12 Things You Can Say "NO" to Today

Check out this great slide-share on 12 things you can say "NO" to, TODAY.  What do you think?

The book has just been released, and I feel a mixture of excitement, fear, exhilaration and everything in between.  Wish us luck!

And a huge shout out of THANK YOU to you, for reading!






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What Is It Like To Co-Write a Book With James Altucher When He Is Your Husband?


Wait - Is he kidding? What is he even saying?

I was listening to James talk to Hay House. They were asking him if he had any new book ideas. I don't even think he blinked and he said, "How about we do "The Power of NO" - it would be exactly like the 'Power of NOW" only without the "W". "

Then he laughed. But they loved it. They wanted to do the book. And he asked me if I wanted to co-write it. Because he knows I can't say "No" to him.

But the more we thought about it the more it made sense. Saying “no” is really difficult.

We are not gentle enough with ourselves to recognize the places where we need boundaries. We all need a bit more “no” in our short lives. "No" literally creates time. Literally creates calm in our lives. Creates the space I need and crave.

Saying yes to James’s invitation into “The Power of No” was easy. Writing it with James, my spouse, as a co-author, was maybe not so easy.

The book tells my origin tale and I am a bit embarrassed of it because my claim to fame is that I come from one of the most dysfunctional families of South America. They had wiped out my ability to say "No" from an early age. But the reality is, I think that's true for many families.

I bled on the page. It was very painful to me and often I wasn't sure if I could write this.

My fears, my angers, my forgiveness, the horror that I had faced in my childhood, my NOs, is how I turned my story from mere words on a page into LIFE.

This is the wrestling of what I learned as I swam those treacherous waters of writing a book with my husband, meeting new faces of his and my personality, and living to tell the tale

1.- Wow! I Get to Free Ride On His Success.

That was the first thought. And I was sure this is what everyone else would think. You know? As in: how lucky for her to write a book with a best-seller author.

Did you catch that?

Not the first line, but the second, the one where I was sure of what everyone else would think.

Who the heck cares what everyone else thinks? Seems I do from time to time.

I didn't want to be thought of as "the wife?"

I had a choice:

I could ignore this and forge ahead, meaning just play as if I totally can do it, Orr, play small and go behind the scenes.

I chose the first one.

And I stood up for things I wanted, for example I wanted the: "|" symbol separating our names in the cover.

I didn’t want to have it read: James Altucher “and” Claudia Azula Altucher. No, I wanted:

James Altucher | Claudia Azula Altucher

I have no idea why that small gesture had anything to do with my creative process, but it worked.

And suddenly we were on the same page. 
2.- The Writing Retreat

Books seem to be due pretty much as soon as you sign a contract so we went to Pennsylvania for a retreat, morning solitude, and hoping to churn those words out.

James gives me a draft of something he wrote. We are looking at the differences between can’t, shouldn’t and wouldn’t.

It is clear to me that: “can’t” is a limitation. Can’t wants to narrow things down, make it all black or white.

“Won’t”, on the other hand, is a decision. As in: I know what is happening and I am choosing not to do that. “I won’t believe every thought my mind spits”. Won’t has power in it.

Shouldn’t, on the third hand, is awful, it means someone else does not approve and I am buying into pre-packaged story telling. “I shouldn’t have dessert” because I fear some thought someone put in my head.

But James sees it differently and I don’t even remember how it was that he saw it differently.

“Clearly you did not work on what I told you to work on!” I say.

I can’t believe I just said that.

He is hurt. Who wouldn’t? I am sorry.

What took over me? Why not give constructive criticism, why not start with the positives (he HAD written after all).

I apologize.

Now I am embarrassed and upset and we have no writing.

But then we wrote. And wrote more. And rewrote. And we started to exchange pages and laughter until his words blended into mind and mine blended into his and suddenly we had a book. Our very own book.

3.- The Fear

Will my family read this? Will they hate it? Where does someone else’s story end and mine begin?

Writing is a curious thing. It shuffles the people in your life throwing some out and attracting new people in, and in the end it lands you a whole new tribe.

I have family members that do not speak to me anymore.

I miss them.

A writer is never palatable for a family. And I will have to live with that.

4.- I Let Go
The manuscript goes to the editors and we have a month off. The winter is brutal.

I want to die.

But I survive.

5.- The Manuscript Comes Back

Gosh! 50,000 words is a lot of words and we need to turn it back in 48 hours.

