Saturday, 17 October 2015

Healing my sore throat

Image courtesy of marcolm at

The other day, I told a lie. It was a whopper - out and out, no way around it sort of a lie. I like to think that I am a truthful sort of person. I must admit, I sometimes purposefully try to colour a story or anecdote to make myself seem a little bit more intelligent or funny than I am, but overall I try very hard to be truthful at all times. Being honest with oneself is probably the hardest thing of all, because we all like to paper over the cracks and pretend we are making better choices than we might actually be doing in reality.

The lie I told was one of those lies that can easily spin out of control and require you to tell more lies to cover up the first lie. Unfortunately, the lie affected one of my children and would have required her to cover up the truth as well, forcing her to lie.

It was not an ideal situation and I regretted it almost instantly. The day after my Big Lie was spoken, I noticed I was starting to get a sore throat. This surprised me a bit, because I have been eating healthier than ever before, and I haven't been around anyone who was sick. My immune system should be functioning at peak capacity, darnit! Why was I getting ill?

The answer came to me almost as soon as I pondered the question - I had a trapped emotion in my throat, causing it to get inflamed and sore. The specific emotion was conflict, which made perfect sense. I lied in order to achieve a specific outcome - of which I received - but I hated the way I got it. After releasing my trapped emotion, I felt a bit better, but I also felt like I should do a bit more work.

I found a perfect meditation to help my situation - a throat meditation!

The Throat Chakra also has to do with communication and creativity. It is our right to be heard. Physically this chakra is made up the ears, nose and throat. Imbalances in the chakra can manifest as: lying, gossiping, communication issues, inability to listen or hear, weak voice, dominating voice, sore throat, etc.

I purposefully put my body into imbalance by my actions, and it was not pleased with my choice. I had to set things right, so I did my meditation and wiped the slate clean with regards to my lie as well.

By the next morning, my throat was fine! No more aching, no more tingling. All back to normal.

While I do regret putting myself and my child in a tricky situation due to my lying, I also acknowledge that life experience brings wisdom and this little moment in my life has helped me further understand the impact my words and intentions have on my spirit and body. That deliberate act of putting myself into conflict really threw me off! I'm glad I have the tools to re-align myself to my Truth and my God, and that I am no longer ill.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Keep up.

Meditation and Yoga are awesome for you. But sometimes, doing awesome things for yourself seems monumentally difficult, doesn't it? Reading your scriptures, saying your prayers, attending your Sabbath day meetings and visiting the temple -- and now I'm telling you to do MORE STUFF? The nerve!

I recently completed my 40-days-in-a-row-without-missing-one Nabhi Kriya. By the last week, I was facing some serious opposition. I was putting it off until right before bed (ugh), I was telling myself lies about how much I disliked doing it, or how hard it was (it used to be, but I'm strong now). I was giving myself some major opposition and I was probably experiencing opposition from outside forces, too.

But I did it! I did those crazy leg lifts every day for 40 days straight, and I feel fantastic about it. My body is stronger, and I feel ready to take on an even crazier kriya for another 40 days. This morning, I started day 1 of my newest kriya, from a book, Owner's Manual for the Human Body by Yogi Bhajan. I get to do all sorts of stuff, like breath of fire in bow pose (whuuut), 54 cobra lifts (double-whuuuut) and half wheel pose for six-and-a-half minutes!! What makes me laugh is that I was praying about what kriya to do next, and was given this one as my answer - it is called "Optimum Health" and every movement uses muscle groups that I've been wanting to work on separately with push ups and squats and whatevers. This kriya will cover all of that, plus I'll become a "lighthouse" as I do it!

I love kundalini yoga. It has transformed my life in so many ways, and it's just so efficient. As I have carried on with my daily practice, I have been kept up by the hand of God in every aspect of my mortal existence. I have learned and re-learned that God is interested in everything that matters to me. He is there to listen to my prayers and wants to answer them. Life is good.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Is Kundalini Yoga & Meditation Dangerous?

About a year ago, a very kind and concerned friend sent me an article about Kundalini Yoga and its negative effects. I must admit, I was surprised by what I read - my experiences had been so very different that I wondered if the writer and I were using the same methods!

After thinking about the article and wondering where this apparently wide-spread concern about Kundalini Yoga and Meditation came from, I realised a few things.

It is dangerous.

Meditation is dangerous to your ego; it will crumble it.

Meditation is dangerous to your addictions; it will break them.

Meditation is dangerous to sleepwalking through life; it will wake you up.

Meditation is dangerous to your habits; it will change them.

Kundalini Yoga and Meditation is a technology. Like any technology - cars, smart phones, television, microwaves, etc - it can be a double-edged sword. Technology can be used for amazing acts of good in the world, but it can also be a source of pain or trouble.

When you meditate regularly, your subconscious mind gets a deep clean. Sometimes, this can be difficult to deal with for a while! When I first started meditating, I was surprised and unprepared for the torrent of negative emotions that exploded out of me. I had gotten really good at suppressing them over the years, which was not the healthy way to manage my difficulties. When my mind woke up through daily meditation, it was able to quickly and efficiently release all that junk at once. I'll be honest - I thought I was going crazy for a couple of days. But after the storm died down, I felt amazing. I felt strong, and at peace. It was glorious.

