We were detoxing our body last week doing kriyas for the kidneys, liver and colon. This week we detox the mental fog by working on Pratyahara or the art of mindfulness.
Remember I said last week, we are always trying to process everything in life including our thoughts, memories, future projections. etc. But the problem occurs when we accumulate more than we process. In this age of infomania, we are accumulating and storing way more information than our brain can handle. We are weighed down by the remnants of old emotions, unprocessed thoughts and patterns. So this week we will use the art of mindfulness to watch what is in the brain and process it, doing longer meditations and short potent kriyas.
It is time for a mental shower. Lets get ready as the year draws to a close and have a good mental clear out before 2021.
Our classes have changed time for those of you who have daylight saving. See you all this week. Sat nam Fi xx. www.sanasuma.co.uk
This week’s classes: CHANGE OF TIME
Mon 23 Nov 5.30-6.45pm Kundalini Yoga Fiona @ zoom.
Polyvagal Theory in Therapy Part 1– Kundalini Yoga 2021
Dear yogis, I feel really inspired thanks to Tharsiny and Deb Dana’s book. This holiday I have had time to rest, digest and learn more on polyvagal theory one of the most profound neurobiological discoveries made this century. I first blogged about this in June 2020. It was created by Dr Steven Porges about 5 years ago, but other researches and therapists have taken his findings and developed them. I will also send you my original blog from last year.
Basically polyvagal means that your 10th cranial nerve the Vagus or wondering nerve that links your brain to your heart, gut and other organs, has 2 branches. That is why it is called Poly or two.
Human’s carry an autonomic (ie automatic) nervous system (n/s) legacy linked to the vagus nerve , common with other animals. The dorsal vagus parasympathetic n/s (back of brain stem/old brain) developed 500 million years ago. When you feel under attack you feign death, shutting down body systems conserving energy, basic immobilisation. On a physical level dorsal vagus relates to the physical body below the diaphragm, relating to digestion. This also makes sense in terms of chakra’s. The dorsal vagus relates to our survival, first chakra, tamas guna and earth element..
Sympathetic nervous system developed 400 million years ago, we know this as the flight or fight response. Your mobilised/action state. It is physically located in the mid back, top of lumbar, kidneys, liver, spleen. This part of the n/s relates to the second & third chakras, rajas guna, water & fire elements.
Finally 200 million years ago the second branch of the vagus nerve/parasympathetic n/s developed we call it the ventral vagus (front of brain/new brain). It is physically located above the diaphragm, influencing our heart rate, breathing, facial nerves and social engagement. We would say this relates to the 4th and higher chakras, sattva guna, air and ether elements. This is a part of n/s that moves from ME into WE. We can socially engage and co regulate ourselves and other people’s n/s. When we operate from a place of ventral vagus we can feel love and compassion. We can turn off our defence system, invoke feelings of connection, make sense of our worries and fears. This is also the activation on a n/s level of the neutral mind which also resides at the 4th chakra with the 40,000 neurons in the physical heart. The heart brain.
What is the vagal break? This is a very important function of the ventral vagus, it is the ability through the physical sino atrial node in the heart to control heart rate and smoothly move between these 3 n/s states, shutdown (dorsal), scared (sympathetic n/s) or safe (ventral). But in order for it to work properly we need to come from that safe state, state of balance of the neutral mind.
Okay I may have lost you, here is a simple practical way of seeing yourself move through these states on a daily basis.
I have a bad night’s sleep, feel sick when I wake up and do not feel like getting out of bed for group Sadhana. I do not want to engage see anyone or do anything. (Dorsal Vagus – shutdown). I start to think and feel angry about why I set my alarm and why people have to wake up early for yoga, what is that all about anyway? (sympathetic n/s mobilisation). I cannot get back to sleep, feel hot and bothered so wake up to go to the bathroom and then decide as I am awake, I will attend group Sadhana anyway. (still sympathetic n/s mobilisation). During group Sadhana I have lots of thoughts, cannot concentrate, feel angry but keep on doing the kriya and then have a deep relaxation fall asleep during the gong. (Ventral vagus – safe ) I begin the meditation part of Sadhana in a better mood, then start to feel connected through the chanting and breath to myself and everyone else in the group. Finally I finish feeling really good but a bit tired, I will try and fit in a nap today. I will try and get to bed earlier next week before group Sadhana so I can enjoy the experience more. (Ventral vagus – safe). I go about my day, being more compassionate, happier and able to face my challenges with greater ease and intuition.