We settle on taking out the chapter on Won’t Can’t and Shouldn’t. It’s not working for the book and it is not working for us.

I freak out because one of the chapters is not fitting in with the stories. James says we could break it into two No’s. It makes sense and so we do.

I flesh out a chapter on the day I met Thich Nhat Hanh. James edits a few other parts and suddenly it all looks better. 

It now feels like a book.

Now we are in the same room. We take turns to sit on the computer and edit details. He adds two paragraphs to the fourth No. I clean up the fifth No.

We are collaborating.

I love this man.

6.- The Freak Out

The final edits are back in. Now is just “cosmetics” we are told. No major changes, only touches.

I fear a chapter missing and adrenaline sparks in my system. Perhaps I had too much coffee this morning. I am frantic and looking through track-changes in different versions.

Nothing is missing; the desperation just took over BECAUSE IT COULD.

7.- The AudioBook

We are in the city to record the audio version. It is early spring and I feel like I can breathe again. I hate winter.

I read the first line.

The engineer interrupts me and asks me to sound less fake.

Great start.

He is sweet and is trying to help. He just has no idea how low my self-esteem can go around “accent” issues and speaking out loud in a language that’s not my native tongue.

In a moment I need to gather all the strength I have just not to cry. Then I start speaking again, from a more truthful place, I guess. It sounds good.

Then suddenly James spoke perfect Spanish as he was reading the book. I couldn't believe it.

But no, that was just in my imagination. James is never going to learn Spanish.

8.- The Podcast

James invites me to his ultra famous podcast. It’s like one of the most downloaded things in I-Tunes and it feels intimidating.

Surprisingly it just flows like a good old conversation on any given Sunday morning.

We talk about the process, suicide, stalking men, being broken and putting the pieces together. We talk about the daily practice and how it changes both our lives every six months.

I got a lot of feedback on the podcast and people trying to help me too. I am appreciative of this, forgiving and letting go are not easy for me.

9.- My Own Radio Show

If you’d told me three years ago that I would have my own HayHouse Radio show I would have doubted it. I always wanted something like that but I probably would have not been able to see the “how” that would happen.

“How” is always the enemy.

We always want to know how things will happen. At least in my case I want to know exactly how I will get to do everything, step by step, leaving nothing to chance.

But how is the enemy because it blocks the possibilities that open up when we are willing to not know.

And not know I did.

When you don't know about tomorrow, all you can do is focus on doing your best today.

And here I am, co-hosting a radio show on Hay House every Wednesday at 1:00 PM EST.

10.- Showtime

Showtime is next Tuesday. We have a pre-order page where you can get 3 gifts if you buy the book now, before the 15th. I hope you do. We put a lot of work into the free gifts. Get them here.

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7 Ways To Appease The Inner MONSTER When It Takes Over

When I started kicking the furniture and throwing a can of diet coke against the wall in that Brooklyn apartment I knew I was pretty angry, but I had no idea I was also, out of control. 

The walls were spinning and anger was totally moving me... It even felt good. It was sickening.

My then boyfriend of 11 months was not clear that we were through and I thought I was sending a strong message, staging a drama, doing it for the good of all.

But the truth is I was crazy, unconscious, downright dangerous, and out of my mind. 


Why did I act like that? What took over?

To this day I wonder why is it that sometimes I am overtaken by this angry monster, pain body, or just insane mad person that wants to kill everything around it, me included of course.

And I fear it, because once it takes the reins I am not me anymore, I am the beast, and the thing wants only one thing: To destruct everything around me, anything good, anything worth caring for.


In its devious way it wants to assure me that I am not worth having a descent conversation or a peaceful way of life. No! It wants blood, and if it is other people’s emotional blood then all the better.

Just the fact that I am talking about it here 
and that I am aware this energy can possess me is a HUGE WIN. 


But I know better not to get too cocky.

I can rationalize where this mad-energy comes from. I grew up in one of the most dysfunctional families of South America. I am not proud of it; it is just the way it is. But then again, who am I to blame anyone?

All members of my family where doing the best they could with what they knew at the time. They were trying hard. 


My guess is that they did not have the gift I’ve been given, which is I can SEE when the monster takes over. I am aware.

Do you see how enormous that is? 


To realize that sometimes we are just “taken” by this energy, which is pretty universal, and that can strike anyone?