The Kundalini yoga kriyas also have power to clear the subconscious and affect the physical body in significant ways. It is incredibly important to follow the instructions exactly - if an exercise is meant to last for 2.5 minutes, set your timer on your phone and do it for that time! If you are meant to rest for 5 minutes in the middle of the kriya, there is a reason for it.

Once, I was practicing a kriya in my living room and my children kept walking past, interrupting me, or climbing on top of me. I grew exasperated and ended the set before resting at the end for 8 minutes - I just got up and walked into a different room. Almost immediately, I felt sick to my stomach and had to lie down for a half hour in bed before I felt better. Yikes! I won't make that mistake again! A woman in one of my classes missed an entire page of exercises whilst doing a kriya (the pages were stuck together) and ended up suffering from a migraine for the rest of the day.

I suppose, after reading those experiences, one might infer that doing the kriyas and meditations is dangerous. I feel differently.

The benefits to my life of a daily practice of yoga and meditation have been more numerous than I can count. I am stronger in mind, body and spirit. I am happy, I am healthy and I am holy. People can see it in me - I have been called radiant and glowing by acquaintances that don't know about my daily practice. My children have benefitted from my patience, my creativity, my added energy and love of life. My husband sees the changes and is wholly supportive.

The fruits have been very delicious indeed. Is Kundalini Yoga & Meditation dangerous? Only to the darkness - now that I have turned on my light.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Yogi Mono Fast: Day 39

Tomorrow I will reach 40 days straight of eating mung bean soup for all my meals each day with the addition of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some dairy.

The experience has been eye-opening. Food and eating is so intrinsically connected to the mind, body and spirit, and I have really enjoyed learning that first hand.

At first, I was hungry all the time. Some days I would get hungry again less than an hour after eating a meal or substantial snack. I believe this was because my body was so starved for nutrients, that when I finally started giving myself healthy options, I was desperate for more. After about two weeks of feeling like this, my body was finally satisfied and slowed down on the hunger cues. I never restricted calories, but I was eating fewer calories overall - it's hard to overeat fresh fruits and vegetables, but very easy to do with crisps, cakes and chocolate!

My black blob of addiction and trapped emotions lost its grip on me and is now completely gone. I don't feel the pull of addictive eating, although I am treating myself like a life-long addict and will not eat refined sugar (or any of its other names) again for the rest of my life. I don't plan on eating white bread again, either. Well, bread in general. I have a thing for bread; it's a trigger food and I will happily eat tons of it which displaces room for vital nutrients in other foods.

Sugar and bread are out - but so many other foods are in! A friend of mine laughingly said that I eat like a monk, but I don't feel that way at all! I am eating amazing fruits and vegetables, full of wonderful nutrients that uplift and support my body's functions. I feel light and clear-headed. I don't wake up groggy and "hungover" after a late-night sugar binge. (a common occurrence only 2 months ago)

I don't feel restricted by my new eating habits; I feel free. There are many, many recipes out there I plan to try and with my cleansed palate I will enjoy them all the more.

Forty days eating the same main meal is quite a long time. At the beginning, I thought I would carry on for 80 days, maybe even longer. But now? I am not so sure. I am not getting bored of mung bean soup as such; I add different veggies every time I make a new batch and I really enjoy the spices in it. But living as part of a family and making two meals each day, it gets a bit tricky. Having such a restricted diet in the long-term is probably not a good example to my children and certainly limits where we can go out to eat (hint: nowhere)!

Because I feel like my black blob is completely gone, it does seem like overkill to carry on with the fast. I think that if I do, the monofast will devolve into disordered eating rather than something uplifting and helpful (which it certainly has been so far). The more I consider it, the stronger I feel about ending it at 40 days and moving on to eating more variety in my daily meals. If things go wrong, at least now I know what works for me!

It has been a wonderful journey. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to reset their health, break food addictions, or recover from illness or injury. The soup itself is highly nutritious and I have lost nothing but addictions, weight and unhealthy habits. What I've gained has been priceless.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

You are magical

As I was doing my leg lifts during Nabhi Kriya this morning, I was thinking about the Harry Potter series. There is a lot of interesting symbolism in the story, and I will tell you about my own cloak of invisibility another day. :) But today I was thinking about the difference between Muggles, Squibs and Witches/Wizards.

Witches and Wizards are magical humans who, in most circumstances, grow up learning how to control their innate powers. They require the use of a wand, made of magical wood and other ingredients, in order to harness their powers and make good use of them (or bad, depending on their personality!). The magic is within them, but they can't purposefully use it without an external tool.

Squibs are people born in magical families, but for whatever reason, do not have much or any innate magical skill/talent/ability. They know about the magical world and live within it, but cannot use magic for themselves. They are dependent on other magical people or creatures or inventions to live alongside witches and wizards.

Muggles are humans with no magical ability, and no knowledge of the magical world. An entire universe is blocked to them forever.

What does this have to do with meditation? Well, you are magical! So am I - the entire human race has innate power within him/herself that is more powerful than any witch or wizard in Harry Potter's world. We don't require wands or potions or powders to access the power within us, but we do require knowledge.

