Upper Limbs (Meditation) – September 2021 Day 1: Moving Meditation & International Clean Air Day

Good morning Yogis! Today is Upper Limbs Day to close out our cycle of practices inspired by the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Today is also the International Day of Clean Air so today we will combine getting outside for this environmentally focused holiday with our meditation practice.

cool perspective close-up dark green moss growing through light gray rocks - moving meditation mindfulness Quote: Meditation and concentration are the way to a life of serenity. - Baba Ram Dass
Meditation and concentration are the way to a life of serenity. – Baba Ram Dass

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a moving meditation. I recommend a meditative drive or hike! Check out the US National Parks Pass if you love meditative hikes – this covers US national park entrance fees for a year, and helps support public conservation.

Moving Meditations

Driving is my favorite meditative activity, I definitely have the “monkey mind” so having something big to focus on is very helpful for me, and these meditative drives often result in solutions to problems or my best ideas.

Yoga retreats frequently offer meditation walks or mindfulness hikes. This is something I try with our Santosha practices of enjoying the present moment! A meditative walk or hike is a great way to begin meditating, especially if mindfulness practices are new to you, or you have difficulty calming the mind while sitting quietly.

Or try a Restorative Asana class with Guided Meditation for a meditative Asana session.

Next INTRO CHALLENGE in November

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

Please comment to share which moving meditation you tried or prefer. Always remember, be kind!

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Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender) – OM – September 2021: Day 1

Happy Friday Yogis! We are on the last day of this round of weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day. Today we will practice Ishvara Pranidhana / Surrender focusing on the literal translation from Sanskrit – surrender to all-pervading consciousness and its vibration/sound/representation OM.

gold om symbol on dark green background
Om – Sanskrit

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice some OMs for Ishvara Pranidhana Day. OM is pronounced as a very long A-U-M or OOOM, not like “on” with an m. OM is familiar in the East, but often the only exposure for those in the West is at Yoga class. Please see my intro to OM for more info and links for in-depth research. You can do this on your own if you are practiced, or check out this video to learn how to properly OM on your own, or perhaps try this video as a guided meditation.

Cymatics

I recently learned about Chladni plates, cymatics, and visual representation of OM. If you are a science nerd like me, PLEASE go check this out.. it is mind-blowing.

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Please comment and share your experience if you got your OM on with us today! Have you tried this before, or is OM new to you? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 28 – 2021 – Body Scanning Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are at the end of our special Upper Limbs week and special bonus daily meditation month, and will close with one final special meditation practice. Next month we will have a new special feature – stay tuned for tomorrow!

cool perspective decordova sculpture garden shot of gray twisting abstract sculpture with background of grassy field under shade of green leafy trees - body scanning meditation Quote: The body scan is not for everybody, and it is not always the meditation of choice even for those who love it. But it is extremely useful and good to know about and practice from time to time, whatever your circumstances or condition. - Jon Kabat-Zinn
The body scan is not for everybody, and it is not always the meditation of choice even for those who love it. But it is extremely useful and good to know about and practice from time to time, whatever your circumstances or condition. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a body scanning meditation. You can try in Shavasana after Asana practice, or on its own. I usually start at my toes, and gradually tighten and relax each body part, then re-scan starting again at my toes.

More Body Scan Meditations

Body Scanning Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

Body Scan Instructions and more info

Please comment to share your experience or any favorite body scan practices. Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 27 – 2021 – Mantra Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our special Upper Limbs week! We are ending a special bonus daily meditation month with a week of special meditation practices.

cool perspective shot looking at pine tree branch with droopy green needles and baby pine cones surrounded by branches in pine grove - mantra meditation Quote: Everyone has their own mantra. - Russell Brand
Everyone has their own mantra. – Russell Brand

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a mantra meditation. You can try some OMs, a traditional Sanskrit mantra, or some common English motivational mantras.

MantraS

25 Motivational Mantras

Learn about and practice some OMs

Intro to Sanskrit Mantras

Read and learn about Mantras in English

Morning Positive Affirmations (5 min video – English)

Want more on Meditation?
Check our Meditation Board on Pinterest!

Please comment to share which mantra meditation you tried or prefer. Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 26 – 2021 – Trataka – Flame Gazing Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a special Upper Limbs week of meditative practices. Today we will focus on Flame Gazing Meditation, a Dharana practice I particularly enjoy during winter with the wood stove. A candle is usually best for summer, and traditional Trataka is practiced with the flame from a candle or oil lamp.

cool decordova sculpture garden perspective shot of black and red firey waving platform holding black rock with background of grassy field under shade of green leafy trees - fire trataka flame gazing meditation Quote: The most tangible of all visible mysteries - fire. - Leigh Hunt
The most tangible of all visible mysteries – fire. – Leigh Hunt

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a form of Flame Gazing, a Dharana Practice. There are a few different forms of this you can try!

Flame Gazing Meditation – Trataka

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Check our Meditation Board on Pinterest!

Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Dharana exercise! Have you done this meditative flame-gazing before, not knowing this was a meditation practice? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 24 – 2021 – Evening Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our special Upper Limbs week! We are in the middle of a special bonus daily meditation month aligning with our 8 Limb Yoga practices, but this week we will cover special meditation practices.

cool decordova sculpture garden clear glass doors with dirt path through grassy field dreamland  under cloudy blue sky - sleep meditation dream Quote: Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep. - Mesut Barazany
Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep. – Mesut Barazany

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Bedtime or Sleep Meditation for Upper Limbs Day. I am providing a few recommendations for this style of guided meditation based on your preferences. I find I fall asleep much easier with a sleep meditation, and I find the 6-8 hour meditations help me stay asleep through the night. I recently have been enjoying trying different Hz Solfeggio Frequency sleep music.

Sleep Guided Meditation

Evening Sleep/Relaxation Meditation (50 minutes)

Meditative Sleep Music (8 Hours)

Delta Wave Healing Sleep Music (11 Hours)

528Hz Manifest Guided Meditation (8 Hours)

Sleep Music for Dreams (8 Hours)

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Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried. We are starting a daily meditation challenge for June, so please share any favorite guided meditations or meditation practices!! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 23 – 2021 – Morning Meditation

Good morning Yogis, it is the start of a special Upper Limbs week! We are in the middle of a special bonus daily meditation month aligning with our 8 Limb Yoga practices, so this final week we will focus on the Upper Limbs and cover special meditation practices.

cool perspective looking up at grape vine with dark green leaves covering trellis gate with sun rays peeking through the foliate - upper limbs meditation morning routine Quote: The day will be what you make it, so rise, like the sun, and burn. - William C. Hannan
The day will be what you make it, so rise, like the sun, and burn. – William C. Hannan

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Morning Meditation for Upper Limbs Day. I am providing a few recommendations for this style of guided meditation based on how much time you have available to practice. I truly find I have a much better day when I start the morning with a guided meditation!

Morning Guided Meditation

Morning Gudied Meditation (5 minutes)

Morning Motivation Guided Meditation (10 minutes)

Morning Manifest Guided Meditation (20 minutes)

Want more on Meditation?
Check our Meditation Board on Pinterest!

Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried. I switch between different morning meditations each day, so please share any favorite guided meditations or meditation practices!! Always remember, be kind!