I think a lot about the monster, and I am always in the lookout for tools that can help me curb it when it pops up. 


These are some of the ones I use:

#0- Yes We Must Start At Zero

I had to start at zero because if there is no willingness to see, then you are probably not even here reading this post.

It takes a certain type of courage to be open-minded enough and notice that when everything falls apart, the problem MIGHT be within us.

It is not pretty to turn around and notice we had a prominent role in all of our problems. It takes even more courage to notice that sometimes we are the ones acting crazy. I know it does for me. I don’t like it.

And I will tell you something, a secret, at the risk of making life a living hell for me….

The monster energy that possesses me,  does NOT like it that we are talking about it.

Because when we are willing to face it, it begins to loose power.

So here we are, in the here and now that ZERO marks, with the willingness to look.

Let’s look then. But at your own risk.

#1- Discovering the Monster

There was once a little girl that kept having nightmares about a monster following her up, at night, on the street. She was terrified and would wake up in a sweat.

A wise psychologist suggested that next time she felt the monster behind her in her sleep, instead of running, to turn around.

To her credit, the little girl took this to heart and on her next nightmare she turned around and looked at the monster straight in the eye.

"What happened?" Asked the psychologist.

"The monster turned into a bubble that could only jump up and down" she said.

That is what happens when we discover it; It‘s rendered a LOT less powerful, even comic.

One night after I went too low in a depression incident I woke up angry. As soon as I got out of bed I was screaming and blaming, I was possessed, and all I saw, with funnel vision, was that everything was a mess and things needed to be destroyed in order to be fixed.

Fixing, controlling and blaming are the marks of an active pain body (monster).

When we are caught in those three (blame control and trying to fix things) it might be too late, we may be already unconscious zombies at the mercy of this destructive energy.

The only thing we ever have control over, maybe, is our reaction to whatever happens. And when possessed that is not even an option!

On that day when I woke up angry I risked it all. My job was at risk, my marriage was at risk, my health was shaky, my home, my finances were in trouble. Just what the monster ordered.

That is how the pain body wins. That is how it wants it: Small, destroyed, sorry, broken.

It feeds on anger and devastation. It loves it.



For me, discovering that I was possessed was the first step in understanding and looking for solutions.

It was the moment I, myself, turned around, focused my angry yellow eyes on the monster, and said: “Oh, You live in ME! I can see you”


Only my monster did not turn into a bubble, maybe not yet.  


But I'll tell you one thing, the relationship DEFINITELY changed.

#2- The Most Powerful Defeating Tool Against The Monster

One day I got really angry with my brother. He had done something which I don’t even remember, something not even important.

Since I thought of myself as an advanced yogi I decided to sit in silence and meditate the anger away.

Within a minute I saw myself stand up, filled with “you should know that…” and “I better tell him that…” and continued observing the movie of me rushing downstairs to blame attack and tell him off.  It was not me doing the talking, it was the monster, and it wanted to blame him for things that happened that day and also 20 years ago.

Silence is a great tool to calm the nervous system and have access to new intelligence, new insight. Meditation is great....BUT..
.

And this is a BIG BUT

Let’s face it… Silence NEVER works when the pain body is active.


Silence will not calm down an active pain body, because the monster is too powerful.
Silence was NOT the tool I needed then, not when I was in the thrusts of unconsciousness.


NO! I needed something stronger. I needed OTHER PEOPLE.

That is the most powerful tool. Other people.

I have two people whom I can email at any time, under whatever circumstances, and run “reality checks” by. I always email them first when I feel the anger creeping in.

They say that hell is other people. I agree. But God is ALSO other people if we are willing to look at it that way.

Having people I can call or email at any time, and who can do the same with me, has provided me with:

- a buffer of time, 
- a different way of seeing things, and 
- at the minimum a temporary halt to the destructive ripples the monster wants to cause.

Feel free to email me if that makes you stop the crazy.  Because it takes two.

#3- MOVE!

John Medina, author of the wonderful “Brain Rules” says that in evolutionary terms our brains are designed to be on the move constantly.

For tens of thousands of years we were constantly either picking food or running away from predators.

The relatively new paradigm of humans sitting in desks all day long is the most destructive thing for a brain.

It creates conditions for a pain body to arise.

I’ve been doing yoga every day for years, and still I find this is not enough.

So I now ALSO take a daily, long, walk. 