Most of us are like muggle-born witches and wizards, with a slight inkling of the power lying dormant within us, but without the tools necessary to access that power and use it for the good of ourselves and others.

We are creators; literally Gods in embryo. Everything within us, right this moment, is capable of growing and becoming like Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Jesus Christ implored us in scripture to become perfect, as a God. But another translation of the word perfect is whole, or complete. 

There are many ways to become whole, but using the Atonement is the key. The Atonement is a marvelous work and a wonder. Jesus Christ took on our sins, our pains, our afflictions and our sorrows. We can turn to Him with literally any problem and he will help us be healed.

For many years, I struggled with anger issues. I absorbed a lot of my dad's temper and it became part of my parenting style (having children definitely forces you to see your own true temperament). I would lose my temper and lash out at my sweet children, and feel awful afterwards. For many years, I would repent and attempt to contain my temper or desperately pray for it to just disappear. Over time, with herculean effort and rivers of tears, I got to the point where I felt like I was finally making headway. It was such a slow, painstaking process, but I didn't know another way. Pray, ready your scriptures, attend your meetings, repent, repent, repent.

The missing ingredient to my efforts was meditation. It was the key to unlock the potential of the Atonement in my life. I felt like God had been waiting all that time for me to open the door rather than trying to squeeze through a window. The power to access the Atonement - fully access it, and allow it to change me and my personality for the better - was within me, I just needed the right tool.

There are over 30 or 40 meditation types available to you. By all means, find one that works in your life, but it is my belief that Kundalini Yoga and Meditation is the fastest, simplest way to see amazing changes in yourself. You will be able to feel the Spirit and receive revelation on a scale you haven't experienced before. You will be able to break the chains of addiction, or anger, or abuse, or the other myriad of human sadness and pain that exist in this world. You will be purified.

You are not a muggle. You are not a squib! You are a witch or a wizard and you don't even need a wand. The power is within you and you can access it right now.

Love and light.

40 days and beyond

Practice a particular kriya or mantra every single day for the same amount of time. Based on the number of days you do this, here is how it will affect your habits.
40 Days: Practice every day for 40 days straight. This will break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya or mantra.
90 Days: Practice every day for 90 days straight. This will establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds based on the effect of the kriya or mantra. It will change you in a very deep way.
120 Days: Practice every day for 120 days straight. This will confirm the new habit of consciousness created by the kriya or mantra. The positive benefits of the kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.
1000 Days: Practice every day for 1000 days straight. This will allow you to master the new habit of consciousness that the kriya or mantra has promised. No matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.
Remember, a habit is a subconscious chain reaction between the mind, the glandular system and the nervous system. We develop habits at a very young age. Some of them serve our highest destiny. Some of them do not. By doing a 40, 90, 120 or 1000 day special sadhana, you can rewire that chain reaction. You can develop new, deeply ingrained habits that serve your highest good.
“One part of sadhana should stay constant long enough for you to master, or at least experience, the changes evoked by a single technique. Each kriya and mantra has its individual effects, although they all elevate you toward a cosmic consciousness. Learn to value the pricelessness of one kriya, and all others will be understood in a clearer light.”
–Yogi Bhajan, from The Aquarian Teacher, Level One Instructor. Page 150.

I am here to build new habits. Healthy habits that will benefit my body and soul for the rest of my mortal life.

I just recently reached 40 days of daily meditation (although I started Nabhi Kriya later than Kirtan Kriya) and I feel really pleased about it. I feel like I am breaking through those negative habits and blocks, and am now finally working on the subconscious mind. I am ready to change in a deeper way!

It's funny, because it wasn't until I reached 40 days that my children suddenly started becoming interested in joining my meditation - my 10 year old son did the entire set with me yesterday, although he needed to take a few breaks here and there. I am really proud of him! It was entirely his desire and I'm sure it helped him. My extended family members are becoming interested in meditating, or starting on their own and seeking out teachers for themselves. It's exciting!

My ultimate goal is 1000 days straight, which is nearly 3 years. I know things will change in that time, and I will likely need to add something to my daily sadhana, but I'm sure I can carry on with what I am doing now - the children will get older, I will get more sleep, and I will be able to carve out a bit more time to myself in the day. Right now, it is a real struggle to find an hour without any interruptions, especially since my toddler seems to have a sixth sense and know when I am trying to wake up early, so she wakes up early, too! Trying to do yoga moves and peacefully meditate with a needy toddler in your lap is not easy.

Thankfully, intention is 90% of this work. If I'm doing my best, God will make up the difference. Isn't that wonderful? I feel like all truth, regardless of the source, points me back to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I feel like I have officially begun my journey, now. I have overcome resistance (some days it is REALLY HARD to get started for various reasons, but once I start, I marvel over how much I enjoy it) and am now firmly entrenching this new habit. Life is good!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Her Medicine

Last month, I blogged about releasing my fear. It was a wonderful experience and I'm very grateful to be able to live life without my previously mysterious swallowing issues.