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Santosha – Contentment – Day 7 – 2021 – Mindfulness

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Santosha / contentment Day. Today we are going to revisit Mindfulness, a concept and practice that relates to Santosha.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is fully being present or “in the moment” without distractions, and observing your inner and/or outer world without judgment. This is a practice embraced by both Eastern Philosophy and Western Psychology as key for both contentment and stress reduction. Many enjoy Yoga because it brings Mindfulness with focus on breath, moving between poses, and being present in our bodies. Mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, remain calm in stressful situations, support positive thinking, and increase the quality of our lives.

More on Mindfulness and Benefits

Psychology Today – Understanding, Practicing, and Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindful – Getting Started with Mindfulness (and Meditation)

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June! For our Mindfulness-focused Santosha Day today, our meditation is a  Mindfulness Guided Meditation.

cool perspective close-up of light green evergreen spruce tree needles - santosha contentment mindfulness present moment Quote - Always hold fast to the present. Every situation, indeed every moment, is of infinite value, for it is the representative of a whole eternity. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Always hold fast to the present. Every situation, indeed every moment, is of infinite value, for it is the representative of a whole eternity. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice for Santosha Day is to try to practice Mindfulness. Like many other challenging mental practices in Yoga like Aparigraha, remember this is a journey and be patient with your progress in this difficult practice, especially if it is new for you!

PS calmly notice when your thoughts drift back to the past or forward to the future. Try to bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing on the sight, sounds, smells, taste, or feel of your surroundings.

  • Go on a walk, and perhaps literally stop and smell the roses.
  • Take a run and feel the wind on your face.
  • Being around water is especially calming, maybe head out for a walk down the beach, around a lake, or by a river.
  • Go for a hike and appreciate the beauty around you, rather than focusing on finding a perfect selfie spot.
  • Take note of your thoughts during a stressful situation, and observe them without judgment rather than getting caught up with them.
  • Bring Mindfulness to your eating by paying attention to all five senses, chewing slowly, and truly enjoying every bite!
  • Sit quietly, and go through all of your senses one by one to appreciate your surroundings.
  • Try a body scan, especially in Shavasana after Asana practice, in a comfortable chair, or before bed.
  • Check out more Mindfulness practices from Mindful.org

Please remember Mindfulness is a difficult practice, so please be gentle with yourself!

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Please comment and share how your Santosha Day went focusing on Mindfulness. Please share any favorite practices or tricks! Always remember, be kind!

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Saucha – Purity – Day 6 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! We are restarting the Niyamas for our daily practices with Saucha or Purity Day.

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June! For Saucha Day today, my meditation for the day is a Cleansing Guided Meditation.

cool perspective snow clouds over pine trees mountain snow cloud - saucha purity clean cleanliness self-care Quote: Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation. - Audre Lorde
Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation. – Audre Lorde

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a deep cleaning or pampering of our bodies for Saucha Day. Need some ideas?

  • Enjoy a long shower or bubble bath.
  • Maybe give yourself a pedicure, with a warm foot soak and lotion massage after, whether you paint your toes or not.
  • Perhaps try a tooth whitening treatment.
  • Relax with a face mask and cucumber slices over your eyes.
  • If you want to try a new Ayurvedic practice, maybe try oil-pulling (I recommend 2-15 minutes, not 20-30) with coconut oil.
  • If the days of social distancing are done, maybe book a last-minute facial or salon treatment of your choice.
  • Clean your insides with a clean-eating day – no junk food, or perhaps try another clean eating diet method or cleanse of your choice.
  • Whatever practice feels right for you to integrate Saucha into your day.

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Please comment and share how you decided to practice Saucha today. How did it make you feel? Always remember, be kind!

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Brahmacharya – Moderation – Day 6 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Brahmacharya or Moderation Day.

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June! For Brahmacharya Day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Meditation on Balance.

close-up white daisy flower with fuzzy background of green grass and leaves and white lattice - bramacharya balance middle path moderation Quote: Next to love, balance is the most important thing. - John Wooden
Next to love, balance is the most important thing. – John Wooden

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to exercise moderation in a way that is meaningful for you today for Brahmacharya Day. Need some ideas? Here’s what we used for inspiration for our intro Brahmacharya Day!

  • Look for temptations during the day, and neither indulge nor ignore the craving, but instead make a healthy choice. Like maybe a salad instead of fast food, or fruit instead of candy, or yogurt instead of cake or ice cream. Maybe have just a couple pieces of candy instead of NOMMING the whole bag (this one is both inspired by and directed towards me!)
  • Make today the first day taking steps to minimize an unhealthy lifestyle choice. Perhaps get a nicotine gum or patch to stop smoking, or plan a reasonable cut-back schedule with small goals you can reach rather than the cold-turkey approach.
  • If you have been super busy with work and family with our current quarantine situation, ask for help and take 15 minutes minimum to spoil yourself with a bath or workout or even a nap, whatever you need!
  • Choose your own way to practice a more balanced lifestyle today that feels right to you.

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Please comment and share how you chose to practice Brahmacharya today! Always remember, be kind!

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Asteya – Non-Stealing – Day 6 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Asteya or Non-stealing Day. So, we will be practicing Asteya with the positive of non-stealing or generosity today!

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June! For Asteya Day today, my meditation for the day is a brief Generosity Guided Meditation.

cool perspective purple flowers with green leaves in background - asteya non-stealing generosity Quote: Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness. - 14th Dalai Lama
Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness. – 14th Dalai Lama

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice a random act of generosity for today’s Asteya / Non-stealing Day. Need some ideas?

  • Ask someone you care about who is having a tough time if you can help with household chores, or yard work, or anything else to make their lives easier and take something off their plate.
  • If you have old luggage you no longer use, please consider donating to a foster care agency, since many foster children are forced to move with garbage bags.
  • Purge toys, books, kitchen gadgets, and/or electronics you no longer use, and consider donating as appropriate to a local organization for the elderly, women and/or children.
  • Consider making a cash donation to your local food bank, hospital, or another nonprofit or charity that is meaningful to you.
  • Do a closet clean-out and donate clothes you do not wear any more… or consider starting a wardrobe tracking method to help identify what you do not wear and could donate. PS consider making the extra effort donating directly to local organizations for the homeless, women, or children rather than the easy dropboxes for Goodwill.

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Please comment if you would like to share how you practiced Asteya today! Always remember, be kind!

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Satya – Truthfulness – Day 6 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Satya or Truthfulness Day. Today’s Satya practice is focused on the “benevolent truth” translation of Satya from Sanskrit.

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We have just started a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June! For Satya Day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Meditation – Seeing Your True Self about loving yourself and seeing your true potential.

close-up white daisy flower with fuzzy background of green grass and leaves and white lattice - satya truth truthfulness Quote: Those who have failed to work toward the truth  have missed the purpose of living. - Buddha
Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living. – Buddha

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is sharing a kind truth with someone you care about. Let’s make it big today… these are hard times and we could all use a big pick me up! Do not compliment someone about something that changes every day, like their hair or outfit. Need some ideas?

  • Contact your best friend just to say how much you admire their drive, or loyalty or the ability to always make you laugh.
  • Tell your significant other how much you appreciate the thing you love most about them.
  • Call a friend or family member who had a significant positive impact on your life, and let them know how thankful you are.
  • Message an old colleague or boss who helped you on your path, and thank them for their mentoring.
  • Reach out to someone you love and/or someone you know could use a pick-me-up.