Happy Sinhala and Tamil New Year – Kundalini Yoga 2021
Dear yogis it is time to rest, relax and enjoy Sri Lankan summer time with Sinhala and Tamil New Year. So this week we will be sending you pre recorded classes for you to do at your leisure. But please do keep up your practice, which is even a help and pleasure during the holidays.
Our practice and commitment to yoga and meditation is really a commitment to ourselves. To go inward every day, deeply connect with our bodies, get out of our busy mind, the constant feeding of our brain with information and distraction, can be difficult at first. But slowly it becomes a solace, a small pleasure without need for achievement or comparison. It is a time out of our mind, watching ourselves and being in the breath, body and sound current.
I just wanted to remind you of the blog I wrote last year about the 3 diaphragms, as we were concentrating last week on our basic sitting posture during all our classes. Not only is it important for our physical wellbeing it also has an affect on your emotional and mental well being as how you sit and breath affects the vagus nerve. The pressure we put as we do our 3 locks allows the nerves in the stomach area and the glands to balance making us feel more able to cope and become emotionally more stable.
Here is what I wrote in September 2020:
I want to highlight the 3 Diaphragms.
Yes we have THREE. The first one you know which is under the rib cage, the second, is the pelvic floor and the third is the thoracic outlet diaphragm which is below your throat. These are the 3 large muscles which affect your core stability and structure in your body. Not your six pack or belly muscles. Because these are the muscles that are connected to your breath. You breathe on average 12-15 times per minute, which is around 17,000 times per day. This requires a lot of movement in the body.
As you breathe in you create a downward pressure and as you breathe out the pressure is decreased in the body. This is very important as this pressure affects the joints, muscles and discs of your spine and body. For example, chest breathing up in the thoracic outlet diaphragm increases intradiscal pressure, which is one of the sources of the populations back, neck, shoulder and even knee problems. You also lose the positive downward pressure on the pelvic floor as you breathe. As the pelvic floor loses its tone and flexibility it has a chain effect to your legs. The pelvic floor attaches to your thigh bones the femur. Instead of your pelvis, hip, knee and feet being in neutral position, they start to rotate inwards and the arch of the foot collapses creating knee, hip, problems including plantar fascia, to shin splints. We can counter this by breathing properly and grounding through our big toe which reverses this rotation throughout our leg and thigh.
If you are breathing consciously and correctly i.e. inhaling into your Diaphragm as it descends down, then automatically the pressure will increase on the pelvic floor toning it.
If you breathe from your chest the pressure increases around your neck and shoulders. This stress on the thoracic outlet diaphragm increases pressure on the neck discs and muscles which is not healthy.
When we breathe correctly using our diaphragm these are some of the benefits:
1.A downward pressure on the pelvic floor which releases tightness in the hips.
2.A downward pressure on the pelvic floor creates space in the lower spine and take pressure of the discs – reducing backache.
3.We feel more relaxed when we are breathing correctly which impacts on our parasympathetic system. This makes us feel relaxed so we can move with greater ease. Feel better and start to have less pain more positive feelings. This is a catch 22 as this response gets stronger the rest and digest effect gets greater.
Happiness comes when we can relax and digest all that is life. As yogis we know that when we live in a state of duality and try and go through the polarities of life, we end up stressed and unhappy.
The art of relaxation is not easy to achieve. The statistics speak for themselves with around 50-70 million American’s suffer from sleep disorder. As society develops sleep and relaxation problems have become a public health issue.
During this 4 day/3 night retreat by the seaside in Kalpitiya (West Coast of Sri Lanka) we will teach you how to relax and sleep better. We will conduct workshops on learning how to deal with our own duality which is in opposition to our inner most self. So we can regain the radiance of feeling we belong in this world, we are safe and can let go and deeply relax.
6 Kundalini Yoga & Meditation Sessions
All meals included. (drinks not included accept water)
Accommodation double shared, en-suite Fan only 28,000Rs per person
Accommodation double shared en- suite A/C room 33,000Rs per person
Accommodation single en-suite Fan only 38,000Rs per person.