All of my fear got stuck during my toddler's infancy (it centred around her having tongue tie and not being able to nurse, so me not being able to swallow was incredibly symbolic), and as she grew up, I started to notice that she had some fear issues of her own; the dark would always upset her, and whenever I left her with her father, she would get incredibly upset. Now, she's my fifth child, so I am very familiar with developmentally appropriate separation anxiety. This was different - she wouldn't even hug her daddy or give him a kiss, even when she saw her siblings do the same (babies are great imitators!).

I wondered if something was up with her, and thought back to my stressful time when she was small. I used to carry her around in a ring sling just like this:

Slings are great! I wouldn't have another baby without one, but in this instance, I felt that my fear that got lodged in my chest was influencing my baby who was held against me in that area for so long.

Let me back up. Everything is energy. Go down to the sub-atomic level, and you will soon find that you can't get any smaller; the constituent parts of all things is energy, vibrating at different frequencies. Thought and emotion are included in this, so what we think and what we feel can have a physical effect on the world around us. So, in a very real way, my fearful emotions were vibrating right next to my baby, who couldn't help but pick up on that.

How could I help her? She's basically pre-verbal, although she does understand a lot and communicate quite well. After praying and meditating on the issue, I had the strong impression to wear her in a sling again. Now that my fear was released, wearing her in a sling could sort of re-set her emotional frequency.

It was worth a try! I gave up all my slings a few months ago because she was adamantly against being worn in a sling and wanted to walk everywhere. I didn't have anything to "wear" her in! So I jumped on a website where I could rent slings, and started looking for something suitable.

After feeling indecisive and wondering what to choose, I came upon this Mei Tai:

If you can tell by the two pictures above, the Mei Tai is made from the exact same fabric as the ring sling! I thought that was really fitting and had a lovely symbolism to it, so I rented it for two weeks. I felt like it was all she needed, and it coincided perfectly with a camping weekend.

As soon as the sling arrived in the post, I opened the package and tried it on. My toddler, who hadn't seen a sling for months and wasn't even talking when she was last in one, pointed to it and said "uppies" (which is what I used to call it, or I would ask if she wanted up). My heart filled with excitement and joy! This was going to work!

The Spirit referred to this sling wearing exercise as her medicine, so that's what I explained to her. Riding in the sling would be temporary, just like most medicine, and it would give her health and joy. She protested a couple of times when I got it out, just like before, but unlike before, once she was in the sling she was happy and content.

I returned the sling a few weeks ago, and her relationship with her dad is definitely improving. She gives him hugs without him asking, and if I have to go out she is comfortable in his care (although she still doesn't like me leaving). Miracle of miracles, she even goes to bed for him! Before, she would stay up as long as possible, waiting for my return, but now he can tuck her into bed and she falls to sleep on her own. I'm in awe of that, I really am! Being in the dark doesn't upset her as much, either. It's fantastic.

But I am so grateful to God for inspiring me to administer an unconventional remedy. I now feel very confident that when I go on my Level 1 Kundalini Yoga teacher training weekends, she will feel happy, safe and content with her daddy (as she should have all along). All is well.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Break your sugar addiction with Knowledge

Knowledge is power. Get the facts, man.

(I realise that this isn't specifically about meditation, but I'll get there, I promise. Until next time.)

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

My recent youtube video - Break Your Sugar Addiction!

It's a long one - 18 minutes - but apparently I had a lot to say! Look out for more vlogs from me in the future.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Yogi Mono Fast: Day 23

Two weeks ago, I felt my addictions fading. I didn't feel a craving when I walked past the bakery and smelled cookies. I am not rummaging around the kitchen trying to satiate an unknown hunger. I wasn't obsessing over food, but starting to prepare it with joy. Things were looking up!

When I first started this mono fast, I had a picture in my head of what my addiction would look like if it were visible. It was a black blob of negative energy, attached to my back with tentacles spread all through my body. As I felt that blob losing its grip on me, I also felt that it was struggling to hold on tighter, like you would hold on to the edge of a cliff with your fingertips. It was desperate to stay!

A few days after I noticed this fading addiction (and its desire to keep a grip on me), I started getting horrible stomach cramps. I first thought it was a virus, but I felt fine otherwise. The cramping would come on suddenly, and then slowly fade after an hour or two. I then wondered if it was due to the rice in my soup (rice can cause food poisoning if not handled properly), but there weren't any other symptoms. I then wondered if it was from eating too much fruit, so decided to cut out fruit and just eat vegetables along with my soup. Nothing really fit - I would get the cramping at random times: before meals, after meals, no fruit, no soup; it just didn't make any sense.

Several days ago, I was feeling slightly discouraged and meditated on the issue. A very clear picture came to me in my mind of the black energy wrapping itself around my stomach and squeeeeezing it very hard. There was a malicious intent behind the action, and I recognised this as a true representation of what was happening to my body. I also immediately recognised that I could do something about it! So as I carried on meditating (Kirtan Kriya, fyi), I envisioned the black energy dissipating into atoms and being absorbed by my body. After the atoms were absorbed, I imagined a white light surrounding my stomach, and I knew without any doubt that I wouldn't have any more stomach cramps. I also felt prompted to banish any and all demons who were hanging around me, feeding and encouraging my food addictions. After I finished meditating, I did so.