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Please comment if you would like to share how your Satya practice went today! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 22 – 2021 – Samadhi – Enlightenment / Integration

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a daily meditation practice challenge for June, and the end of a brief series on the Upper Limbs of Yoga.

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As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and must truly be attained on your own. We started a series on each of the upper limbs, and covered Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dhyana. The last three limbs – Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together.

Samadhi is the 8th and final Limb of Yoga, and is literally translated as “integration”. Many consider Samadhi to be enlightenment. This is typically the final goal of meditation in some Eastern religions and philosophies – enlightenment. I consider Samadhi to be not only the final Limb of Yoga, but a synonym for Yoga. Samadhi is “integration” and yoga is “union” so I feel these are two words for the same goal. As we have discussed, this is a journey.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Meditation Practice of your choice for Upper Limbs Day. You can try our breath-focused meditation, another Dharana focused meditation, or another guided meditation of your choice.

Want more on Meditation?
Check our Meditation Board on Pinterest!

Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried, and what you thought of this study of the Upper Limbs of Yoga! If you have another favorite guided meditation, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 21 – 2021 – Dhyana – Full Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the Upper Limbs. We already covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses and Dharana or Intense Focus. The last three Limbs of YogaDharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and sequentially upon each other. However, these practices are all meditation focused, and must truly be practiced and understood on your own. Samadhi is basically our goal and will be discussed occasionally! Today we will discuss Dhyana and try a Meditation to reach this state. Check out our deep dive on Dhyana.

Dhyana is the 7th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as meditation. I prefer to think of Dhyana as full meditation, a bit stronger and more specific than “meditation”. This is typically the goal of meditation, to fully stop our thoughts and have a quiet mind. After withdrawing inside ourselves with Pratyahara and focusing our minds on a single subject with Dharaha, we may reach the level of meditation where our thoughts actually stop. In true Dhyana or true meditation, we typically are not aware of this clear-minded state until we come out of it.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dhyana-focused Meditation Practice. You can try our breath-focused meditation again, and then allow your mind to quiet. Or, you can try a guided meditation meant to help bring the state of Dhyana.

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey! I am working on Dhyana.. I usually can focus on one thing with Dharana, but my mind wanders fairly quickly when I try to quiet it for full meditation.

Dhyana Guided Meditation

Our Breath-Focused Meditation – first focus on breath, then allow your mind to quiet.

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dhyana exercise! If you have another favorite guided meditation, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 20 – 2021 – Dharana – Intense Focus – Guided Meditation & Meditative Practices

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. We covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the sense yesterday. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and then sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. Today we will revisit Dharana, and then try a Dharana Guided Meditation or other Meditative Practice.

Nearly all meditation practices you think of are types of Dharana.

Dharana is the 6th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as concentration. This comes from the Sanskrit root “dhri” meaning to hold, carry, or maintain. I prefer to think of Dharana as intense focus, a bit stronger than “concentration”. This is typically the second step for meditation – after letting the outside world slip away, we then direct our focus inward. Please see our deep dive of Dharana for more. Most of the meditative practices we think of are therefore Dharana practices – see our full list!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dharana-focused Meditation Practice. Perhaps try our breath-focused meditation again to prepare for tomorrow’s next level of meditation. Perhaps focus on your breath or body in Shavasana / Corpse Pose after an Asana practice, another meditative practice from our list, try a guided meditation below, or any other method of your own.. whatever feels right to you. We will cover mandalas and flame gazing later!

Dharana or Intense Focus Meditative Practices

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Morning Motivational Meditation (10 minutes)

Evening Sleep/Relaxation Meditation (50 minutes)

Full Night Sleep Meditation (8 hours)

Grounding Meditation (9 minutes)

Body Scanning Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Loving Kindness Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Self-Reflective Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Positive Affirmation Guided Meditation (12 minutes)

Celestial Visualization Guided Meditation (7 minutes)

Manifest Meditations (Power of Attraction) (10 minutes) 

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You may want to try a block, couch pillow, blanket, or bolster in order to help yourself find a comfortable seat for meditation.

Top 5 Yoga Equipment for Newbies

Top 5 Yoga Mats


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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dharana exercise! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 19 – 2021 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of Senses – Guided Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We have completed our daily positive practices and meditations inspired by the first four Limbs of Yoga, and are back to the Upper Limbs. We are also in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June. We typically spend more time practicing the lower limbs, but during meditation months we will take couple days to cover each of the four upper limbs, rather than combining into one.

As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. We will take the next few days in our Meditation-focused month for daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. Today we will revisit the 5th Limb of Yoga – Pratyahara and try a Pratyahara Guided Meditation.

Pratyahara is the 5th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as withdrawal of the senses. “Prati” means against or away, and “Ahara” means food or anything we take into ourselves. So, this literally means to stop taking things into ourselves. This is typically the first step for meditation – letting the outside world slip away, and going inside. The point is not about isolating yourself from outside distractions, it is about withdrawing into yourself, and then allowing outside distractions to fade away. Please see our detailed discussion on Pratyahara for more.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Pratyahara-focused Meditation Practice. You can try this with Shavasana / corpse pose after an Asana practice, with a guided meditation, or on your own.. whatever feels right to you! Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We have a bonus daily meditation challenge for March. Today I recommend trying this Pratyahara Guided Meditation perfect for Shavasana after your Asana practice.

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Pratyahara Meditation! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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World Environment Day & National Trails Day – Moving Meditation

Good morning Yogis! Today is World Environment Day, National Trails Day, AND National Prairie Day. So, we are taking a quick break from our cycle of practices inspired by the 8 Limbs of Yoga to focus on practices for our special Meditation Month and getting outside for these environmentally focused holidays.

cool perspective midtown atlanta looking down from above with glass reflection - moving meditation mindfulness Quote: Action does not get one to the destination, action IS the destination. - Brian S. Woods
Action does not get one to the destination, action IS the destination. – Brian S. Woods

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a moving meditation. I recommend a meditative drive or hike! Check out the US National Parks Pass if you love meditative hikes – this covers US national park entrance fees for a year, and helps support public conservation.

Moving Meditations

Driving is my favorite meditative activity, I definitely have the “monkey mind” so having something big to focus on is very helpful for me, and these meditative drives often result in solutions to problems or my best ideas.

Yoga retreats frequently offer meditation walks or mindfulness hikes. This is something I try with our Santosha practices of enjoying the present moment! A meditative walk or hike is a great way to begin meditating, especially if mindfulness practices are new to you, or you have difficulty calming the mind while sitting quietly.

Or try a Restorative Asana class with Guided Meditation for a meditative Asana session.

Next INTRO CHALLENGE in November

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

Please comment to share which moving meditation you tried or prefer. Always remember, be kind!

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Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender – Day 6 – 2021 – OM

Happy Friday Yogis! We are on the last day of this round of weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day. Today we will practice Ishvara Pranidhana / Surrender focusing on the literal translation from Sanskrit – surrender to all-pervading consciousness and its vibration/sound/representation OM.

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for June. For Ishvara Pranidhana Day today, we will get our OMs on! I am going to practice a Guided Meditation with some OMs!

light blue om symbol on dark blue background
Om – Sanskrit

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice some OMs for Ishvara Pranidhana Day. OM is pronounced as a very long A-U-M or OOOM, not like “on” with an m. OM is familiar in the East, but often the only exposure for those in the West is at Yoga class. Please see my intro to OM for more info and links for in-depth research. You can do this on your own if you are practiced, or check out this video to learn how to properly OM on your own, or perhaps try this video as a guided meditation.