Accommodation single en-suite A/C room 45,000Rs per person
Drinks, transport, dolphin watching, or snorkelling are not included in the price.
This week we go beyond the mundane to focus on the subtle energy of the Infinite.
The western modality of living teaches us great self-sufficiency, self-reliance which is important, but how does this impact on our ability to let go and TRUST is a greater truth?
When we do not trust anything beyond our own ability to create our lives and secure our future, we spend valuable energy being self defensive. We cannot trust in the inherent good of others or the Universe.
Trust is one of the main things we develop through our practice of Kundalini yoga. At the beginning of class we chant the Adi Mantra, “ Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. It connects us to spirit to our inner teacher who can then take us to places which we normally cannot get to without this feeling of connection. And this feeling of connection with soul is essential this year if we are to learn to let go and TRUST.
In life our eternal soul is sitting in the background pumping out security. Always telling us if we listen, “all is ok, you are eternal, life is a gift, relax and enjoy the ride”. But if we do not connect to the eternal part within us, our busy minds are in the foreground feeling we cannot trust because we have been let down by past relationships, family, the handyman who never turns up. Covid has created so much mistrust, no wonder most of us cannot sleep at night.
It is easy to feel trust when things are going well but very difficult when life dissolves into chaos. It can feel like everyone else is getting what they want but why is that no happening to me? This means you really need to change your inner reality to create real lasting change in your life.
How do you trust? Trust is knowing you will be fine no matter what. But how do you get that feeling? Trust comes from connection to that quiet, inner sage who always loves you and it looking after you. This love and commitment to yourself develops a deep inner knowing. Despite the external circumstances nothing can shake you. In those moments of foreground insecurity you have to find your key to connect to your eternal background security, which will allow you to travel from desperation to inspiration where everything becomes possible.
Firstly we need to know we can trust ourselves. Feeling your are a trust worthy person triggers social reward centres in our brain making us feel good.
Start to do small things:
Follow through with what you have agreed to. So do not over commit this week. Before you say yes, evaluate do I have time to do this or am I saying yes to please someone, not rock the boat, etc. This moment of self reflection will really help you make the right decision and then follow through. I just say I will check my diary and get back to you shortly to give myself a chance to decide if I really want to say yes to that commitment.
Do not blame, someone may have triggered an emotional reaction in you that made you feel unsafe. Acknowledge this, feel the emotion and use your breath consciously to allow yourself to process this feeling without the brain making up a story.
What do you relate to on a daily basis? Try this week to feel you are always relating to your higher self, soul, guru, spirit, Infinite? What would this look like to you? A Universe full of stars, a sunrise, the waves in the ocean?
Once again we can use our breath. Consciously breathing deeply through your nose can make you feel really secure and good. Conscious breathing tells our subconscious mind that all is well, I am alive. This gives us a feeling of security. Also try this mantra meditation, it helps release fears and replace them with trust and commitment.
I am not telling you to trust all the people around you, I am asking you to trust yourself, your higher consciousness and the Infinite energy which is all around you to face life and win.
Meditation for Trust: Chant the Wahe Guru Mantra
Sit in Easy Pose with the hands in Gyan Mudra. Chant Wahe Guru (wah-hay goo-roo) for 11 minutes.
Chant along with the version of the Wahe Guru Mantra below.
Wahe is a statement of awe and ecstasy. Guru is that which brings us from darkness to light. Wahe Guru is an expression of complete ecstatic awe of the Divine. It expresses the indescribable experience of going from darkness to light (from ignorance to true understanding). It is the Infinite teacher of the soul. A trikutee mantra, it balances the energies of the generating, organizing, and transforming principles. It expresses ecstasy through knowledge and experience. It is the gurmantra, which triggers the destiny.
The kriya’s and meditations we will practice this week will help to build a connection with our infinite selves and trust. Tune in to our classes love Fiona, Shaunagh and Sara xx firstname.lastname@example.org 0778011984.
This week’s classes:
Mon 29 MAR 5.30-6.45pm Kundalini Yoga Shaunagh@ zoom.
