day, his energy was slowly returning.

The day we cancelled our tickets home

The day we were due to depart, it weighed heavily on my mind.  I still wasn’t entirely sure if our son was infectious even if he was feeling better.  The doctors suspected dengue, but we still don’t know for sure.  There were no rapid tests for Covid available back then.

All my philosophy studies in university didn’t prepare me for this internal debate.  The only symptom of Covid was tiredness and a small fever than came and went in one day.  Was it ethical to put him on a plane and possibly infect others in the unlikely event it was Covid?

This worry combined with the fact that I couldn’t stomach the $12,000 in credit card debt that I was going to assume at a time when I didn’t know where my next dime was coming from helped us make a decision.  It seemed at this point, even if Lion had previously had dengue and not Coronavirus, our chances of getting sick were higher on the long flights back home than if we stayed put.

We had a family meeting.  “Let’s ride this out in Bali,” I suggested.  “For almost the same price as the tickets home, we can rent a villa in Bali for 9 months.  We will have clean, tropical air and good food.”

We made a collective decision about 2 hours before the flight was supposed to leave to cancel our flights and, in so doing, we sealed the deal.

We were staying.  I swallowed hard as I pressed “cancel ticket” button on Expedia’s site

 

Our fate was sealed

 

In one sense, there was so much relief in my mind because there is no greater prison cell than a human mind full of indecision.  We had been going back and forth for weeks now.  Should we just stay? Every 10 minutes we changed our minds.  It was so crazy making that I would almost prefer the torture of being crushed by elephants that to live inside a mind that careens back and forth indecisively between two different options.

Now there was no way out. No more torture of indecision.  Our fate lay in the island of Bali. The international airport closed in April and it remains closed to this day.

With Lion feeling better, we ordered food delivery from local farmers, we promised we would live into the hashtag “#StayHome.”

I sat at the breakfast table and explained to our son that we will be fine, but we have to cut off all contact with the outside world.  I drew cartoon diagrams of the spikey coronavirus outside the castle of our home and explained how viruses are transmitted.

“Think of our home as “Fort Finn.” Nobody comes in or out.  If we do this, nothing can happen.”

“This was going to work out,” I assured them.

Another Unexpected Curve Ball

 

Insiya feeling unwell. Not what we ordered

“When life looks like Easy Street, there is Danger at Your Door,” The Grateful Dead

We felt healthy and hopeful. At least for a few days, then slowly, my wife Insiya started sniffling.

“She’s prone to colds,” I reminded myself, “so don’t panic.”

Then the next day, it happened.  A fever hit.  She looked grey and not herself.  This didn’t seem like just a cold.

She lay on our couch and I truly felt fear.  More than anything, I feared for the health of the person I love most dearly on the planet.  I feared for my son, as well.  Was this Coronavirus? My plan was backfiring.  We were supposed to keep all viruses out of Fort Finn, not bring them in like a Trojan Horse.  She has a fever. Again, like Lion’s it wasn’t very high but it’s still worrisome.

Not knowing what was coming next and thinking chances were high that I may be infected, I sat my Lion down and explained the plan if both his parents got sick.  He would have to make eggs for himself for breakfast and quarantine in his bedroom. I explained how to have groceries delivered using an app.

After one rough and very sleepless night, the next evening Insiya’s fever is gone but she is still sniffly and weak.  We’ve made it through another day.

 

Enter the Daily Blissology Commitments:

 

How could I find peace in this situation?  I remember how I had worked myself into such a frenzy with constant attention to the newsfeed alerts on my phone. After watching what was happening in Italy, I wasn’t even entirely sure if I would be alive in 2 weeks.

We needed something to lean into. The universe had truly knocked us to our knees.

Nature Appreciation in the normally bustling beaches of Canggu

We turned extra hard at this point to the five Daily Blissology Commitments of Yoga, Meditation, Nature Appreciation, Food Awareness and Gratitude.

The most healing thing at this point was nature.  Intuitively, our family silently walked towards the beach to see the sunset to end each day.  Almost all the tourists have left Bali for the safety of their own countries. It’s a surreal site to see the emptiness.  The phrase “Quiet Bali” normally seems like an oxymoron but this is our reality.