Cymatics

I recently learned about Chladni plates, cymatics, and visual representation of OM. If you are a science nerd like me, PLEASE go check this out.. it is mind-blowing.

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Please comment and share your experience if you got your OM on with us today! Have you tried this before, or is OM new to you? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 18 – 2021 – Meditations

Good Morning Yogis, it is Upper Limbs Day! We just finished a series covering Asanas for each of the first three Limbs of Yoga, so today we will have a KISS (keep it super simple) Day!

The thing about meditation is you become more and more you. – David Lynch

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Meditation Practice of your choice for Upper Limbs Day. You can try our breath-focused meditation, another Dharana focused meditation, or another guided meditation of your choice.

Bonus Daily Asana Challenge

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for April. Please see our Asana Styles page for links to youtube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Upper Limbs Day today, I recommend a meditative Yin or Restorative session.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing Intermediate Relaxation (30 Minute)!

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Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried. Always remember, be kind!

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April Fools Day – Stress Awareness Month, Humor Month & Laughter Yoga

Good Morning Yogis! Happy April and April Fools’ Day! April is Stress Awareness Month and also National Humor Month.

I find challenge-focused months super helpful for my own motivation, so today we are starting another bonus challenge for April – Daily Asanas! You do not have to participate in this or any of our particular monthly challenge themes, we will be continuing our daily Positive Practices drawn from Yoga Philosophy throughout next month. Consider getting the Daily Yogi App for reminders if you are participating – this is a great Tapas tool!

Laughter Yoga

Okay, this is NOT a joke for April Fools’ Day! There is a Yoga Style called Laughter Yoga. This is not an Asana class, but a special practice that incorporates laughing, breathing, clapping, and chanting. I recommend checking out this short video for a quick info and intro session.. her longer videos are even better! I love the quote “Negative thoughts can be neutralized by positive thoughts” from the Yoga Sutras, and Laughter Yoga is a great positivity technique! See more on positivity below.

Bonus Daily Asana Challenge

We are beginning a daily Asana practice challenge for April! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For today’s start of Stress Awareness Month, I recommend a relaxing Yin or Restorative class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing Intermediate Relaxation (30 minutes).

close-up bright orange bird of paradise flower with green leaves and brown mulch background - laughter santosha happiness positivity Quote: No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds. - Red Skelton
No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds. – Red Skelton

As we begin our bonus daily Asana challenge, I want to discuss an important common concept from Yoga Philosophy – Setting Intentions! If you have attended Yoga classes at a Yoga Studio, you likely have heard your teacher recommend setting an intention for your practice that day. We have talked about keeping Santosha / contentment in Asana practice to avoid injury. I often set Pranayama / Breath as my intention for Asana practice with a mantra of “breathe” or “just breathe”, since in more dynamic classes I forget to maintain my preferred Ocean Breath as the Asana series picks up speed. I also set Ocean as the background music in the Yoga Studio App for Here is a great article with more on intentions and mantras on and off the Yoga mat.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to set a positive intention for yourself for April, keeping April’s stress reduction theme in mind. This can be big or small:

Part of the reason we set intentions in Asana practice is to have something positive to come back to that we want to focus on. Additionally, we will have this to return to when we meet challenges. I set “just breathe” as my intention for nearly a decade now, and I do truly breathe into difficulties on the mat, and I have improved my breath during Asana practice by keeping this in the back of my mind.

More on the Power of Positive Thinking

The Law of Attraction & Power of Positive Thinking Intro

11 Ways to Boost Positive Thinking

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Please comment and share how if setting positive intentions is part of your Yoga or Asana practice. Are you taking other steps to improve your mental and emotional wellness this month? Are you going to join us in our daily Asana challenge for April? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 16 – 2021 – Dhyana – Full Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We are at the end of our bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March and a quick series of daily practices inspired by the Upper Limbs. We already covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses and Dharana or Intense Focus. The last three Limbs of YogaDharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and sequentially upon each other. However, these practices are all meditation focused, and must truly be practiced and understood on your own. Samadhi is basically our goal and will be discussed occasionally, but unfortunately beyond at least my daily practices! Today we will discuss Dhyana and try a Meditation to reach this state. Check out our deep dive on Dhyana.

close-up light and dark green striped plant leaves - upper limbs of yoga Dhyana full meditation Quote: Dhyana is the continuous flow of thought toward that object. - Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Dhyana is the continuous flow of thought toward that object. – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Dhyana is the 7th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as meditation. I prefer to think of Dhyana as full meditation, a bit stronger and more specific than “meditation”. This is typically the goal of meditation, to fully stop our thoughts and have a quiet mind. After withdrawing inside ourselves with Pratyahara and focusing our minds on a single subject with Dharaha, we may reach the level of meditation where our thoughts actually stop. In true Dhyana or true meditation, we typically are not aware of this clear-minded state until we come out of it.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dhyana-focused Meditation Practice. You can try our breath-focused meditation again, and then allow your mind to quiet. Or, you can try a guided meditation meant to help bring the state of Dhyana.

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey! I am working on Dhyana.. I usually can focus on one thing with Dharana, but my mind wanders fairly quickly when I try to quiet it for full meditation.

Dhyana Guided Meditation

Our Breath-Focused Meditation – first focus on breath, then allow your mind to quiet.

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dhyana exercise! If you have another favorite guided meditation, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 15 – 2021 – Dharana – Intense Focus – Guided Meditation & Meditative Practices

Good Morning Yogis! We are nearing the end of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. We covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the sense yesterday. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and then sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. Today we will revisit Dharana, and then try a Dharana Guided Meditation or other Meditative Practice.

close-up bright green succulents in bright sunlight - upper limbs of yoga dharana meditation intense focus Quote: Dharana locks consciousness on a single place, object, or idea. - Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Dharana locks consciousness on a single place, object, or idea. – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Nearly all meditation practices you think of are types of Dharana.

Dharana is the 6th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as concentration. This comes from the Sanskrit root “dhri” meaning to hold, carry, or maintain. I prefer to think of Dharana as intense focus, a bit stronger than “concentration”. This is typically the second step for meditation – after letting the outside world slip away, we then direct our focus inward. Please see our deep dive of Dharana for more. Most of the meditative practices we think of are therefore Dharana practices – see our full list!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dharana-focused Meditation Practice. Perhaps try our breath-focused meditation again to prepare for tomorrow’s next level of meditation. Perhaps focus on your breath or body in Shavasana / Corpse Pose after an Asana practice, another meditative practice from our list, try a guided meditation below, or any other method of your own.. whatever feels right to you. We will cover mandalas and flame gazing later!

Dharana or Intense Focus Meditative Practices

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Morning Motivational Meditation (10 minutes)

Evening Sleep/Relaxation Meditation (50 minutes)

Full Night Sleep Meditation (8 hours)

Grounding Meditation (9 minutes)

Body Scanning Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Loving Kindness Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Self-Reflective Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Positive Affirmation Guided Meditation (12 minutes)

Celestial Visualization Guided Meditation (7 minutes)

Manifest Meditations (Power of Attraction) (10 minutes) 

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You may want to try a block, couch pillow, blanket, or bolster in order to help yourself find a comfortable seat for meditation.

