Warm Holiday Wishes

I wanted to take this moment to extend my warmest wishes to all my readers and their families for a happy holiday season.  I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to create this site in 2011.  You have all given me so much inspiration with your visits, comments and support to keep the Wellness Kriya site alive!  My hope is that it has been a little sanctuary to visit – a place to be inspired, motivated, and empowered to live your life with the highest wellness quotient.  We each have tremendous strength within us to navigate through all of life’s challenges and enough grace to relish in the goodness of it.  

For 2012, I challenge YOU to take risks in your life that expand you further than you thought possible, fuel your soul by exercising your mind and body, live authentically in the present moment, know that change is inevitable, and learn to embrace it by letting go of all that does not serve you, believe in spirit and be encouraged that something larger is working on you, through you and for you, be grateful for all that flows into your life.  May your lives continue to flourish in unimaginable ways!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You! 

Broadening Your Perspective

I recently watched an interview with Oprah and Mark Nepo, author of the best-seller, “The Book of Awakening“.  For anyone looking for a book full of small vignettes of inspiration, this is your book. 

As we finish our discussion on navigating through the pain and struggles of life, I wanted to share an excerpt from Nepo’s book, as he puts the concept of pain in perspective.

How Does it Taste?

An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt.  When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. 

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the young man.

Peyto Lake

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake.  The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake”. 

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” 

“Fresh”, remarked the apprentice. 

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. 

“No”, said the young man. 

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt;  no more, no less.  The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same.  But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in.  So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things….Stop being a glass.  Become a lake”.

Each of us, at different times in our lives, will experience some pain and struggles.  As raw and real as the experiences are, Nepo teaches us that when we broaden the space in our minds to house the pain, we start to taste the sweetness of life that still exists.

Living In Between the Answers

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. 

Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given to you, because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is to live everything. 

Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”   -Ranier Maria Rilke

I first heard this quote read by my yoga instructor at the end of one of our sessions.  It got me thinking about how much we try to make sense of things that happen around us – especially, when they involve pain and suffering. 

We spoke Monday about learning how to ride the wave of our lives.  How do we navigate through the inevitable turmoil, stress, and pain that are part of the natural wave?  What can we do to nurture ourselves as we move through the challenges?  I came up with a few strategies.

1.  Take a moment.  Give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling.  If emotions arise, let them come to the surface, instead of pushing them down.  Take time out of your day to be still – even if it’s only for a few minutes.  Too often, we try to fill our days so we don’t have to feel, when in reality, giving our emotions the space they need, will help cleanse the mind. 

2.  Move your Body.  We all know how closely linked our minds and bodies are.  During times of high stress, exercising is a great remedy.  Maybe you take a walk outdoors and breathe in some fresh air.  Perhaps, you sign up for a yoga class.  Maybe you recruit a good friend to be a running buddy.  Make some form of exercise a priority.

3.  Find Support.  Remember, we can’t go through life alone.  Lean on the people in your life that you trust and who have your best interest at heart.  Share your feelings, and allow them to be your safety net.  Often, we will find that those closest to us have gone through similar circumstances and give us solace that we are not alone.  Sometimes, that’s enough.

4.  Focus on Gratitude.  This is such a powerful tool to help us through any tough time.  Remind yourself of the things that are going right in your life (and, I guarantee, there are MANY).  I have a gratitude journal that I keep.  You may want to start by writing 5 things you are grateful for when you first start your day or before you go to bed.  There will soon be a shift in your perception.

5.  Feed your Soul.  There are many different ways to do this.  Give your soul the love it needs.  What are the simple things that give you pleasure?  Maybe it’s taking a warm bath or booking a massage for yourself.  Maybe you relish reading a good book on your couch.  Perhaps, you spend some quality time with your spouse or kids cooking a meal together.  How about that painting class you’ve been meaning to sign up for?  Whatever it is that brings you some small level of joy, provide it to yourself. 

6.  Accept Where You Are.  This is challenging for many of us.  We want so badly to be out of our circumstance.  But when we can fully embrace this time as just part of our journey, we realize that the wave never stands still.  It is always moving forward, as we will, too.    

Can you create some space to live between the answers?  Can you live and love the questions that arise? 