So these cramps were happening every day, at least once, with no obvious physical cause. The cause was spiritual! Since I deleted the black energy from my body, I have not suffered from a single stomach cramp, regardless of how much fruit/vegetable/soup I've eaten, or when I've eaten it. Bliss!

The black energy (my addiction) is still hanging around in the background, but it isn't attached to me anymore. I am confident that I will be able to get rid of it for good, and soon.

This experience has been utterly fascinating to me. I totally believe in the power of the mind, and what I engaged in was a pretty awesome power of the mind experience. But I also believe in the spiritual realm, and I know that Satan and his followers are out to destroy our mortal experience, by whatever means possible. I believe that I had a few evil spirits hanging out, trying to get me to ruin my health and block out the Spirit through unhealthy eating choices. God wants me to treat my holy temple body with love, respect and enjoy it! God wants me to break this addiction, and I am doing it with His help. I have tried and tried to break my sugar and food addictions, but this is the first and only time I have called upon Him in every way possible for help - and it is working. 

Light conquers darkness, always. Shadows cannot exist in the same space as light. I am a being of light: Happy, Healthy and Holy. With the tools God has given me, and with the power of the Atonement, I can conquer addictions. I will stand in His light, and the darkness will flee. Every time.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fleshy Tabernacles

In the words of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

 As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe someday I will be resurrected, "the reuniting of the spirit with the body in an immortal state, no longer subject to disease or death."

I can remember the first time I viewed my body as a separate entity from myself. I was probably 11 years old, sitting cross-legged on the floor at school. I looked down at my legs and thought "My thighs are fat."

Whether they were or not is unimportant; I had begun to look at my body with a critical eye and denigrate it.

But I grew up attending church, where I was taught time and time again that my body is sacred. It is a gift from God the Father, and I should love it, respect it, and treat it well.

In fact, the human body is quite literally a temple; a fleshy tabernacle. We Mormons take our temples seriously. They are built to the highest of standards, and decorated with the most intricate and beautiful of ornaments. They are portals to a heavenly realm, wherein we learn gospel truths and become closer to our Father in heaven. We perform sacred ordinances therein on behalf of those who have passed on to the next life without having the opportunity to learn about the gospel themselves. We mortals who still have the privilege of our bodies are able to do eternal work for those who cannot.

If our temple buildings are so precious - something built by man and subject to decay - how much more precious are our physical bodies - built by God, and once resurrected, will last into the eternities!

For many years, I have struggled to take that teaching truly to heart. Although I knew and believed that my physical body was important, special, and even divine, I couldn't fully drown out the noise from the Deceiver who whispered in my ear about how important it was to be beautiful, thin, tanned, hairless (apart from the long flowing perfect hair on my head, of course), adorned and painted upon. My self worth as a daughter of God was intertwined with how others perceived me, which was a recipe for disaster.

The only time of my life that I felt closely connected with my body and truly appreciated its divine attributes was during pregnancy. I was in awe of what my body was capable of doing, without influence or control from my conscious mind. Even so, I was subjected to much scrutiny from others, which was hard for me to cope with at times.

When I discovered Kundalini Yoga, my feelings toward my body slowly changed. The exercises and kriyas are all designed to align the spirit and the body together, in order to more fully receive divine inspiration. As I exercise daily, I feel more grounded into myself. After years of feeling like my body and spirit were separate entities, only to be united after my resurrection, I have come to feel them as they are- intertwined, and in need of each other.

There is a dusty, worn-out, supposedly jokey way of describing a so-called "ugly" woman: she has a sweet spirit. I have heard women say that their spirits are thin/beautiful/etc but it's just their bodies that are the problem. Through the power of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, I have come to truly understand that my spirit and body are BOTH who I am. I am not waiting for the resurrection for my pretty body to materialise. This body is me; it is mine, forever. It can do many physical things, and it can do many spiritual things. It can worship God through prayer, scripture study, fasting, meditation and yoga. It can attend the temple and perform ordinances. It is not taking me along for the ride; it is me!

When I die and am temporarily separated from my temple body, I will miss it terribly. I am only just beginning to understand how vital this body is to my existence. I praise God for this beautiful gift. It is precious to me.

Instead of saying my body, I will say my temple body. Or my sacred body. Instead of thinking about foods being unhealthy, I will remember that certain food-like substances will distance me from feeling the Spirit. They are unhealthy in a mortal sense, but they are even more unhealthy for my soul.

The human body is a sacred temple of God. Let us all treat our temple bodies as such!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

My daily sadhana

I've been meditating daily for a month now (after a long break), and it's been wonderful to get back into it. I don't ever want to stop again!

But I have to admit, it takes a fair amount of discipline. I am not at the stage where I can wake up early before everyone else does in order to meditate. It's just too hard - I have a young toddler that doesn't sleep through the night consistently, and even if I am awake early enough, she seems to have a sixth sense and wakes up alongside me - grumpy and needy to boot! So right now, here's what my daily practice looks like...

Wake up, get the children ready for the day, husband and school child leave. Settle any arguments, take toddler to the potty, do a small amount of housework like putting a load of laundry on. It's nearly 9am at this point.

Use the tv as a babysitter - sneak upstairs to my bedroom where I unroll my yoga mat and get to work.