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dharana exercise! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 14 – 2021 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of Senses – Guided Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We have completed our daily positive practices and meditations inspired by the first four Limbs of Yoga, and are back to the Upper Limbs. We are also nearing the end of our bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March. We typically spend more time practicing the lower limbs, so we will take couple days to cover the upper limbs, rather than combining into one.

close-up bright green succulents with grass-shoots and small potted plant - upper limbs of yoga pratyahara withdrawal of senses Quote: When the consciousness goes within by uncoupling from external objects, the senses also do so - this is Pratyahara. This results in the ultimate mastery over the senses. - Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
When the consciousness goes within by uncoupling from external objects, the senses also do so – this is Pratyahara. This results in the ultimate mastery over the senses. – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. We will take the next few days in our Meditation-focused month for daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. Today we will revisit the 5th Limb of Yoga – Pratyahara and try a Pratyahara Guided Meditation.

Pratyahara is the 5th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as withdrawal of the senses. “Prati” means against or away, and “Ahara” means food or anything we take into ourselves. So, this literally means to stop taking things into ourselves. This is typically the first step for meditation – letting the outside world slip away, and going inside. The point is not about isolating yourself from outside distractions, it is about withdrawing into yourself, and then allowing outside distractions to fade away. Please see our detailed discussion on Pratyahara for more.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Pratyahara-focused Meditation Practice. You can try this with Shavasana / corpse pose after an Asana practice, with a guided meditation, or on your own.. whatever feels right to you! Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We have a bonus daily meditation challenge for March. Today I recommend trying this Pratyahara Guided Meditation perfect for Shavasana after your Asana practice.

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Pratyahara Meditation! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender – Day 4 – 2021 – OM

Good Morning Yogis! We are on the last day of this round of weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day. Today we will practice Ishvara Pranidhana / Surrender focusing on the literal translation from Sanskrit – surrender to all-pervading consciousness and its vibration/sound/representation OM. We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March. For Ishvara Pranidhana Day today, we will get our OMs on! I am going to practice a Guided Meditation with some OMs!

gold om symbol on dark green background
Om – Sanskrit

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice some OMs for Ishvara Pranidhana Day. OM is pronounced as a very long A-U-M or OOOM, not like “on” with an m. OM is familiar in the East, but often the only exposure for those in the West is at Yoga class. Please see my intro to OM for more info and links for in-depth research. You can do this on your own if you are practiced, or check out this video to learn how to properly OM on your own, or perhaps try this video as a guided meditation.

Cymatics

I recently learned about Chladni plates, cymatics, and visual representation of OM. If you are a science nerd like me, PLEASE go check this out.. it is mind-blowing.

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Please comment and share your experience if you got your OM on with us today! Have you tried this before, or is OM new to you? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Santosha – Contentment – Day 4 – 2021 – Mindfulness

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Santosha / contentment Day. Today we are going to revisit Mindfulness, a concept and practice that relates to Santosha.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is fully being present or “in the moment” without distractions, and observing your inner and/or outer world without judgment. This is a practice embraced by both Eastern Philosophy and Western Psychology as key for both contentment and stress reduction. Many enjoy Yoga because it brings Mindfulness with focus on breath, moving between poses, and being present in our bodies. Mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, remain calm in stressful situations, support positive thinking, and increase the quality of our lives.

More on Mindfulness and Benefits

Psychology Today – Understanding, Practicing, and Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindful – Getting Started with Mindfulness (and Meditation)

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For our Mindfulness-focused Santosha Day today, our meditation is a  Mindfulness Guided Meditation.

close-up bright green succulent plants in the sun with shadowy leaves - santosha contentment happiness mindfulness mindful Quote: Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing. - Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing. – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice for Santosha Day is to try to practice Mindfulness. Like many other challenging mental practices in Yoga like Aparigraha, remember this is a journey and be patient with your progress in this difficult practice, especially if it is new for you!

PS calmly notice when your thoughts drift back to the past or forward to the future. Try to bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing on the sight, sounds, smells, taste, or feel of your surroundings.

  • Go on a walk, and perhaps literally stop and smell the roses.
  • Take a run and feel the wind on your face.
  • Being around water is especially calming, maybe head out for a walk down the beach, around a lake, or by a river.
  • Go for a hike and appreciate the beauty around you, rather than focusing on finding a perfect selfie spot.
  • Take note of your thoughts during a stressful situation, and observe them without judgment rather than getting caught up with them.
  • Bring Mindfulness to your eating by paying attention to all five senses, chewing slowly, and truly enjoying every bite!
  • Sit quietly, and go through all of your senses one by one to appreciate your surroundings.
  • Try a body scan, especially in Shavasana after Asana practice, in a comfortable chair, or before bed.
  • Check out more Mindfulness practices from Mindful.org

Please remember Mindfulness is a difficult practice, so please be gentle with yourself!

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Please comment and share how your Santosha Day went focusing on Mindfulness. Please share any favorite practices or tricks! Always remember, be kind!

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Asteya – Non-Stealing – Day 4 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! It is Asteya Day! Last time we practiced the positive version of the third of the YamasAsteya / non-stealing with an act of generosity, but today we will take it a step further and examine non-stealing.

BONUS DAILY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For Asteya day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Meditation on Balance in Our Lives.

close-up of bright green leaves with background of dark green leaves - asteya non-stealing balance Quote: Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being. - Orison Swett Marden
Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being. – Orison Swett Marden

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to actively practice Asteya / non-stealing in our lives. Need ideas? This is going to be similar to our Satya practice from yesterday, and we should reflect on areas of our life where we may be acting a bit selfishly or taking advantage of a situation. If you are taking a lot of assistance or time from a particular person but not giving much in return, reflect on that and consider how you can make the situation more fair. Or, examine a situation where you have been taking more than giving, express gratitude, and see how you can make things more balanced and take better care of those who take care of you. Examine areas where you can focus a bit more Asteya, and express that however it feels right to you.

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Please comment and share how you decided to practice Asteya today. How did it make you feel? Always remember, be kind!

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Satya – Truthfulness – Day 4 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! We are continuing on with weaving practice of each of the Yamas into our day. Today is Satya or Truthfulness Day. Last time we practiced the second of the Yamaswith a kind truth, but today we will examine and practice from a different angle.

BONUS DAILY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For Satya Day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Meditation on uncovering your True Self.

green algae covered pond surrounded by green leafy trees under cloudless blue sky - satya truth honesty truthfulness Quote: Just give yourself permission to tell the truth to yourself. - Iyanla Vanzant
Just give yourself permission to tell the truth to yourself. – Iyanla Vanzant

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to actively exercise Satya / truthfulness with ourselves today. Need ideas? It can be big or small.

This usually means examining mindsets, practices, or people in our life that may not be serving us. For example, maybe you are like me and should really examine eating less candy and more veggies. Or maybe you have other unhealthy practices like smoking, or a medical issue you have been putting off getting examined. Perhaps you have “friends” who cut you down to bring themselves up or consistently take but never offer support.

We usually know deep down what truths we need to accept… perhaps meditate to allow these thoughts to come up. Accepting difficult truths is a big step, and do not push yourself to do anything until you are ready. But, if you decide you are up for it, plan a course of action to resolve what you had been avoiding.