The beaches in Canggu where we stay in Bali are normally filled with hundreds of tourists. They are surfing, playing volleyball, laying back on beanbag chairs with a coconut or a Bintang beer while loud music pumps out of the local food stands called warungs.  People in bikinis can be seen everywhere showing off their tanned butts or pouty lips for their instagram feeds in front of bright orange sunsets while dogs and children are playing in the background.

However now, in the presence of the massive, billowing cumulonimbus Bali clouds, the vast horizon and the blue churning ocean, we seem so small.  The splendor of nature is so big.  It’s like bathing in beauty.

Our worries seem far away.  We’ve developed what I call, “Stress Amnesia.  What I’ve learned about Nature Appreciation is that when we sit in the confines of our homes, sometimes those walls start closing in on you.  Your problems keep you trapped.  They become all you can see.

All problems seem bigger within the confines of four walls and smaller relative to vastness of Nature.

2020 was a year characterized by restricted breath.  From George Floyd to Coronavirus and it’s politically charged signature, the mask, so many people on this planet have learned not to take breath for granted.

Connecting to the ocean + staying relaxed became part of the Homeschool Curriculum

This couldn’t be truer for our family now under this big sky.  Fear has been constricting us so hard. We have been enveloped in worry. Insiya has been sick.  The term for a flu in French is “la grippe.” It grips you like a hand that squeezes.  In 2020, we have all been gripped by a huge cosmic hand that won’t let our lungs fully expand when we inhale.

Our bodies are tense.  To breathe deeply, we need our intercostal, side rib muscles to activate so they can expand the lungs and increase their volume.  If these muscles remain in the grip of our minds, they will not move, and breath will remain shallow.

Likewise, we have to let go of the knots in our belly.  It is key to soften the abdominal muscles a little so that the belly button can move enough to make space for the diaphragm to descend into the organs of our viscera.  When we hold our bodies tight, it’s like driving a car with the emergency brake on.

The interesting thing about stress and worry is that it feels like something is happening out there to you and there is nothing you can do about it.  But we are the one creating these gripping sensations.

Stress happens between our ears.  Our mental reaction to a stimulus controls how the nervous system sends signals to muscles. These signals tell the muscles to contract so that they are primed for action in the” fight, flight or freeze” response.  With prolonged stress, where we live with chronic tightness, our minds become our own worst enemy.  Our minds become like the desert wind that shape the sand dunes in our body.*

Most of us don’t realize that we are living with this high degree of this tension until it is gone.  It is a subconscious app that stays running in the background of the operating system of our minds and body.

Our family has been squeezed tight.  But that night on the beach, it all shifts.

Nature Appreciation: Slowing down and reseting back to calm. A simple nightly ritual that made all the difference!

By tuning into the beauty of nature that firmly gripping hand in our bellies and our hearts loosens.   We can finally exhale fully as we stand silently under that huge sky.  We aren’t just breathing in air; we are breathing in waves of gratitude.  We are no longer ghosts in this world.  It is like our souls are returning to our bodies again. There is hope.

We sit and watch as the sky turns bright orange, purple and pink.  The wind blows warmly on our faces and we breathe calmy.  Memorized by the spell of the beautiful, we whisper under our breath what almost everyone does when they slow down and observe the magnificent displays of nature, “Oh my God.” The word God is extra breathy, like “Gahhhhhhd.”

That prolonged exhalation is an unconscious sigh to release our worries and bring us into the present.  We breathe more easily.  The lesson is clear: Sometimes we need to go to the places that take our breath away in order to get it back. 

We are practicing “Nature Appreciation” at this point. No conversations, just silently observing and receiving the “transmission of the beautiful.

Over the coming weeks, we seek more and more Nature Appreciation moments.  It’s the antidote to the news headlines and the worries that fill our heads so easily.  Silently basking in beauty becomes a tether back to sanity in an insane world.

We commit to eating the best food we can.  We get produce from the local farmers delivered and every night, the ritual of family dinner becomes a joy.  It seems strange, but we love the slowness that the world has provided for us.  We share our stories and what we learned that day by candlelight.  It’s all so simple now.

Food Awareness: Supporting local, organic farmers on Bali and nourishing our microbiome in the process

We cut out all food that does not make us feel good.  Fresh and local is the only way. Our microbiome is now linked to the land that has become our home.  I used to travel all over the world to teach but I’m noticing the local produce is making me feel extra alive.  The microbes of this land become part of me.  As Hippocratis says, “all health starts in the gut.”  Our immune systems grow stronger as our minds become cleared.  Food is not just our medicine; it is our joy.