Right now my daily yoga and meditation routine is as follows:

Tune In: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo x 3

Protection Mantra: Aad Guray Nameh, Jugaad Guray Nameh, Sat Guray Nameh, Siri Guru  Dayvay Nameh x 3

Nabhi Kriya: This is an exercise to help digestion, which is what I'm working on right now with my mono fast. I've started with the minimum times on each exercise, and am working up. I have seen an improvement in my strength, which is exciting, but it does mean that eventually this part of my day will take nearly an hour to complete! (I really need to start waking up early...) I find it very interesting how different I feel mentally when I do a kriya vs an exercise programme. Kriyas do more than just strengthen the body - there is a spiritual element to it that makes me feel so happy! I find myself smiling as I am doing these exercises. It's wonderful, and I don't like missing a single day (unlike when I used to go to the gym!).

Kirtan Kriya: This is the meditative portion of my morning. I usually opt for the shortened version that lasts 11 minutes, because by this point my children have finished with the tv and come looking for me. They climb on me, poke me, ask me questions, pull on me, sit on me, cry at me, play in the toilet water, etc etc. Good times!

Tune Out: Sing the song, "Long time sun". So beautiful!

I try to pray and read scriptures after this, but it often gets relegated to later in the day, over lunch or while the toddler is napping. I am working on consistency with all aspects of my daily worship.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mono Fast

There are a ton of "lifestyle" diets out there, "cleanses" and extreme calorie restriction diets. I am of the opinion that most of them are eating disorders dressed up as something healthy. I don't think anyone should be so obsessed with food that it eclipses every other aspect of their life - whether that obsession results in anorexia, bulimia, or worshipping the false god of health. Don't get me wrong, being healthy is fantastic and we always miss health when it's gone, but the pursuit of it has turned into a religion for many and that isn't the right way to go about things.

When I was a gym member a few years ago, I noticed that almost every class and poster had really aggressive language - "body attack" "body combat" "body burn" "ab blaster" etc. The message was clear: your body is something outside of your true self that must be contained, restrained, and forcibly sculpted into an acceptable shape/size. I think this language is highly toxic and it is one of the reasons why I don't go there anymore!

I love the language used by teachers in Kundalini Yoga classes - "feel the energy flow through you" "lean into the motions" (ie, do the best you can), etc. The meditations and kriyas ground me into my body, teach me to feel at one with myself, and I soon begin to appreciate what I can do right here and now, rather than go insane with the desire to change my body and separate it from my mind.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that my spirit and body are intricately connected and will remain so after my resurrection. I will be apart from my body for a time, but eventually we will be one again, and forever! It seems utterly nonsensical to spend my energy in this mortal life denigrating it, abusing it, and feeling separated from it. Satan would have me hate how I look, fret over what size clothing I wear, and constantly despair over how much force gravity exerts upon me. What a waste of time!

In the movie, the Addam's Family (I think it was the sequel, actually), Wednesday Addams attends a summer camp and one evening the girls are telling ghost stories. Wednesday's turn comes, and she ends her creepy tale with the phrase, "and they all had their old noses back!" The other girls were horrified. I often think of this scene when I consider how hard we as humans (especially female humans) try to change the way we look. Who am I to decide what is beauty in God's eyes?

Here is a run-down of what our resurrected bodies will look like:

A glorified celestial body will be:
  • Immortal. “This mortal body is raised to an immortal body, . . . that they can die no more” (Alma 11:45).
  • Perfect. “The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form” (Alma 11:43). President Joseph F. Smith explained, “Deformity will be removed; defects will be eliminated, and men and women shall attain to the perfection of their spirits, to the perfection that God designed in the beginning.”8
  • Beautiful. President Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901) said, “There is nothing more beautiful to look upon than a resurrected man or woman.”9
  • Glorious. President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has said: “Your spirit is young and vibrant and beautiful. Even if your body is old and diseased or crippled or disabled in any way, when the spirit and body are put together in the Resurrection, then you will be glorious; then you will be glorified.”10
  • Without sorrow or pain. “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4).
Nowhere in scripture that I've read does it say we will look "hot" or "sexy" according to our culture's requirements. Nor does it say "thin" or "muscular" or with "perfect hair".
I have a mom body. I have borne and birthed five babies, all of them pretty big! I am also a large statured person, tall with big hands and feet. I am not thin, either. My belly is squishy, according to my children, who love to snuggle me. I sag in places, too! But what if this "mom body", which represents so much sacrifice and love, that shows what I've done and who I've done it for with every breath I take, is a "perfection that God designed in the beginning"? What if this is "glorious" in God's eyes? The horror of those girls getting their old noses back would be nothing compared to the despair I would feel after receiving my long-anticipated perfected body full of all of those "imperfections" that I hated during mortality.

That's not to say that I am at peace with how I look or feel in my skin. I have my own share of neuroses and addictions - don't we all! I've been battling sugar addiction for many years now with temporary success. I have struggled with overeating, and eating the wrong foods. My body has gone up and down in size during and after pregnancy, and I've often been too tired to attempt to change long-entrenched habits so I've carried on as I was even though I knew intellectually that I was hurting my body little by little.