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Please comment and share how you decided to practice Satya with yourself today. This can be difficult, but honestly is always the best policy. Always remember, be kind!

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Ahimsa – Non-Harming – Day 4 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! We are restarting the Limbs of Yoga for our daily positive practices with Ahimsa or non-harming. Our last Ahimsa Day we practiced with a random act of kindness, but today we will focus on practicing non-violence.

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For Ahimsa day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Meditation on Non-Violence.

summer earth goddess atlanta botanical gardens impressive large garden topiary of woman with plant hair gazing at palm of her hand - ahimsa non-violence non-harming Quote: Without a direct action expression of it, nonviolence, to my mind, is meaningless. - Mahatma Gandhi
Without a direct action expression of it, nonviolence, to my mind, is meaningless. – Mahatma Gandhi

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to actively exercise Ahimsa / non-harming today. Need ideas? It can be big or small. We should strive to exercise non-harming with our thoughts, words and/or actions.

For actions, you can avoid killing a bug you find in the house, and instead use a cup and paper or cardboard to carry outside. Perhaps drive compassionately if you have to drive today. Maybe refrain from letting your temper get the best of you and stay kind throughout a difficult interaction.. this will probably be non-harming in both words and actions. Keep in your mind and try to follow “if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.” Or, to practice Ahimsa with our thoughts, try to stay positive today with yourself, and notice and stop yourself from any negative self-talk.

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Please comment and share how you decided to practice Ahimsa today. How did it make you feel? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 13 – 2021 – Samadhi – Enlightenment / Integration

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a daily meditation practice challenge for March.

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As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and must truly be attained on your own. We started a series on each of the upper limbs, and covered Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dhyana. The last three limbs – Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together.

Samadhi is the 8th and final Limb of Yoga, and is literally translated as “integration”. Many consider Samadhi to be enlightenment. This is typically the final goal of meditation in some Eastern religions and philosophies – enlightenment. I consider Samadhi to be not only the final Limb of Yoga, but a synonym for Yoga. Samadhi is “integration” and yoga is “union” so I feel these are two words for the same goal. As we have discussed, this is a journey.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Meditation Practice of your choice for Upper Limbs Day. You can try our breath-focused meditation, another Dharana focused meditation, or another guided meditation of your choice.

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Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried, and what you thought of this study of the upper limbs or yoga! If you have another favorite guided meditation, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 12 – 2021 – Dhyana – Full Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the Upper Limbs. We already covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the senses and Dharana or Intense Focus. The last three Limbs of YogaDharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are often referred to as the “innermost quest” and studied together. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and sequentially upon each other. However, these practices are all meditation focused, and must truly be practiced and understood on your own. Samadhi is basically our goal and will be discussed occasionally! Today we will discuss Dhyana and try a Meditation to reach this state. Check out our deep dive on Dhyana.

Dhyana is the 7th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as meditation. I prefer to think of Dhyana as full meditation, a bit stronger and more specific than “meditation”. This is typically the goal of meditation, to fully stop our thoughts and have a quiet mind. After withdrawing inside ourselves with Pratyahara and focusing our minds on a single subject with Dharaha, we may reach the level of meditation where our thoughts actually stop. In true Dhyana or true meditation, we typically are not aware of this clear-minded state until we come out of it.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dhyana-focused Meditation Practice. You can try our breath-focused meditation again, and then allow your mind to quiet. Or, you can try a guided meditation meant to help bring the state of Dhyana.

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey! I am working on Dhyana.. I usually can focus on one thing with Dharana, but my mind wanders fairly quickly when I try to quiet it for full meditation.

Dhyana Guided Meditation

Our Breath-Focused Meditation – first focus on breath, then allow your mind to quiet.

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dhyana exercise! If you have another favorite guided meditation, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 11 – 2021 – Dharana – Intense Focus – Guided Meditation & Meditative Practices

Good Morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March. Additionally, we are in the middle of a quick series of daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. We covered Pratyahara or withdrawal of the sense yesterday. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the lower limbs, and then sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. Today we will revisit Dharana, and then try a Dharana Guided Meditation or other Meditative Practice.

Nearly all meditation practices you think of are types of Dharana.

Dharana is the 6th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as concentration. This comes from the Sanskrit root “dhri” meaning to hold, carry, or maintain. I prefer to think of Dharana as intense focus, a bit stronger than “concentration”. This is typically the second step for meditation – after letting the outside world slip away, we then direct our focus inward. Please see our deep dive of Dharana for more. Most of the meditative practices we think of are therefore Dharana practices – see our full list!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Dharana-focused Meditation Practice. Perhaps try our breath-focused meditation again to prepare for tomorrow’s next level of meditation. Perhaps focus on your breath or body in Shavasana / Corpse Pose after an Asana practice, another meditative practice from our list, try a guided meditation below, or any other method of your own.. whatever feels right to you. We will cover mandalas and flame gazing later!

Dharana or Intense Focus Meditative Practices

Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Morning Motivational Meditation (10 minutes)

Evening Sleep/Relaxation Meditation (50 minutes)

Full Night Sleep Meditation (8 hours)

Grounding Meditation (9 minutes)

Body Scanning Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Loving Kindness Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Self-Reflective Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Positive Affirmation Guided Meditation (12 minutes)

Celestial Visualization Guided Meditation (7 minutes)

Manifest Meditations (Power of Attraction) (10 minutes) 

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Dharana exercise! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 10 – 2021 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of Senses – Guided Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We have completed our daily positive practices and meditations inspired by the first four Limbs of Yoga, and are back to the Upper Limbs. We are also in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March. We typically spend more time practicing the lower limbs, so we will take couple days to cover each of the four upper limbs, rather than combining into one.

As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. We will take the next few days in our Meditation-focused month for daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. Today we will revisit the 5th Limb of Yoga – Pratyahara and try a Pratyahara Guided Meditation.

Pratyahara is the 5th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as withdrawal of the senses. “Prati” means against or away, and “Ahara” means food or anything we take into ourselves. So, this literally means to stop taking things into ourselves. This is typically the first step for meditation – letting the outside world slip away, and going inside. The point is not about isolating yourself from outside distractions, it is about withdrawing into yourself, and then allowing outside distractions to fade away. Please see our detailed discussion on Pratyahara for more.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Pratyahara-focused Meditation Practice. You can try this with Shavasana / corpse pose after an Asana practice, with a guided meditation, or on your own.. whatever feels right to you! Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We have a bonus daily meditation challenge for March. Today I recommend trying this Pratyahara Guided Meditation perfect for Shavasana after your Asana practice.

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

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Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Pratyahara Meditation! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Svadhyaya – Self-Study – Day 3 – 2021 – Self-Reflective Guided Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Svadhyaya / Self-Study Day. We started practicing this Niyama by beginning a journal as a tool for self-reflection – if this is your first Svadhyaya Day, please consider starting a paper or electronic journal today and joining us with this practice!

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March. For Svadhyaya Day today, my meditation for the day is a Self-Reflective Guided Meditation. You will want to take notes from this guided meditation in your journal!

mirror trippy green blue and purple swirl stellar galaxy star background - svadhyaya yoga journey self-study self-reflection Quote: Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is. - The Bhagavad Gita
Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is. – The Bhagavad Gita

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try this self-reflective guided meditation for Svadhyaya Day This is one of the most interesting guided meditations I have tried, so today’s practice is this self-reflective guided meditation that utilizes the very challenges we face with meditation.