We practice Yoga daily.  It’s the ultimate quarantine activity.  You don’t need to go out to a gym, a studio or any public place. Yoga is so portable.  Simply unroll your mat, and you will have created a sacred shrine to increase your health and shed layers of worry.  We feel loose, yet strong and full of vitality.

We commit to Meditation every day.  I wake up before dawn and walk to the beach under the bright Bali stars.   Under those stars I get clearer and cleared daily.  I feel like peace and sanity are restored.  I am not sure how people stay sane if they don’t make the time to feel this peace.

Lastly, every day we practice our fifth daily commitment of Gratitude.  Usually at dinner or before bed, we share three “gratefuls.” Not only does this make us feel better as individuals, knowing the things that light us up become powerful conversation starters.  Sharing gratitude isn’t just good for you, it is our social glue.

It is through these five daily commitments that life in lockdown became joyous, healthy and peaceful again.

It occurs to us that destiny has been guiding us the whole time.  An invisible hand has been pushing us towards something with cancelled flights.  In 2008 we came here to Bali to film videos for the Blissology Project.  The DVDs came out in 2011 when our son Lion was born.

The world is still living with a high degree of fear and worry.  Nobody can say that they have and easy ride.  The message from the universe is clear: It’s time to share our medicine.  It’s time to bring back this version of the Blissology Project on it’s 10th Anniversary. Welcome to it! This is our story and we are so thrilled to launch the new version of 7 Yoga and 7 Meditation videos to help us all create an Upward Spiral in challenging times.

Thanks for reading.  I hope it helps you through your challenges and joys.

Good luck, everyone. Share you light even more during this pandemic. The world needs it! 

 

 

 

How to Find Peace in an Over-Stimulated World.

eoin finn blissology commit to bliss course

How to find peace in an over stimulated world Do you agree that we are becoming more busy and scrambled with each passing year?

In our Commit to Bliss Course starting Nov 14 we have different Blissology Discussion topics

One of them is: “What is different about the world now then your parent’s generation?”

One obvious answer is that we are always on. We have so much stimulation, data and pressure to respond immediately to an overwhelming number of messages. This is what the Yogis called “Rajasic “ energy. In such an overwhelming, rajasic world, what happens to us if we don’t take the time to find peace?

Obviously, our minds suffer and our bodies can become sick.

You know that meditation is an important tool to counter this. But, as I pose in a question in this video, “how do you truly feel about mediation?” It’s like dieting. We do it because we HAVE TO but it’s not enjoyable. Many of us meditate because it’s something we have to do on our “spiritual to-do” list.

This is hard for me to watch because I feel like meditation is like a “breath massage.” I have found ways to make it enjoyable that I want to share. Have a listen – there are some important ideas here facing our modern era and the world our children and grandchildren will inherit

Let me know your thoughts

Find Peace, Everyone. Commit to Bliss.

#blissology #blissarmy #committobliss

 

Buyer Beware: Not All Breathwork is Relaxing

Eoin Chakra Physiology and Hormones
In a world of extremes we love to push the boundaries of

Commit to Bliss is Unique and Powerful course to learn the tools of Somatic Breathing and Embodied Physiology so we can self regulate back to peace in any life situation.

 

Imagine being brand new to snow-skiing and on your first run you ended up taking the wrong chair lift. Instead of going to the manageable bunny slope, you got thrust off the chair lift straight into a double diamond run. How would you feel looking down that steep pitch? To many experienced skiers, this is the dream. However, to the new skier most likely provokes sheer terror.

I had a blind spot when it came to how I taught yogic breathing techniques. I now see this blind spot everywhere as people quickly jump on the bandwagons of Wim Hof, the “IceMan.”

This is why I want to share this post now as a “Buyer Beware” PSA. I believe that if breathing techniques were packaged goods they should come with a label. “Warning, not all techniques are good for all people.”

With one in five people in US has an anxiety disorder, I see many yogic breathing techniques or Wim Hof Breathing techniques being described as relaxing antidotes to stress and anxiety. I want the word to get out that breathwork is not a “one size fits all shop.”