Tues 30 MAR 10.30-11.45pm Kundalini Yoga Sara @zoom only NEW
Tues 30 MAR 5.30-6.45pm Kundalini Yoga Fiona @zoom & Live.
Tues 30 MAR 6.00-7.15pm Shaunagh Gong KY Class@ BAREFOOT LIVE
Wed 31 MAR 5.00- 7.30am Sadhana (FREE) Fiona @zoom& Live.
Finishing Unfinished Business – Kundalini Yoga 2021
Happy New Year to those celebrating the first day of spring on equinox 21 March 2021.
Last week we relaxed and learnt a good sleep routine. But if we look at why we cannot sleep or relax sometimes we also need to consider unfinished business.
Once a body is set in motion it will keep on going until it is stopped. That is a law of physics. So when we finish our physical, emotional and mental jobs this may give us permission to let go and relax.
Why do we not finish projects that we start or even deal with emotional situations which feel incomplete? Because of fear, hesitation, perfectionism, procrastination, etc. Not completing that tax return, project, letter is one way to make sure we do not fail or be judged. If the project is on going we can always say it is just a draft. When we talk about perfectionism and procrastination this is another way to avoid completing something. We can say we do not have enough know how, proper time to really put into the project so why bother starting or trying to finish it. The fact is when we start something and give it energy even if it is 10 mins a day and do this consistently and with focus and determination, we will learn that language, finish that book, complete that tax return.
We also get distracted easily. In fact the statistic is that we now get distracted from what we are doing every 3 mins. Most of these distractions or disruptions are self created. We have started something but we urgently need a drink of water, go to the bathroom, clean our room before we can continue with our task. Sound familiar? So before you start a task you have had difficulty completing, set the intention, create a lovely space like you do when you take your yoga class, get your drink, go to the bathroom beforehand, say a mantra and start.
This week let us complete the physical tasks like, making our beds, or tidying things away immediately after we have used something. I tend to move from room to room leaving of trail of items that then need to be tidied away at a later date.
Create a day per month when you can attend to the admin, bills that are piling up, try and make this the same day per month.
Emotionally we can also have unfinished business. We know how something is incomplete because we feel something is wrong, missing a feeling of unease. These unfinished things in our life can mount up and become a cause of stress, in an already stressful life. Sometimes we do not know how to deal with emotional incompleteness because we may have to get real, confront a situation, upset the apple cart. These small upsets again can lead to real relationship breakdowns. So we need employ conscious communication.
Find a time and neutral energy when you can talk to the person you need to speak to. When you do this make sure you are not angry or reactive and your true aim is to uplift the situation for all concerned.
I would like to talk to you because I feel something is up/incomplete?
By talking about this we can develop a better relationship with greater TRUST and understanding.
Create the parametres of the discussion. I would like to be heard without interruptions and I will listen to your point of view with my full heart.
Talk about your experience and do not blame. Regardless of the outcome thank the other person, be kind and agree to disagree if necessary. But at least you have completed an energy which was missing.
Sometimes the best thing is just to sit in the uncomfortable feeling of emotional incompleteness, breath, watch your thoughts, use mantra to shift something and then wait for the shift to be reflected in your life.
It is also helpful to write out any worries, ruminations about things past, fears, worries, and anxieties about the future. When you get all of those swirling subjects out of your mind and leave them on the page, you’ll be surprised at how you may feel some finality or solution to this situation.
Also make sure you are not too busy. If you decide to complete unfinished business, set your intention, a time line and use your will power to set time in your schedule everyday to do something toward completing this task or situation.
One of the benefits of dealing and feeling your pain body is that you can start releasing some deep seated trauma or stress from your body and therefore find it easier to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
We underestimate the importance of sleep. In fact the lack of good quality sleep is a multi-Billion dollar industry and the health consequences of poor sleep are some of the following:
Immunity reduces by 50% when you sleep less than 7 hours.
I think the idea of not needing much sleep and sleeping is cheating comes from our ever present ego, always wanting to do, achieve, prove itself. Because when you are sleeping you are not doing anything and in fact the ego mind has to also take a break.
But the benefits of really creating a good sleep routine and habit is critical to your wellbeing. Easily as important as good nutrition, exercise and fun.