James is always going: “wait, give me five more minutes” as he finishes his writing. I love that he comes with me.

And in this walk I challenge myself and think of tree climbing and berry picking and predators following me. So I climb the overhead for the train station three steps at the time, or two… And I do jumping jacks at the top of the really inclined street.

I give my brain what it needs and what it is used to. What it has expected for hundreds of thousands of years and what may help me keep the monster away.

Hey! Whatever works?


Next time you feel possessed by the energy of the monster go ahead and get out of the frigging house. Stand up from your chair and walk for a mile, even better, run. 

Do it. You will see the amazing results on the monster.  You might even get some peace.

The pain body will wither, because it has no evolutionary choice.

#4- The Importance Of Work

The biggest friend of the monster is an idle mind. A mind that has nothing to do.

This is why I believe lots of trust-fund people go crazy, or the richest countries in the world have the biggest numbers of suicides.

Because when we are not choosing what to occupy our brains on then our brain are choosing for us. And they don't always have the best ideas.

Having something of value to do every day, helping others, and making a contribution with work is a blessing not a chore.

Yes some kinds of jobs are awful. But that does not mean we cannot do something meaningful anyways, outside of work, something that enriches us, something we love to do.

#5- Making Offerings And Hoping They Work!

My friend Tina told me that throughout time wise people have made offerings both to the monstrous energy and to the powerfully creative energies. To the good AND the bad!

I usually chant my mantras and dedicate my practice to the good forces. But it never occurred to me to give something to the negative energies.

And so, using the opportunity of a social gathering I went to and in which alcohol was flowing freely, I decided to grab a glass of pink Champaign and wet my lips with it.

I don’t like alcohol and will never drink, but this was my way of saying, “I am not the picture perfect yogi that never drinks, in fact I am a sinner and I mess up a LOT”.

The offering was just a symbol. It helped me NOT take myself so seriously.

I don’t recommend grabbing a glass of alcohol, but maybe offering, say, food to the ground (as some traditions do), or lighting a candle to a skull or something not so god-looking, are other suggestions I’ve been considering.

The dark forces are very real, and at least they need some acknowledgement.

Not so much for the forces but for what they can do to us if we get too convinced that what our mind says is reality.

#6- Why Would Anything Nice EVER Happen?

Why The F&*& would anything nice ever happen? Says comedian Louis C.K.

He has that observational humor of life and has caught on to the fact that all is suffering… The Buddha pointed it out a couple of thousand years ago although he was not nearly as funny.

I’ve come to realize that: “life is suffering” is not just a statement; it is a practice of sorts.

And if I am not feeling awful at least once a day then I am not living, I am hiding.

Take for example today: I wake up and I get an email from so and so, and I don’t like the email. I have to do something I don’t want to do, and I have to because the rest of my professional life is pretty much dependent on me doing the stuff I said I wanted to do.


So I do it, but I feel that underlying anger, not full blown, just underlying discomfort… a time bomb that could explode OR be negotiated…

So when the bad feeling comes in I say: Good! That is GREAT!

It means I am fulfilling my quota of shit-ness for the day, because if there is no
“grrrrr” feeling then I am either having “one of those rare days” OR, I am totally isolating from other human beings.

And isolation is the mother of addiction and perdition.

When we isolate we can easily convince ourselves we can do it all alone. But we can’t.

There is that story of the gods giving us arms that do not bend and are too long, so we cannot feed ourselves. BUT we can feed each other, easily.

The whole point is that yes, hell is other people, but, God is also other people.

When the people we surround ourselves with can give us a reality check, a different point of view, or just a buffer for our anger to get out without emotionally killing those we care for, then they are like GOD.

Because they hear us.

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Learn Shoulder Stand And Enjoy These 5 Benefits




The Shoulder Stand, shalamba sarvangasana, or just "sarvangasana", is known as the "queen" of asanas because it works on ALL of the body.

This video, just like the one for headstand, is broken into segments so you can practice depending on your level of comfort and ability.

Take your time with this pose because it is necessary to go slow, breathe, and never force.   If you feel scared always stop.  It is better to take our time with the practice than having to wait months to recover from injury, especially when it comes to the area of the neck!  Be careful and respect your body.

5 Benefits Of Shoulder Stand

1) True Restoration

One teacher of teachers told me once that if I wanted to have a truly restorative class then all I would have to do is an hour-long class on inversions.