Let me circle back to the skiing analogy and my blind spot. I had been sharing these techniques in my classes up until 15 years ago. I loved the “double diamond” runs of long breath holds (Kumbhaka) and rapid breathing (Khapalabhati,) the same way I love big waves or double black diamond ski runs.

 

 

I spent many years practicing Kumbaka (long breath holds) and Kapalabhati (Rapid Breathing) by my teacher Gioia Irwin who’s lineage goes back to B.K.S. Iyengar.

As I prepare for an upcoming book and course on the Yoga Sutras, even Patanjali describes the serenity of the breath holds as the pinnacle of the yogic Pranayama experience (Check out Sutra 2.50.) How could people not like these techniques?

However, when I would teach them to students, many of them came to me afterwards saying that they were not experiencing peace at all, but they were going through traumatic experiences.

They were not seeing chakras, angelic auras or the light of divine consciousness. Not at all. What they were describing to me was panic flashbacks. Some described it to the claustrophobic experience of being put into MRI machines after being injected with purple die to check for tumors.

It made me seek feedback from other students on these techniques. What I found was that during these breathing techniques, many of them were secretly feeling claustrophobic, light-headed, dizzy and full of panic.

You may have seen some of my Instagram memes (Eoinisms) like the popular “Less Drama, More Pranayama.” What is fully clear to me now is that for about 1 in 6 people, I was causing “More Drama, through Pranayama!”

It’s no wonder they felt agitated because in these rapid breathing techniques, we are actually hyperventilating. Those rapid exhalations lower carbon dioxide levels which in turn lead to narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain!

When our blood supply to the brain is decreased, we will experience symptoms like lightheadedness and tingling in the fingers.

It’s actually crazy to consider that people who were already feeling anxious or trauma were now trying to fight off lightheadedness and numb fingers! And they had no tools to deal with this. And they were told this is “stress-reducing response. It wasn’t stress-reducing, it was stress-inducing!

On the other side of the coin, holding your breath too long can lower heart rate from a lack of oxygen. This causes CO₂ buildup in your bloodstream. This is called “nitrogen narcosis,” a dangerous buildup of nitrogen gases in your blood that can make you feel disoriented or inebriated.

Again, for people who are already suffering from stress and anxiety, why would we ever push them off the chair lift into the double diamond run of feeling disoriented or inebriated? Of course, you may have the tools stay grounded in this disorientated state so this may be your cup of tea, and that’s fine. My point is we cannot keep pushing people into these experiences under the label of “reduce stress with pranayama or Wim Hof breathing techniques.

To be fair, what I found is that if I worked one on one with these students, we had a lot of success to make the experience slowly more enjoyable. They gradually learned the somatic tools to stay calm in the experience to not allow the sympathetic nervous system or panic response to overtake them.

However, in large group classes, I couldn’t work one on one with people the way these pranayama breathing techniques should be taught. As a result, I stopped sharing these breathing techniques in my classes for that reason. (Again, it’s not that I don’t think they are great in some circumstances, but we have to walk before we run.)

About 15 years ago, I decided to change tacks altogether.

I set out a mission to explore ways of helping people regulate towards peace. What if we could make a goal of getting people onto the green slopes first before launching them of the chair lift into a double diamond slope that can cause the panic response?

I can’t go into the details of all the techniques here, but I am so overjoyed to share the ones that have evolved in our Blissology school.

I want to share these as a more widely accessible alternative to more stimulating breathing techniques. By analogy, I want people to enjoy the effects of a mellow “Cush” strain of marijuana before they launch into the world of Ayahuasca trip intensity. In a world where many of us with life stresses are already in the extremes of stress, I just don’t think that we need to rush to extremes.

I will be sharing many of these techniques in the upcoming Commit to Bliss course Nov 14 and my new Yoga book due out this winter.

The course is primarily about finding “Embodied Peace.” It’s about learning Somatic regulation and what I called “Embodied Physiology.” My goal is to share tools, conversations and science about how to steer our bodies back to peace when we feel anxious, angry or overly stressed.

 

Eoin Chakra Physiology and Hormones

Commit to Bliss is a coursed designed to teach you Embodied Physiology to help regulate your body and mind back to Peace.

 

In the meantime, here is a small an excerpt from page 156 of the upcoming Commit to Bliss Book under the Embodied Breath section.