Searching for the Wave

In life, there are always ebbs and flows.  Just as the ocean waves have peaks and troughs, so do our life circumstances.  We all have stressors in our lives and situations that can bring about pain.  They could be physical discomforts, such as stubbing your toe or living with chronic back pain.  They could involve emotional upheavals, such as the end of a relationship or a painful past that you have yet to face.  There could be financial turmoil or the death of a loved one that prompts you to question your spiritual beliefs.  

Many people in my life have recently gone through life-changing circumstances, including myself.  The questions are always so similar.  How do I get through this?  What is this supposed to mean?  Which way do I go?  I was counseling someone the other day on moving through the pain.  I’ve learned that the only way out is through.  That literally means being present in full form, taking one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.  It doesn’t mean that you have the answers, and most likely you won’t for some time.  It means that you just take the next step in the right direction.  That might mean that you commit to getting out of bed every morning, and that’s it.

They say that out of pain comes growth and transformation.  It’s difficult to believe when you’re in the midst of it all.  However, for many, it is a pivotal time in their lives.  It may be the first time that they reflect or ask questions of themselves that they couldn’t have imagined asking.  It involves exercising the mind in a completely different way.  It may feel sometimes like you’re walking directly into the fire.  Elizabeth Lessor, author of the best-seller, “Broken Open”, speaks about this beautifully in her book.  When we begin to take the next step in the right direction through our pain, we will eventually begin to feel subtle rises in our soul and in the wave of our lives.  **Check in Wednesday for some tips on navigating through stressors and painful times.

Deepali’s Piece of Wellness:  Think back to a time in your life that you were in pain – physically, emotionally, or mentally.  How did that shape who you’ve become today?  Was there anything you learned from it?  If you’re in the midst of pain, can you tune into your breath, if only for a few moments?

Revealing Your Truth

borrowed from DailyOm.com

As we end our week’s discussion of truth, I stumbled upon a great post by Daily Om on allowing our essential authenticity to shine through.  Remember that our truth exists within us always, whether we express it or not. It is always living, breathing, and asking to be revealed.  In each life decision we make, we can either choose to follow what is innately true for us, or we can push it away.  Each one of us is unique and comes with our own blueprint that helps guide us.  What I’ve learned is that when we vere away from this guide, we limit ourselves from becoming the best version of ourselves.   

Thank you, DAILY OM, for the great reminder and a wonderful way to end the weekend.   Enjoy the link to one of my absolute favorite websites, full of many life lessons.

Your Center of Truth

Have you ever noticed that whenever you focus on something, somehow the universe mirrors it back to you?  We spoke Monday about knowing your truth.  The next evening at my power yoga class, the flow was focused on the “throat chakra” or the center of  truth.  Chakra is the Sanskrit word for “wheel”, and it is part of the energy force that lives within our bodies and spirit.  There are seven chakras, or channels that affect the body functions through our consciousness and awareness.  They are like pumps or valves that transmit energy throughout our body.

We feed our energy channels and, as a result, all of our vital organs by our thoughts and reactions to the stimuli in our environment.  The energy channel that correlates with our innate truth, exists in the throat.  It is through the throat and mouth that we express to the world who we are.  Only when we can be honest about who we are on a deeper level, can we express ourselves authentically.  Dishonesty, or even repressing our emotions and pushing them away into our subconscious, could manifest into various throat ailments.  It is through the pathway of our throat and mouth that we can create sounds, allowing us to vocalize freely the depth of who we are and who we hope to be.   Here are some associations to the the throat chakra courtesy of about.com:

  • Color– blue
  • Sanskrit Namevishuddha
  • Physical Location– throat, neck region
  • Purposes– learning to take responsibility for one’s own needs
  • Spiritual Lesson– confession, surrender personal will over to divine will, faith, truthfulness over deceit
  • Physical Dysfunctions– sore throat, mouth ulcers, scoliosis, swollen glands, thyroid dysfunctions, laryngitis, voice problems, gum or tooth problems, TMJ
  • Mental and Emotional Issues– personal expression, creativity, addiction, criticism, faith, decision making (choices), will, lack of authority
  • Information Stored Inside Throat Chakra– self-knowledge, truth, attitudes, hearing, taste, smell
  • Area of Body Governed – throat, thyroid, trachea, neck vertebrae, mouth, teeth, gums, esophagus, parathyroid, hypothalamus

How can you express your truth today?