Curious as I am, I decided that on my next practice I would put this to the test and I stayed on my inversions for ten full long breaths, and then I would add one more.

That night I did see how true that was.  I slept very well, I felt relaxed and restored and also quite peaceful during the day!

2)  Preventing Infections

Our circulatory system processes an average of 20 liters of blood per day, 17 of those liters get re-absorved into the blood vessels but the other 3 are left behind.  That is where the lymphatic system comes in to distribute, through accessory routes, these 3 extra liters back to the blood.

Inversions help the valves move along the lymphatic system.  In turn the lymphatic system is responsible for helping us prevent infections.

Over a long and sustained time of practice the shoulder stand is a gift for this system, as it strengthens the whole body.

3) Anti-Aging

Just like with the headstand, the shoulder stand uses gravity in favor of the practitioner because with the deep breathing and the body inverted, the main organs (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver) have an opportunity to restore themselves closer to their original position in the body blue print.

4) Thyroid Gland Massage - Regulating How Fast We Go

The thyroid gland is on the back of the neck and it regulates our levels of activity.  If one day you feel you are going too fast or too slow, then the tyroid may be out of sorts.

By massaging the area of the throat this gland gets flooded in fresh blood, and over time it helps regulate the speed of our daily activities.  This is why active practitioners of yoga seem more relaxed and centered (not all but some).

This is why B.K.S. Iyengar says (on "Light on Yoga")

"...Due to the soothing effect of the pose on the nerves, those suffering from irritation, shortness of temper, nervous breakdown and insomnia get relief..."

5) Better Breathing

B.K.S. Iyengar also tells us that "persons suffering from breathless, palpitations, asthma, cronchitis and throat ailments get relief"

Breathing in this pose is a challenge and you will see as you get deeper into it that it takes courage and strength to breathe deeply.

Remember however, that the BREATH is the most important thing to get all of these benefits.


RELATED VIDEOS:

5 Steps to learn the HEADstand... both in English  and Spanish

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5 Ways To Deal With ENVY - For Real

I had a before and after, monumental shift in perception in 2004. 

Someone told me the Hawaiian saying: “Bless that which you want” meaning that if there is something you see in another that makes you angry or jealous, instead of giving in to scarcity and evil sarcasm, to bless it instead.

It turned my life around, but at first it also made me angry.  I was angry because it felt like too much. This was too big of a shift.

I would have to let go of something I had invested my whole life in, envying and blaming others for something I did not have.  And so far, that had felt good. 

Never mind that it was leaving me empty and starved, because at least I felt the false dignity of self-righteousness. 

Now, going even further and blessing it was completely out of my comfort zone at the time.  

That was WAY too much. No way!

However, in just noticing that I could perhaps bless al little of it, good things started to happen to me.

So when I noticed I envied a famous yoga teacher whose workshop I was attending, I turned it around, and blessed him.  It took courage to do that because in reality I didn't want to.  I tried it as a test, or an experiment.

No long after that my practice went deeper, and not much longer after that I started the alchemic process of becoming a yoga teacher myself, starting a blog, studying the philosophy, teaching… 

Here are five things that help me when dealing with the green-turning second capital sin of “envy”:

Envy Extinguishes Gratitude:

Look for example at Cinderella, whose tale has been told since times we know not of because it has truth in it.

She holds on to the good she has even in spite of the terrible conditions of living in a household in which she is reduced to ashes. 

She wakes up to the singing of the birds and notices it.  Even sings with them in some versions.

She helps the sisters as they prepare for the ball by bringing a lace here, or sowing a piece of clothe there.   As she is grateful for the small things she realizes there is enough good for everybody, and helping does not make her loose, but feeds her.

She holds on to the good in her from the beginning, until when the prince finds her. 

And the prince is just a symbol, which can be a man, yes, but can also be the integration of all parts of us, or a new field of work, or money, or travel, or stumbling upon what feeds our spirit.

If we are angry and upset, just noticing that we have eyes to read this, or legs to walk is a beginning.

What we focus on expands and by noticing so-call little good parts in us we begin to notice the bigger and bigger ones and attracting more of the good into our lives.

Understanding The Envier:

The envier takes pleasure in reassuring her or himself that they are right in feeling their own lack of good. They are so filled with hatred and starved for good that they spout and blame and shout and criticize to try an ease their pain. Only it never works.

They criticize and blame because this is a defense mechanism and it keeps them under the illusion of safety. 