The general process is to go slow and feel the breath.
Open your senses and notice the body as you breathe.

Reduce the tendency of the human mind to analyze of rush.
Simply enjoy the feeling of peace that comes when we slow down our breath.

Breathe fully into your belly noticing that when the breath becomes more enjoyable your mind feels more spacious and free.

Even as you read the sentences below, make plenty of space to pause and a savor the experience. Soften your eyes and keep the spine long.  Enjoy the slow.

See your breathing process through the lens of tightness and flow.

Feel a place that’s tight: some common places are the lower back, the upper shoulders, the lower jaw, the forehead and belly. Let them release. Breath that tightness out, as your brain sinks into a hammock with ease.

Feel the fullness and the peace in your breath as we shift into a state of mind, we call flow.

Calm is your superpower. You have the controls. Enjoy each deep and full breath

 

The Skill of Chill: Is your mind pulling you by the leash?

Dog and Boy walking - meditation analogy
Dog and Boy walking - meditation analogy

This is Cloud when Lion was walking him

Last winter our son, Lion took a friend’s dog 🐶 for a walk in Seattle.

The dog, named Cloud, outweighed Lion by about 40 pounds.

Lion loved walking the dog when a squirrel came running by, Cloud chased it. He soon discovered what it’s like to be WALKED BY A DOG rather than the other way around.

When I saw this, it hit me that this is what our emotions do to us. They are big dogs that we should be walking, but instead they are pulling us as they chase squirrels.

Our normal strategy for these out-of-control emotions is denial, ignoring, “stuffing down” or drowning them with distraction many times in the form of red wine.

What we call Chill is usually about unplugging. The yogis call this Tamas.

Most times we don’t realize it, but what we are actually unplugging from is a connection to our Inner Light.

Yoga teaches us that there is a different type of relaxation that is still connected to Light. It’s called Sattva.

It is a calm and peaceful state. It opens the door to the deepest essence of our being.

But finding Sattva in a busy, frenetic world is not easy. Culturally, we are focused on external circumstances like accumulating material things or winning over the approval of others. This makes Sattvic inner peace harder to find and we become like a dog walker getting pulled by the dog. Our minds are pulling us, and it feels like we have no control.

What I’ve learned is that there is a Skill to Chill.

This is what our Commit to Bliss course is all about Nov 14. By strengthening our tools of yoga, meditation, philosophy (perspective,) and embodied physiology, we can step outside of the prison of the mind. We can relax into our greatness.

In case you can’t do the course, my top tip for the SKILL OF CHILL is to focus on the FULLNESS of breath.

Breathing is easy but BREATHING FULLY IS A SKILL. To feel our ribs moving so we can breathe into our potential means that we need to find what is restricting the movement of our breathing muscles.

We breathe fully, we will make peace with thought loops that manifest as holding patterns in our bodies.

Luckily, when we can unblock these places, the breath becomes more enjoyable and we tame the squirrel-chasing dog of our minds.

You’ve got the leash, so guide your mind. 🐕

Breathe out your tightness, breathe into your lightness.

Chill is a Skill.

.

Love Transcends All Distance {meditation}

This “Love Transcends all Distance” meditation is my medicine in these anxious times. I am honored and excited to share. My hope is that is will help restore you to a space of calm and centeredness. Space where we can find the eye in the storm.

It is a somatic-based meditation where we bring deep and relaxing, “3 Dimensional” breath into the body to help regulate ourselves towards peace. You will feel your hormone and nervous system switch into the relaxation response. You will let go of fear and worry and reconnect to the light inside our hearts.

Ultimately, my hope is that you will feel that Love is an energy that is accessible to us even in the most challenging of times and it is the force that needs to guide us now more than ever.

You will feel that even though we may have a lot of physical distance between us these days, the Love Transcends All Distance.

We are offering this as a free service but we would graciously accept donations for our EcoKarma Project. If you’d like to donate you can do so here. All proceeds will help us create more blue oceans for the next generation.

Eoin

Compulsively Checking for “Likes”? Eoin has a Meditation for That.

In a world driven by social media likes, in which we consider “friends” to be “followers” and our worth in clicks, it can be tough to cultivate a true sense of self-love and inner peace. Renowned yoga teachers, it turns out, are not immune from the bait of the ego. Eoin Finn, founder of Blissology and regular Wanderlust teacher, was leading a retreat in Bali when he had the revelation.