Knowing your Truth

“The truth shall set you free”.  We have all heard this phrase before.  I wouldn’t say I am a dishonest person, but perhaps I’m not as forthcoming or as open as I want to be.  I tend to be private and keep a lot inside.  I’m like many people who need to process situations before I share. 

Many times we hold things inside, because we’re afraid of being judged – especially by those we respect.  This was my situation.  There had been something I wanted to share with a good friend of mine for some time, but I couldn’t strike up the courage to do so.  Today, after a slow jog and spending a few minutes quieting my mind, I decided I would face it.  I wrote a long email and told her what I needed to tell her.  The result was a sense of freedom.  I felt lighter.  I felt relieved.  More than anything, I felt I was no longer holding a big load on my shoulder.  It was something I wanted to release and finally did. 

What I realized was that I was really holding back the truth from myself.  In order to let go of what I needed to let go of in my mind, I had to face the honest truth.  When I faced it, I was able to accept it.  And when I accepted it, I was able to release it.  Of course, depending on the situation, this can be a long process, and it’s important to take the time you need to process.  Remember, though, that we all judge ourselves harsher than anyone else in the world.  We fear being judged and being deemed unworthy.  When we hold back, we rob people the opportunity to really see the essense of who we are.  And maybe we do that, because we don’t always like who we are.  Or perhaps, we’re not where we want to be in life.  Or maybe, we feel like we’ve let others down. 

The real truth is that we all want to be validated.  We want to be seen, heard, and acknowledged.  I ended up having a great conversation with my friend today.  She was, in fact, able to share with me some similar experiences she had this past year.  Had I not opened up, I’m not sure she would have either.  Facing our truths allowed us both to free our minds today.

Deepali’s Piece of Wellness:  Are there situations in your life that you need to face and accept?  Are you denying what is true for you?  Facing your truth will allow for a deeper connection with yourself and in all of your relationships.

The Power of Gratitude

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.
And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
—  Maya Angelou
Each Thanksgiving, my family (and oftentimes, friends of mine and my brothers’) would go around the table and state one thing we were thankful for that year.  Although, we only did this ONCE in a year, it always filled me with such love and warmth.  It brought inside me a feeling of abundance and a knowing that all is okay.  It’s not because everything in our lives was perfect, but it was because we brought our focus and attention to what was going right in that moment.  It shifted our perceptions of ourselves and of each other. 
The truth is that gratitude has the power to change our lives.  We all have things in our lives that don’t go as planned.  We all have things we wish and hope we had or didn’t have.  It’s hard to feel gratitude at times when we’ve lost loved ones, when we’re in financial turmoil, or when our health falters.  It is okay to grieve those losses.  It’s ok if we don’t have all the answers.  But know this:  When you choose to focus on gratitude, you open the channels for all good to flow toward you and through you.  It changes how you see yourself, your surroundings, and your circumstances.  Instead of focusing on the lack, appreciate the small things in your life that you already have now.  How have they added to the myriad of blessings that exist for you in this moment?
I hope your Thanksgiving day was full of warmth, love, family, and friends.  And through the holiday season, and hopefully beyond, I hope that you choose to invite gratitude into your heart and allow the power of it to grace your wellness quotient.  I am grateful to each one of you that visits this site.  Its success has been fueled by you!    
Many blessings to you and to your families!

More Life Lessons from an African Safari

No other place in the world has brought me such a feeling of closeness to life and the earth as when I was in Africa.  There was a feeling of connectedness to land and life in its beginnings.  It was the simplicity with which all creatures lived their lives.  Being on safari, I learned a few lessons from several of the animals.   *Click on the pictures to obtain larger images.