Journal DaY

Also, this is a good time to make a full journal entry if you have not kept up with this new practice! I do not typically make a personal reflective journal entry every day, but I am pleased to be reminded to keep up with this on Svadhyaya days. If you are not sure what to write about, the Self-Reflective Guided Meditation may give some prompts from yourself to explore. Or, you can journal on your reflections on today’s quote from The Bhagavad Gita (available in our free Daily Yogi App). The Bhagavad Gita or God’s Song is a section from the Indian Sacred Epic the Mahabharata. It is the most widely known of these Sacred Texts, and is widely read among modern-day thinkers.

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Please comment and share your thoughts on today’s guided meditation or quote if you would like. Have you kept up with your journal, or are you making another entry with me for Svadhyaya Day? Always remember, be kind!

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Saucha – Purity – Day 3 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! We are restarting the Niyamas for our daily practices with Saucha or Purity Day.

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For Saucha Day today, my meditation for the day is a Cleansing Guided Meditation.

cool perspective alpine lake in the mountains bright blue water with wind rippling surface and brown rocky shoreline covered with light snow - saucha purity cleanliness clean Quote: Saucha, or living purely, involves maintaining a cleanliness in body, mind, and environment so that we can experience ourselves at a higher resolution. - Donna Farhi
Saucha, or living purely, involves maintaining a cleanliness in body, mind, and environment so that we can experience ourselves at a higher resolution. – Donna Farhi

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is a deep cleaning or pampering of our bodies for Saucha Day. Need some ideas?

  • Enjoy a long shower or bubble bath.
  • Maybe give yourself a pedicure, with a warm foot soak and lotion massage after, whether you paint your toes or not.
  • Perhaps try a tooth whitening treatment.
  • Relax with a face mask and cucumber slices over your eyes.
  • If you want to try a new Ayurvedic practice, maybe try oil-pulling (I recommend 2-15 minutes, not 20-30) with coconut oil.
  • If the days of social distancing are done, maybe book a last-minute facial or salon treatment of your choice.
  • Clean your insides with a clean-eating day – no junk food, or perhaps try another clean eating diet method or cleanse of your choice.
  • Whatever practice feels right for you to integrate Saucha into your day.

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Please comment and share how you decided to practice Saucha today. How did it make you feel? Always remember, be kind!

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Santosha – Contentment – Day 3 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Santosha / Contentment Day… today is one of my favorite daily Sutra-inspired practices!

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For Santosha Day today, my meditation for the day is a Positive Affirmation Guided Meditation. Try to remember any positive affirmations that resonate with you – perhaps add to your journal, repeat and reflect on your moment in nature today, and/or come back to them during meditation. I enjoyed “Today I look for and appreciate the good” and “I am worthy, I am enough.”

cool perspective looking through green leafy mangrove trees sand to bright blue ocean Caribbean water with wind rippling surface along coastal beach shoreline - santosha contentment happy happiness Quote: Someone is happy with less than what you have. - Anonymous
Someone is happy with less than what you have. – Anonymous

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice for Santosha Day is focusing on the present moment, ideally in nature. We are practicing the finding the happiness in the “now”. Here are some of our best tips!

  • Go on a walk, and perhaps literally stop and smell the roses.
  • Take a run and feel the wind on your face.
  • Being around water is especially calming, maybe head out for a walk down the beach, around a lake, or by a river.
  • Go for a hike and appreciate the beauty around you rather than focusing on finding a perfect selfie spot.
  • Since we are still in the days of social distancing, maybe pack a picnic and head to the back yard or a nearby park.
  • Read a book on your deck or by the window.
  • Sit quietly, and go through all of your senses one by one to appreciate your surroundings.
  • Any way that feels right for you to get out of your head, and appreciate the beauty of the world around you.

PS calmly notice when your thoughts drift back to the past or forward to the future. Try to bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing on the sight, sounds, smells, taste, or feel of your surroundings.

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Please comment and share how your Santosha Day went focusing on living in the now. Please share any favorite practices or tricks! Always remember, be kind!

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Brahmacharya – Moderation – Day 3 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Brahmacharya or Moderation Day.

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For Brahmacharya Day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Meditation on Balance.

summer alpine back-country webster pass red cone off-roading trail winding down through epic red rocky mountain landscape under partly cloudy blue sky - brahmacharya moderation middle-path Quote: Life is about striking the perfect balance and since nothing in life is perfect, we have to do the best with what we got. - Anquanette Gaspard
Life is about striking the perfect balance and since nothing in life is perfect, we have to do the best with what we got. – Anquanette Gaspard

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to exercise moderation in a way that is meaningful for you today for Brahmacharya Day. Need some ideas? Here’s what we used for inspiration for our intro Brahmacharya Day!

  • Look for temptations during the day, and neither indulge nor ignore the craving, but instead make a healthy choice. Like maybe a salad instead of fast food, or fruit instead of candy, or yogurt instead of cake or ice cream. Maybe have just a couple pieces of candy instead of NOMMING the whole bag (this one is both inspired by and directed towards me!)
  • Make today the first day taking steps to minimize an unhealthy lifestyle choice. Perhaps get a nicotine gum or patch to stop smoking, or plan a reasonable cut-back schedule with small goals you can reach rather than the cold-turkey approach.
  • If you have been super busy with work and family with our current quarantine situation, ask for help and take 15 minutes minimum to spoil yourself with a bath or workout or even a nap, whatever you need!
  • Choose your own way to practice a more balanced lifestyle today that feels right to you.

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Please comment and share how you chose to practice Brahmacharya today! Always remember, be kind!

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Asteya – Non-Stealing – Day 3 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Asteya or Non-stealing Day. So, we will be practicing Asteya with the positive of non-stealing or generosity today!

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For Asteya Day today, my meditation for the day is a brief Generosity Guided Meditation.

close-up purple blue hyacinth flower with fuzzy background of green grass and leaves and brown rocks - asteya non-stealing generosity Quote: Generosity is the best investment. - Diane Von Furstenberg
Generosity is the best investment. – Diane Von Furstenberg

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice a random act of generosity for today’s Asteya / Non-stealing Day. Need some ideas?

  • Today is World Wildlife Day – Please consider making a donation to the World Wildlife Fund to help protect endangered animals and their environments!
  • Ask someone you care about who is having a tough time if you can help with household chores, or yard work, or anything else to make their lives easier and take something off their plate.
  • If you have old luggage you no longer use, please consider donating to a foster care agency, since many foster children are forced to move with garbage bags.
  • Purge toys, books, kitchen gadgets, and/or electronics you no longer use, and consider donating as appropriate to a local organization for the elderly, women and/or children.
  • Consider making a cash donation to your local food bank, hospital, or another nonprofit or charity that is meaningful to you.
  • Do a closet clean-out and donate clothes you do not wear any more… or consider starting a wardrobe tracking method to help identify what you do not wear and could donate. PS consider making the extra effort donating directly to local organizations for the homeless, women, or children rather than the easy dropboxes for Goodwill.

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Please comment if you would like to share how you practiced Asteya today! Always remember, be kind!