Benefits of a good sleep routine preferable 7-8 hours a day are:
Mortality rates decrease
Better Brain Function
As children we generally sleep really well, so only when we run into sleep disturbances do we start to really appreciate our sleep. So what do we need to do? Firstly recognise what your sleep pattern is and your habits around sleep especially a few hours before you go to bed. If you are not sure keeping a sleep journal for 1 month this will help you see the patterns of what is going on.
Create a regular sleeping time, preferably before 10pm as this is the time melatonin the rejuvenative hormone is produced. Your wake up time needs to be at least 7 hours after you fall asleep.
Try to eat at least 2 hours before bed time.
Wind down an hour before bed, dimming lights. I have a shower in the dark.
Also darkness is essential. The blue light of your device mimics sunlight therefore if your eyes are seeing this, your body will not start to produce melatonin which is what helps you have a good night’s sleep.
We sleep in 90 min cycles, so try not to be disturbed during the first cycle. During the 3rd and 4th cycle is when you get your rejuvenative sleep. During the 5th cycle onwards is rapid eye movement or REM, where your thoughts are processed. This is also essential for your health, but if you meditate during this period it helps to process and cleanse your subconscious mind.
Eating lettuce soup, lightly, cooked greens helps you sleep. Did you know that lettuce has a mild sedative effect on your brain.
Also getting enough exercise during the day is important.
Left nostril breathing is recommended or any breath meditation before sleep.
Wash your feet with cold water and massage them before bed.
Shoulder stand is a great relaxer before bed.
Frog pose or squats always helps me when I wake up and cannot sleep. I recommend 26-54.
Last week we were opening up to life, dropping our defensive nature to embrace life.
So now you have embraced life, how do you keep up your promoting habits, so you can enjoy a fuller, more vibrant existence. Not just surviving but thriving.
So in Kundalini yoga we do not prescribe to strict rules, rituals without meaning or focussing on will power alone to get us through the myriad of do and don’t in the world.
We all know the habits that make us healthier and happier, but why can we not stick to them? Lack of self control is a critical factor in stopping impulsive behaviour and habits take over.
Meditation is a powerful tool to improve will power and self-control. It works by expanding our awareness, creating neuro plasticity of the mind, by detaching from powerful emotions, impulses and thoughts that hijack us and take control of our mind and behaviour.
Tests show that voluntary self-regulation leads to greater capacity and discipline after as little as 2 weeks of regular daily practice (Jour of Soc, Psych 1999 Muraven).
This is how it happens,
The practice of meditation takes us into a state of zero/shuniya (or theta wave)
The neutral mind is strengthened, it observes your thoughts and feelings.
Then it moves on back into that shuniya state, it picks up another thought or emotion, once again it processes it.
Then the process starts all over again.
This practice stops impulses, breaks cycles of random, unintended thoughts and feelings from maturing and creating an action/reaction impulse.
Each repetition of the cycle provides a more sustained energy to self regulate our thoughts and behaviour.
The ability to say NO to the mind, thoughts and strong emotions. See yourself clearly, especially if you are lying to yourself. Is called developing moral muscle.
Moral muscle grows, when we become courageous to see ourselves clearly, neutrally, all the good and bad.
Keep your chanting this week, up to 1 hour before bed, until you fall asleep either silently or out aloud. Begin chanting again in bed as soon as you wake up until you have breakfast.
We will be practicing more kriyas and meditation this week to help support our neutral meditative mind. Sat nam Fi & Shaunagh x sanasumainsrilanka.wordpress.com read our weekly blogs and brain candy updates email@example.com 0778011984.
This week’s classes:
Mon 1 MAR 5.30-6.45pm Kundalini Yoga Shaunagh@ zoom only
Tues 2 MAR 5.30-6.45pm Kundalini Yoga Fiona @zoom & Live.
I felt very inspired by the talk that Josephine sent on WhatsApp by Eckhart Tolle.
The simple message was that when we are unconscious we allow our negative thoughts, our victim story, etc to feed our pain body. We develop this pain body at a young age as we develop our life story. Our story maybe we did not have enough love, kindness, support, money, etc.
Whatever it is, this story has an energy that is fed by our thoughts to keep it alive. We can image this an a body inside ourselves, we can name this the pain body.