If they hate and attack the good in others they don’t need to look at it in themselves. 

Maybe their mother did not love them, maybe somewhere along the line there was nurturing they did not get, I don’ know.  But there is definitely something lacking and the envier does not believe it can get it.

And so it sets to destroy those who do have it.  We can only be compassionate.  They are suffering.

How To Deal With The Person Who Envies Us?

Unfortunately there is no way because trying to explain things could be construed as “condescending” and keep the circle of abuse going.

Playing small, pretending to be less good just to please the person who envies us only fuels the fire (“oh now she is trying to be good… oh Gee… pretending to be so humble…”). 

It makes for more sarcasm or further lecturing.  The envier will not recognize good in us no matter what we do or do not do because they are not ready to realize that there is good for everyone.

And hiding our talents kills our creativity, our good, and all of us.  It sends us into despair over the fact that we are now blocking our own good parts.


The Yoga Sutras (bible of yoga) have one phrase that deals with this whole issue in a beautiful sentence.  It says:

Cultivate friendly attitudes towards the happy,
- Compassion for the unhappy,
- Delight in the virtuous, and
- Disregard toward the wicked

One sentence!  I honor the good in Patanjali’s writing. 

p.s.: See what I just did there? Blessed that which I want. 

In the case of the envying person, unfortunately we can only “disregard”, because they are trying to kill the good in us without noticing they are killing it in themselves, while turning into an unhealthy shade of green in the process.

What About When We Are The Enviers?

When we hate someone because they have money or a big house or talent… for me it helps to notice three things:

One: Everyone suffers.  People in the mansions and in the small shanti towns. NOBODY has it easy.  Thinking that money solves all issues is a very limited form of perception.  We are human therefore we suffer, just like the Buddha says, and just like I know because of my own life, and you probably know because of your own life.

Nobody has it easy.

Two: The yoga sutras point to delight in the virtuous… whatever “virtuous” represents, which is ‘something good’.   Delight is just like what the Hawaiian saying says:  bless it…  Don’t take my word for it, you try it and see.

Three: Look at exactly what it is you resent.  Is it their writing? Their husband? Their money? Their creativity? Their expertise? 

THAT IS WHAT YOU WANT.  See how big that is.

Envy is a pointer to what is lacking in us which we would like to have.

It is a huge Aha! Moment.  What we envy is what we want in ourselves.

AND we can get it.  We can work for it.

And what is that first step in getting it? Is it making a list of things to do and seeing whom we can call or what workshop to take?

No… It is a lot deeper than that…

The first step is to bless that which we want

Because blessing it makes the internal shift that will allow us to make that phone call, and without it we are lost again.

Who Can Help the Envier?

Only himself or herself.

The envier needs to come full circle on his or her own. And we cannot save them, especially if we are the object of envy.

Nobody can save anyone else. Otherwise we turn into Lucifer who, realizing he was not the source of good, falls from the sky in envy.

We are not saviors of the world but we can play a part in the salavation of all by shinning our own light. 

This is why I like and repeat the serenity prayer every day, because it grounds me.

Read it if you will:
-       Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change  (I cannot save or change the one who envies me)
-       Courage to change the things I can (blessing the good in others which I want for myself)
-       And the wisdom to know the difference.

So we may want to feel compassion for the one suffering of envy. 

We can pray that they see but we cannot make them see.

Accepting The Good In Us To Release Envy

Let me return to Cinderella for a moment, because her tale is so powerful.

The stepmother lies to her that in order to be allowed to go to the ball she to sort a huge pile of lentils, and separate the good from the bad.

That is so mind blowing. 

She needs to go through the seeds that bring nutrition and the ones that do not.

She has to find what nurtures her.

This is our task in releasing both envy and the ones that envy us. 

We need to sort, on a daily basis, as a practice, in each moment (as there is no such thing as deciding now and forever) to look for the good and also accept those places where we hurt.

----

Conclusion:

I’m crying and smiling at the same time right now.

There was a boy dying of cancer, in bed, breathing his last sweet breaths… His mother was beside herself, trying to comfort him without knowing how to get the strength to face what she was looking at. 

That is when the boy told her: “I’m OK mummy, I feel peaceful, it’s OK”.

He was comforting her.

I don’t remember where I read that story but I know it is true because I heard it more than once and from people close to me, not just from books.

When I remember this story I cry. I can’t help it.