“In Bali, there are stars, there’s are no walls,” says Eoin. “So I’m sitting under the stars, looking at the light on my phone, when there’s so much beautiful light coming in from all those beautiful stars. And I realized I was plugged into the wrong light.”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be liked, of course. But for Eoin it was a reminder to cultivate his sense of worth within before he could accept it from outside sources, even if those sources are thousands of followers…

Read the rest of the article by Lisette Cheresson on Wanderlust’s website and see the meditation below.

Presence, Meditation + Love: Three Rivers, One Ocean

I always teach why we need to be in the present before explaining how. I feel this is something that is elusive to people. Simply put, presence opens the door to more intimate engagement in life; life has more meaning and joy in the present.

A simple example is food.

When we are present to the food we eat, we eat slowly, we savor each bite. The conversation in our head is about how the food tastes, we experience slowly the sensations of each morsel in our palette. It is not about what we are going to do next week or typing a message on social media. We taste what is in front of us with intimate engagement. The flavors speak to us and we listen with our body and mind.

Photo: Made Sintya

 

By contrast, when we are not present to our food, we tend to just shovel it in as we watch our television or walk down the street. We are still living in our heads and our food is entering our body without any real awareness. There is no intimacy and no connection to who made our food, where it came from, how it tastes or what it is doing to our body.

The first step is to slow down and hit pause; to shift from doing to feeling. We want to open the door to more reverence to all life.

There is a sense of peace in the body that we seek in yoga + meditation. The lower back is relaxed, the breath is full and deep, the shoulders are relaxed. We need to use this as a barometer for when we are present or not. Often, when we are not present our bodies are tense and our breath is not very deep and only in the upper front chest.

The key to me is to see Presence more as a state of body, than a state of mind.  When our bodies are light, but grounded and relaxed, the door to presence opens easily.

Especially the week of Valentine’s when Love becomes something we focus on more, let’s commit to slowing down and truly being present for the ones who mean something to us. Let’s feel the miracle of each person and the honor to be in this time and this space with another.

Let’s make time for Kindness. Let’s make more time for Love After all, as we say in Blissology: “Love is the Ultimate Renewable Resource.”

Blissology Project: Day 14 – Sunday, February 4th

This is Day 14 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.

The last day of the Blissology Project 2018 is upon us! You’ve put so much time and energy forth to make happiness a habit in your life. Feel grateful for whatever commitment you were able to put forth and carry the good vibes you’ve cultivated into the rest of your life!

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. Double Pigeon (Agnistambhasana)
  2. Flying Pigeon (Eka Pada Galavasana)
  3. Corpse (Savasana)

*Note: We realize these are some challenging poses! Do your best with where your practice is today. If you feel your flexibility and strength just aren’t there today then insert a pose or two that feel good in your body.

*Special Announcement: Eoin will be hosting a Facebook Live Super Soul Sunday yoga class. Tune in on the Blissology Facebook Page at 10am PST on Sunday, February 4th to get the good vibes flowing!

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

Meditation

You’ve learned so many different meditation techniques and practices from an incredible array of Blissologists. Use your Wise Guide Inside to take 5-minutes to meditate on your own with whatever feels good!

Nature Appreciation

  • Go camping. Even if you can’t go today plan a trip in the near future, even if it’s just for one night. Consider it a celebration of your completion of the Blissology Project!
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #natureappreciation

Food Awareness

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie:

Tastes like dessert but healthy enough to drink for breakfast, or as a post yoga rejuvenator.

Ingredients:

2 – 3 tbsp raw almond or cashew butter

1 tbsp greens powder. We like pranin organics, or vitamineral greens

4 – 6 oz water//’

4 – 6 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk (store bought or homemade)

¼ of a small sized avocado (like a hass avocado)

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

sweeten to taste with raw honey

1 tbsp raw cacao nibs

2 – 4 ice cubes

Method:

  • Add all ingredients except the cacao nibs to a blender.
  • Pulse until smooth and creamy.
  • Then, add the cacao nibs and blend for another 5 – 10 seconds to break up the nibs into little bits.
  • Pour into a glass.
  • Enjoy.