We are going to draw it this week in class. If you are not attending class, next time you get upset, find some coloured pens and draw what you feel inside you when you feel pain, discomfort, worry, anxiety, anger, etc. Create a character out of it. Why are we giving our pain body and negative story a life. Because if we can see it as something outside of ourselves, name it, frame it we can:
First of all recognise it more easily
Then disassociate yourself from it
It is pain/upset/worry/negative body. It is not me. I will not give it life and energy by my thoughts.
Instead I will breath, feel it inside my body and stay present with it, without feeding it, it will dissolve.
This takes practice like everything we have achieved in life. Things we do regularly we get good at. So let’s make a start. To see the story so we do not become it.
Keep your chanting this week, up to 1 hour before bed, until you fall asleep either silently or out aloud. Begin chanting again in bed as soon as you wake up until you have breakfast. Chanting keeps the mind alert, conscious and plants the seeds of change in your neurons.
We welcome Sara from Sat Sangat, who will be joining us teaching classes. This gives students more classes per week up to 8 sessions per week you could participate in, including morning classes.
We will be practicing more kriyas and meditation this week to help strengthen neutral meditative mind so we can increase our consciousness and see our story before it becomes us. Sat nam Fi & Shaunagh x sanasumainsrilanka.wordpress.com read our weekly blogs and brain candy updates firstname.lastname@example.org 0778011984.
This week’s classes:
Mon 8 MAR 5.30-6.45pm Kundalini Yoga Shaunagh@ zoom & Live.
Tues 9 MAR 11.30-12.45pm Kundalini Yoga Sara @zoom only NEW
Tues 9 MAR 5.30-6.45pm Kundalini Yoga Fiona @zoom & Live.
Wed 10 MAR 5.00- 7.30am Sadhana (FREE) Shaunagh @zoom& Live.
Ulpotha is just magical. Set on 26 acres of wilderness in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. You can just feel the sacred, historic vibration of the place, set around a lake created by a Prince of Sri Lanka thousands of year ago. The Ayurvedic Doctor at Ulpotha stated, by just being at Ulpotha, sleeping on the earth, wild swimming in the lake, eating organic, wood fire cooked food you was an Ayurvedic treatment. There is no electricity at Ulpotha, so you wake, sleep & walk by sun or moonlight, this brings our rhythms closer to mother earth. As we vibrate with the natural world, we connect to the monkeys attending our Gong Baths, giant squirrels at your yoga class and king fisher attending our early morning kundalini practice..
About the Retreat
Our focus during this retreat was on relationships and how we relate to others. We looked at various aspects of communication, how to speak in a concious way, learning to listen deeply, give full attention to the other when talking, how to deliver difficult news. We looked at ourselves honestly and reflected on our own patterns in communication. How to develop the art of effective questions, speaking meditavely, listening deeply and using our intuition. We also looked at how good authentic relationships can help us to heal, scientific studies have shown that good relationships can help a sick person to recover faster than lifestyle choices.
We also delved into the topics of our “shadow self”, the parts of us that we prefer to hide from others. Sara led this workshop, she gave us small exercises, role plays and questionaires to help us identify our “persona” (qualities we like others to see) and our shadow qualities. We used these tools to help us get more perspective and insight into ourselves.
We rose early every morning to capture the sun rise while stretching out our body in asana, chanting mantra to vibrate and reset ourselves. Listening deeply to the sounds of nature, and allowed these sensations and sounds to deeply relax and heal ourselves.
In between the yoga, our students had Ayurvedic massages with the experienced of the lady masseur at Ulpotha spa.
The food at Ulpotha is nearly all grown on the estate, from the wholesome red rice to a huge variety of vegetables and fruits which is lovingly prepared in the Ulpotha kitchen by a wonderful team of cooks. We ate dinner and lunch in the tranquility of the “ambalamba” which at night is just magical, lit by lanterns that twinkle in the night. Breakfast and teatime, yummy Sri Lankan sweets, savouries, and “Kola Kande” are served by Karuna.
Photos by Shaunagh, Sam and Tin Tin, and Bente
For future retreats at Ulpotha and other locations in Sri Lanka, please follow our Sanasuma blog, facebook and blog