1.  Zebra.  I remember a pair of lions that were crouching in the grassy brush, plotting an attack on a herd of zebra.  They each scoped out a different direction.  I had to put my camera down and trade it for my binoculars to observe this rare opportunity.  To the dismay of the lions, the intuitiveness of one of the zebra pulled the herd in another direction and they all ran off.  There was no way for the zebra to actually see the lions from where he stood.  He just sensed it as I saw his ears twitch, his body contract and his face become more alert.  The lesson:  Don’t discount the power of your intuition.  Sometimes, that is the only guidance you receive to make a smart decision.

2.  Lion.  Though the example above showed how intuition can help guide one species, it shows the perseverence of another.  I doubt the pair of lions decided after that defeat to give up hunting.  Once again, it is survival of the fittest.  They must continue to try again in order to live.  The lesson:  Success only comes from perseverence.  Failures are the catalyst, or the fuel, that we can use to our advantage if we choose. 

3.  Cheetah.  The cheetah is a solitary animal, meaning it hunts and gathers on its own.  Though it is one of the fastest animals, it is also the most vulnerable.  If it gets sick or injured, it will likely starve to death.  The lesson:  You may think you can fly solo in life, but allowing others to lend a helping hand on your journey can make the flight smoother.

4.  Elephant.  The African elephant is the largest land mammal in the world.  When I looked into the eyes of these soulful creatures, I saw peace.  They are herbivores and pretty much stay out of the way of other animals.  And because of their size, they are rarely preyed upon.   Despite weighing between 6-7 tons, they walk quietly and are not aggresive animals.  The lesson:  No matter how powerful you are (literally or figuratively), true respect is earned through humility.

5.  Leopard.  We were lucky to see leopards on our safari, as they are usually camouflauged in trees in a distance.  They use trees to their advantage, as they are able to see an aerial view of the surroundings below.  They can take inventory and decide when to make a move.  The lesson:  Have a vision, do the research, and then act.  Your life depends on it.

I think animals have a lot to teach us.  So many of our wellness concepts are interwoven in them.  We may be more advanced from an evolutionary perspective, but sometimes there is much to learn from our primal predecessors.

A Lesson from the African Animals

“Jaambo” to all my readers!  I can hardly believe I had the opportunity to visit the amazing land of East Africa last month.  This was an experience like no other I have had in my life.  By far, the best part of the trip was being on safari – being a voyeur into the lives of hundreds of animals in their own habitat.  I remember sitting in a 15-seater plane, flying over the magestic Serengeti, looking down at one of the largest game reserves in Africa, extending from Northern Tanzania to Kenya.   

It is an indescribable feeling to watch animals living within their natural environment.  There is a sense of peace and calm as the wildebeests gather around the water hole, the giraffes stretch their long legs with a dainty gait, a baby elephant nurses, a sleeping leopard rests a paw off a tree branch.  One of the things we know about animals living in a shared enviroment with other animals is that it is all about survival.  In order to survive, or should I say thrive, in their environment they must pay attention.  They have to take heed to all the  signals around them all the time.  They must be present to what is happening in the moment – all the time.  Without being present, they could lose the opportunity to find food/prey or, rather be the one preyed upon.  Without using their natural instincts, they would lose direction during a migration.  Without paying attention, they might never learn to be self-sufficient and, in turn, teach their offspring how to survive.  Animals must be present to what is before them in order to adapt to life.  Humans are no different.

I noticed on my safari that life for the animals is a series of present moments strung together – after all, isn’t that what it should be?  Although as humans we are not forced to always be in flight or fight mode from being preyed upon, many of us live in a constant state of stress which can mimick the same response in our bodies.   We do this when we spend time analyzing and re-analyzing the past, bringing it into our present day.  We do this when we refuse to accept what is.  We do this when we resist that people in our lives are anything other than who they are.  Why do we do this?  Because we don’t have the answers we need.  Because we long for something that is “long gone”.  Because we identify with some form of ourselves that we miss.  Unfortunately, what we really miss are the opportunities that lie before us today.  As cliche as it is, we truly only have the present moment.  Animals know this on a very raw, visceral level.  Their lives depend on it.  In many ways, so do ours.  **More life lessons from Tanzania on Wednesday!

Deepali’s Piece of Wellness:  This week, give yourself permission to be aware of your surroundings and utilize all your senses.  Where are your instincts leading you?  Can you trust them?  Challenge yourself to be present and awake this week.