Taking into consideration that I am not a fan of dieting (to put it mildly), that my bad eating habits were making me feel out of control, and that my attempts to change them have consistently failed, I felt at an impasse. I pretty much gave up for a long time.

My Kundalini Yoga teacher has a blog, and she wrote about a Yogi mono fast a few months ago. As soon as I read the first couple of sentences, I knew that I should do it, too. But our subconscious mind is often set in its ways and it took me several months of thinking about it before I decided to commit. 

Why am I doing this? Well, I feel like a lot of my so-called food issues are more inherited habits and emotional entrenchment. I am not an emotional eater, so in theory I should be able to cut out sugar and junk without any issue. But, because these issues were still attached to me so to speak, even though I wanted to change and tried to change, they kept drawing me back in and taking over.

In order to break these issues once and for all, I am meditating and eating highly nutritious foods on a daily basis. I am praying and reading my scriptures, so it is a multi-pronged approach. I am cleansing my body, my mind, and my soul every day. 

It has been really interesting. Previously, my sugar addiction only broke after tremendous effort and some wicked side-effects like banging headaches and the shakes. I would feel awful for several days until the sugar purge was complete and I could function again. This time? Nothing. I am eating a lot of fruit, which is sugary as well of course, but I was eating fruit as a sugar replacement before, as well. I don't feel shaky when I've gone too long between meals (which was starting to happen mid-morning and mid-afternoon several times a week before, and made me nervous for my health) and I'm not missing other foods, most of the time.

It isn't super easy to eat the same mung bean soup every day and load up on fruits and veggies in between, but it isn't horrendously hard, either. I feel amazing in the morning instead of fuzzy-headed and groggy, and I'm not as tired in the afternoons, either. Every bite of food is full of nutrients and goodness, instead of empty calories and refined carbs. 

I am on day 8 of this mono fast, and I intend to go 80 days for this fast. It takes 40 days to break a habit, and 40 to create one, so 80 days seems about right!

I am feeling the binding habits of my inherited food issues loosening. I am thinking clearly and feel lighter on my feet. I am learning to love my body as it is, instead of forcing it into a new shape. If my body changes shape or size during my mono fast, so be it. I will accept what happens. But it is a wonderful experience to feel a blossoming love for my body as I am in this moment, instead of the hateful whispers in my ear from the destroyer himself. 

I am beautiful, I am bountiful, I am blissful.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Releasing Fear

About 20 months ago, I had a baby. She was born in peaceful circumstances; a very easy birth as these things go, and I was very happy with everything. Unfortunately, my sweet baby had a tongue tie which meant that she struggled to feed effectively and couldn't get enough milk into her tummy. Her weight kept going down and down, and it wasn't until she was over a month old that we got a diagnosis and pursued a frenulotomy. I had hoped that her feeding would get better straight away, but that wasn't the case; she still struggled to drink milk for another six weeks.

The thing about me is, I can be very stubborn when I want to be. I am normally easy going and quick to make compromises, but with certain issues I won't back down. Breastfeeding is one of those issues. Nursing my babies has become just the normal, necessary way I mother them, and I really couldn't imagine doing things another way. 

As a result of my stubborn streak, the stress I put myself under was enormous. I was adamant I was going to feed her myself, but because she wasn't effectively drawing out milk on her own, I had a low supply (not enough demand) and had to express milk 8 times a day. I was up in the night pumping, while my sweet newborn was sleeping! Talk about backwards. I became obsessive over the amounts of milk I managed to express and how much she ate via bottle. 

Watching your baby's weight drop down and down at every weigh-in is a hell I wouldn't wish on anyone. I literally worked around the clock to get her weight up and it was, hands down, the most stressful time of my entire life. (and I've been through some doozies)

Thankfully, through the help of an amazing support system and the grace of God, she grew exponentially and her little mouth and tongue got big enough to feed on her own. I actually don't think the frenulotomy did much, but I had to feel like I was doing everything I could to help her. 

I experienced many of God's mercies during this trial, and I count the experience as a huge blessing since I have been able to support and uplift other mothers in similar circumstances since then. I dug down deep inside myself and found a ton of grit and nerve that I didn't really need to rely on before. I am exceedingly proud of what I accomplished, but my gratitude is boundless for the way my eyes have been opened to other women's struggles with breastfeeding and the compassion I have earned during my experiences. 

A few months later, I started noticing an occasional occurrence, that started becoming more frequent - while eating, my esophagus would suddenly clamp down and not allow food to pass into my stomach. At first, it was very temporary and only felt like I hadn't chewed enough, but after a while, it got so bad that I couldn't even swallow my saliva. I got really concerned and went to the doctor, who sent me to the hospital for a barium swallow. I essentially swallowed this thick concoction that would allow the x-ray to watch the movements of my esophagus as I swallowed. I was given the all-clear.

So that was a relief, but the swallowing issues still would happen from time to time. The last experience was another bad episode that happened at a moment that made me reconsider why this was happening. I was at the hospital again, with my happy, healthy toddler (who is still breastfeeding, yay!) who needed her foot tended to - she had stepped in some hot ashes at a campsite a few days prior and burned the bottom of one foot pretty badly. We were in the waiting room, eating a packed lunch, and as soon as the doctor called her name, my throat seemed to stop working. I couldn't talk, I couldn't swallow, it was exceedingly uncomfortable! The doctor left me to compose myself and it took at least 10 minutes before my throat relaxed and I felt normal again.