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

Gratitude

  • Reflection Meditation. In Savasana position place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Allow space for any feelings and emotions of the last two weeks of the Blissology Project to arise. Offer appreciation and gratitude for your commitment to this program in whatever capacity you were able to contribute. You are more than enough!

Wild Card

  • Have a dance party! Either on your own, with family and friends, or with your Bliss Tribe celebrate your commitment to the Blissology Project. Turn on your favourite music and let loose!

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Blissology Project: Day 13 – Saturday, February 3rd

This is Day 13 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.

Don’t let the 13 sway you, this is a day full of all kinds of luck and blessings. You’ve almost made it to the end of the Blissology Project and you’re feeling embodied in the energy of the Upward Spiral. Let’s carry these good vibes forward today!

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 Lunge (Skandasana)
  2. Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
  3. Eka Pada Koundinyasana II

*Note: We realize these are some challenging poses! Do your best with where your practice is today. If you feel your flexibility and strength just aren’t there today then insert a pose or two that feel good in your body.

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

Meditation

Deepen into the groove of meditation with this 6-minute Meditation for People Who Don’t Meditate. Enjoy!

Nature Appreciation

  • Eat a meal outside today. Even if it’s cold go for a walk with a warm thermos of soup. If it’s warm where you live savour lying on the grass or beach with the sun beaming down on you while you munch.
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #natureappreciation 

Food Awareness

Chia Pudding:

This is both breakfast and dessert all in one and it is delicious.

¼ cup chia seeds

½ cup hot water

1 to 1 1/2 cup almond milk (I prefer to use homemade almond milk) but otherwise try to find a creamy unsweetened almond milk

1 – 2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup

½ tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

½ tsp cardamom powder or cardamom seeds ground finely into a powder

1 tsp Coconut butter.

Optional: 1 tsp rose water

 

  1. Pour hot water over chia seeds and mix thoroughly.  Soak in the refrigerator for several hours or even overnight to make a thick gelatinous chia gel.
  2. In a bowl or in a blender, mix in all ingredients.  Blend lightly and taste.  Adjust for sweetness.
  3. To serve, garnish with some cardamom powder, rose petals and mint leaves, or any seasonal fruit.

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

Gratitude

  • When you find yourself in a bad situation today do your best to take a few deep breaths before reacting. Ask yourself, “What can I learn?” When you look back at the situation without emotion later what will you be grateful for?

Wild Card

  • Cook a meal for a loved one. You could even make your favourite meal and share the experience of mindful eating together.

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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 12 – Friday, February 2nd

This is Day 12 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.

Can you believe it’s the end of the second week of the Blissology Project. We’ve infused ourselves with so much Bliss and Joy let’s carry this forward into the last few days!

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. Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)
  2. Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III)
  3. Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

*Note: We realize these are some challenging poses! Do your best with where your practice is today. If you feel your balance and strength just aren’t there today then insert a pose or two that feel good in your body.

Bonus: Explore your body in new ways with this Full Body Opening and Peace Finding Flow with Blissologist Rhyanna Watson!

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

Meditation

Take a few minutes to relax and centre yourself with Blissologist Leanne Hembrow in her 6-minute Relaxation Meditation. Enjoy the Bliss Vibes!

Nature Appreciation

  • Browse the internet for pictures of the wonders of the world or current environmental issues. Bonus points if you visit one of these wonders or take action to help the environment.
  • Don’t forget to share any photos on social media using hashtag #blissologyproject + #natureappreciation 

Food Awareness

Pineapple + Basil Cooler:

Full of digestive enzymes, pineapple in the warmer months detoxifies and cools the body off excess heat. The lime and cayenne also help to boost a sluggish liver.

Ingredients:

1 pineapple, peeled, and cut into large chunks, discard the hard center.

8 fresh basil leaves

juice from 1 lime

Small pinch of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt

Small pinch of cayenne

Bit of raw honey if you need it.

 

 

  • Blend pineapple with tiny pinch of salt in a high speed blender.
  • Add basil leaves, lightly blend.
  • Drink at room temperature.  

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

Gratitude

  • Gratitude requires humility, which the dictionary defines as being “modest and respectful.” Take some time to reflect on how you’re already a humble being and maybe aspects of your life where you could improve.

Wild Card

  • Tell a joke to someone. Really take some time to research and find the perfect one. Then deliver it with skill and flare!

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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!