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Satya – Truthfulness – Day 3 – 2021

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Satya or Truthfulness Day. Today’s Satya practice is focused on the “benevolent truth” translation of Satya from Sanskrit.

bONUS dAILY mEDITATION cHALLENGE

We have just started a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for March! For Satya Day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Meditation – Seeing Your True Self about loving yourself and seeing your true potential.

close-up purple blue and white columbine flower with fuzzy background of green grass and leaves and brown rocks - satya truth truthfulness honesty Quote: Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy. - Warren Wiersbe
Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy. – Warren Wiersbe

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is sharing a kind truth with someone you care about. Let’s make it big today… these are hard times and we could all use a big pick me up! Do not compliment someone about something that changes every day, like their hair or outfit. Need some ideas?

  • Contact your best friend just to say how much you admire their drive, or loyalty or the ability to always make you laugh.
  • Tell your significant other how much you appreciate the thing you love most about them.
  • Call a friend or family member who had a significant positive impact on your life, and let them know how thankful you are.
  • Message an old colleague or boss who helped you on your path, and thank them for their mentoring.
  • Reach out to someone you love and/or someone you know could use a pick-me-up.

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Please comment if you would like to share how your Satya practice went today! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 8 – 2021– Body Scanning Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our special Upper Limbs week! Next month we will have a special bonus daily meditation month aligning with our 8 Limb Yoga practices, but this week we will cover special meditation practices.

close-up on red marine-like bare bush in front of bright blue alpine lake - meditation mindfulness Quote: Your body is always talking to you, and symptoms are your body’s language. - Brianna Diorio
Your body is always talking to you, and symptoms are your body’s language. – Brianna Diorio

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a body scanning meditation. You can try in Shavasana after Asana practice, or on its own. I usually start at my toes, and gradually tighten and relax each body part, then re-scan starting again at my toes.

More Body Scan Meditations

Body Scanning Guided Meditation (15 minutes)

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

Body Scan Instructions and more info

Please comment to share your experience or any favorite body scan practices. Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 7 – 2021 – Mantra Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our special Upper Limbs week! Next month we will have a special bonus daily meditation month aligning with our 8 Limb Yoga practices, but this week we will cover special meditation practices.

epic blue cloudless alpine sky in mountains with darkened pine trees and snow-capped mountain peaks - meditation mindfulness Quote: A mantra is nothing more than a collection of words strung together to create a positive effect. - Robin S. Sharma
A mantra is nothing more than a collection of words strung together to create a positive effect. – Robin S. Sharma

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a mantra meditation. You can try some OMs, a traditional Sanskrit mantra, or some common English motivational mantras.

MantraS

25 Motivational Mantras

Learn about and practice some OMs

Intro to Sanskrit Mantras

Read and learn about Mantras in English

Morning Positive Affirmations (5 min video – English)

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Please comment to share which mantra meditation you tried or prefer. Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 6 – 2021 – Trataka – Flame Gazing Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are in the middle of a special Upper Limbs week of meditative practices. Today we will focus on Flame Gazing Meditation, a Dharana practice I particularly enjoy during winter with the wood stove.

epic cloudy orange pink alpine sunset in mountains with darkened green pine trees - meditation mindfulness Quote: The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. - Plutarch
The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. – Plutarch

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a form of Flame Gazing, a Dharana Practice. There are a few different forms of this you can try!

Flame Gazing Meditation – Trataka

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Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Dharana exercise! Have you done this meditative flame-gazing before, not knowing this was a meditation practice? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 4 – 2021 – Moving Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our special Upper Limbs week! Next month we will have a special bonus daily meditation month aligning with our 8 Limb Yoga practices, but this week we will cover special meditation practices.

epic cloudy blue alpine sky in mountains with darkened pine trees and snow-capped mountain peaks - meditation mindfulness Quote: We see in order to move; we move in order to see. - William Gibson
We see in order to move; we move in order to see. – William Gibson

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a moving meditation. I recommend a meditative drive or hike!

Moving Meditations

Driving is my favorite meditative activity, I definitely have the “monkey mind” so having something big to focus on is very helpful for me, and these meditative drives often result in solutions to problems or my best ideas.

Yoga retreats frequently offer meditation walks or mindfulness hikes. This is something I try with our Santosha practices of enjoying the present moment! A meditative walk or hike is a great way to begin meditating, especially if mindfulness practices are new to you, or you have difficulty calming the mind while sitting quietly.

Or try a Restorative Asana class with Guided Meditation for a meditative Asana session.

Next INTRO CHALLENGE in November

Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

Please comment to share which moving meditation you tried or prefer. Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 3 – 2021 – Evening Meditation

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our special Upper Limbs week! Next month we will have a special bonus daily meditation month aligning with our 8 Limb Yoga practices, but this week we will cover special meditation practices.

epic cloudy purple alpine sunset in mountains with darkened pine trees and snow-capped mountain peaks - meditation mindfulness Quote: Night is the wonderful opportunity to take rest, to forgive, to smile, to get ready for all the battles that you have to fight tomorrow. - Allen Ginsberg
Night is the wonderful opportunity to take rest, to forgive, to smile, to get ready for all the battles that you have to fight tomorrow. – Allen Ginsberg

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Bedtime or Sleep Meditation for Upper Limbs Day. I am providing a few recommendations for this style of guided meditation based on your preferences. I find I fall asleep much easier with a sleep meditation, and I find the 6-8 hour meditations help me stay asleep through the night.

Sleep Guided Meditation

Evening Sleep/Relaxation Meditation (50 minutes)

Sleep Manifest Guided Meditation (8 Hours)

Meditative Sleep Music (8 Hours)

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Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried. We are starting a daily meditation challenge for March, so please share any favorite guided meditations or meditation practices!! Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 2 – 2021 – Morning Meditation

Good morning Yogis, it is the start of our special Upper Limbs week! Next month we will have a special bonus daily meditation month aligning with our 8 Limb Yoga practices, but this week we will cover special meditation practices.

blue shadowy snow on rocky mountain cliff with bright sun coming through green pine trees - meditation mindfulness Quote: Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have. - Lemony Snicket
Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have. – Lemony Snicket

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Morning Meditation for Upper Limbs Day. I am providing a few recommendations for this style of guided meditation based on how much time you have available to practice. I truly find I have a much better day when I start the morning with a guided meditation!

Morning Guided Meditation

Morning Gudied Meditation (5 minutes)

Morning Motivation Guided Meditation (10 minutes)

Morning Manifest Guided Meditation (20 minutes)

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Please comment and let us know which meditation you tried. We are starting a daily meditation challenge for March, so please share any favorite guided meditations or meditation practices!! Always remember, be kind!

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Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender – Day 2 – 2021 – OM

Happy Friday Yogis! We are on the last day of this round of weaving practice of each of the Niyamas into our day. Today we will practice Ishvara Pranidhana / Surrender focusing on the literal translation from Sanskrit – surrender to all-pervading consciousness and its vibration/sound/representation – OM.

silver om symbol on dark blue background
Om – Sanskrit

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice some OMs for Ishvara Pranidhana Day. OM is pronounced as a very long A-U-M or OOOM, not like “on” with an m. OM is familiar in the East, but often the only exposure for those in the West is at Yoga class. Please see my intro to OM for more info and links for in-depth research. You can do this on your own if you are practiced, or check out this video to learn how to properly OM on your own, or perhaps try this video as a guided meditation.

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Please comment and share your experience if you got your OM on with us today! Have you tried this before, or is OM new to you? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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