This is what I think has happened. I was under so much stress and fear nearly two years ago, and those emotions were so powerful, that they decided to hang around a while. My body, in not being able to feed itself, was telling me in a very drastic way that I was still suffering from those fears I had of not being able to feed my child. The fear became trapped inside me, manifesting itself in a physical way (think about stress and stomach ulcers - not as uncommon as you might think!).

My husband was the first one to point this out, a few months ago, but I kind of brushed it off. It wasn't until the hospital visit that I realised that this was a serious issue that I needed to take care of! 

Through prayer and meditation, I recently have been able to release that fear. My daughter is perfectly fine now, and there is no reason for my mind, body or spirit to dwell on those emotions. As I meditated over this issue, I felt a sensation in my chest, right where the pain would come when my esophagus would stop working. The sensation was very healing, and I knew that the emotion was released. 

We don't talk this way in church, about trapped emotions and energy and such, but I believe this is a true aspect of our existence. Just as we were formed as spirits before we gained a body, and just as this earth was formed as spirit before it received its Telestial form. We are spirits, gaining an earthly experience. What we think, feel and know doesn't always have to be quantifiable. (although, there are plenty of studies to show how amazing the unseen world is - quantum physics blows my mind!)

I am so grateful for meditation - this technology has released me from anger, fear and has elevated me to feel God's love. I have a stronger testimony of God's love for me and the entire world because I have experienced it personally. Wahe Guru, or in other words, How Great Thou Art!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Eleven months

I have recently made a commitment to renew my daily meditation practice, after nearly a year of sort of losing focus, and walking down a path that wasn't right for me.

Last year I developed and cultivated a fear of money (or lack of it) and as a result I lost sight of my faith that God would provide. I am a stay at home mother and felt like I should be "contributing financially", never mind that my husband didn't feel it was necessary!

I started a little sewing business from home and it quickly became more successful than I could have imagined. I was consumed with it - I would wake in the night with ideas, my brain feverishly going over every detail. I actually got sick because my mind was whirring so fast that I couldn't maintain equilibrium. I look back on that time and recognise that it was not a healthy way to live. I needed to stop, but I carried on working late nights and during the day (many, many hours I could have spent elsewhere) fulfilling orders.

Before I even began, I knew a sewing business wasn't what God wanted me to do. And it negatively impacted my predisposition for addiction as I spent more and more time trying to drum up business or keeping an eye on the so-called competition. They say that the Spirit speaks in a still, small voice, but that wasn't working so by February He was shouting at me to stop. Unfortunately I had a list of pre-paid custom orders that wasn't going to be completed until April at the earliest.

I finally committed to quitting the business and was able to put it completely to rest by May. I felt so relieved and happy! It was like the fog lifted at last and I could think clearly again.

As I thought on the past six months, I felt ashamed of my choices. Okay, so I wasn't doing anything horrific, but I also wasn't where I needed to be and I wasted so much time. Hours in the day, days in the week, weeks and months. If I had focussed on where God was sending me, rather than where I thought I should be, I would probably be an official Kundalini Yoga Teacher right now.

That's what I should be doing - focussing on training to be a teacher. Yes, perhaps this could lead to an income for my family like I had originally intended with my sewing business, but more importantly, it will lead me closer to God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

At the end of my life, what do I want to reflect back upon? The hours spent worrying and focussing on earthly things, while important in many ways, aren't nearly as important as hours spent in worship through prayer, fasting, meditation, and service to my fellow beings. I want to be purified through Christ, and I will get there faster and more thoroughly through meditation. I know it.

So now that I acknowledge that I need to readjust my course, I am now on day 15 of my renewed meditation journey and day 6 of a Yogic mono fast. I have so much to say about my experiences so far! I have been meditating daily, reading and studying scriptures and other good books, and I am also de-toxing from Facebook. It has been a great start.

I have felt the power of God's love and felt it flow through me towards others. I have received my Yogic name, and the meaning dovetails so nicely with my patriarchal blessing. It's wonderful! I feel like I'm bursting with joy, peace and love for everyone and I really want to share my experiences to spark interest and a daily practice in everyone else's lives. I will be posting more information about my recent experiences and my thoughts and testimony of meditation on this blog. I will be sharing about how I am overcoming my scepticism through experience.

I will also be sharing my experiences with my Level 1 Teacher training! I will begin that journey in September of this year, and I am so very excited.

There have been very few opportunities for me to meditate with others since I began learning about Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. Most of my learning has been online with a teacher who lives half a world away. I went to a KY festival last year, which was a beautiful experience, so I am confident that I will enjoy my teacher training. I look forward to meeting and befriending other people who live and love meditating and hope to get to the point where I can feel confident teaching others. I have such a strong desire inside me to teach, but I don't have the words yet.

In fact, I have been prompted to prepare an introductory lesson for my church's Relief Society (women's group), although I haven't been asked yet. I have also been prompted to write an article for the Ensign, a magazine published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It seems I have a lot of work to do. Sat Nam.