There is a lot of good in the world, and this is one of those extraordinary scenes from actual life that show it.

We see the greater good in this little boy, or in the fireman that leads everyone he can to safety from the burning world trade center only to perish in the fire.

When the cynicism has a direct chance of subsiding, when the arms of sharp intellect are put down and the good becomes so obvious, I just cry and smile, because I recognize the force of good and how powerful it is and how humbling it is, and how we ALL have it. 

I see that all of us are capable of THAT kind of good and that there is plenty to go around.

God bless.


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Guess What The First Word Of The Most Important Yoga Text Is?

It is said that all yoga texts that have stood the test of time contain all of their knowledge in THE FIRST FOUR LINES.
The Yoga Sutras, which is like the Bible of yoga, was written by a sage who is said to have written three texts: one on medicine (Ayurveda) one of GRAMMAR, and one on psychology (the Yoga Sutras).
So Patanjali, the sage/writer, knew his GRAMMAR, he knew the power of words, and he knew that the first four sentences were critical.
Now, guess what the first word, of the first four sentences, of the Yoga Sutras is?
The first word is “ATHA” meaning…
NOW
Atha yoga-anuśāsanam
Which means:
Now here we start the study of yoga.
“NOW” is the first word, written by someone who knew grammar and the impact of the first four sentences of a book that we are reading TODAY.
That is how important it is to note that "NOW" is the only thing we have.
Some teachers interpret this as: “Well, now that you have tried everything else and it did not work, how about we try yoga”?
But that never quite convinced me.
The teacher that really brought it home for me and  made me go AHA! is Eckhart Tolle.
Also, lucky us, Oprah will be re-broadcasting their 2008 conversation on A New Earth. FREE.  They start soon, and I would not miss an episode because it is sure to transform your presence for life.
I am grateful for Echkart because it was listening to him that made me aware that nobody needs to spend 30 years meditating in a monastery anymore.  
We are running out of time.  
Understanding WHAT is we are looking for is key.
And what we are looking for is this:
"The question is no longer how far can I go or what can I achieve, but rather:
how present can I be with what already IS?"
If you can go deeper into this moment (he calls it the "vertical")... if you can feel the worries of the future and the regrets of the past BUT still return to feeling your body... connecting to the nature in you... releasing the addiction to thinking... and accept this NOW in full, as it is, then you are here!
You’ve arrived, here we are. Hola.
The rest takes care of itself.  And yes I know, there are two objections the mind will bring up: 
1- Does that mean I let everyone run over me? I accept everything?  NO! It means you ground yourself in stillness and the place of power within you which means your answer (which can be NO) will be a lot more powerful
and
2.- What do I do when anger takes over me and I can't shake it?  Yes, the pain body... the Incredible Hulk... In that case, we may not be able to release it, we are "possessed" BUT if we are aware that we are possessed, then at least we are not so much in it... we can observe it, we are more conscious, we are moving towards consciousness.
These are some things that blew my mind, literally, this month, as I practiced being NOW HERE:
  • Instead of constantly planning what I am going to say, I really listened and then, when there was a silence, and the inner prompt led me to say things, I let the words flow out of me, from a state of TOTAL presence.
  • This was new to me.
  • I feared doing this a bit because I thought: what if I am offensive? Can you catch the mind there again? The addictive thinking popping up?
  • Well, there was no such thing… Being fully rooted in the now allowed me to say things I did not know I was going to say, never hurtful and sometimes right on… But I only noticed them afterwards…
  • This does not mean I'm enlightened, that is another "concept" made by the mind.  And at times I was NOT present, for example, at times I was taken by the "pain body"...  BUT, being aware that I was taken over by it allowed me to remove myself from situations in which I could potentially hurt others  or try to instigate their pain bodies.
  • It did not always work... Sometimes it does...
  • I was able to be in the practice of yoga asana and pranayama while fully IN ITI felt the skin moving, the breath flowing, the activity of the nostrils, and the muscles engaging. I also paid attention to impulses to try other things like: retentions, or making a video in Spanish, when in the moment.
  • I was able to observe and let go of panic that came to me when an explosion happened in New York City an hour before I was meant to be there, exactly at the 125th train station.
  • When I felt the wave of fear I sat with it.  I felt it instead of going where my "mind" wanted me to go.
  • This had a calming effect AFTER A WHILE.  Feeling it in full was hard, but it was better than numbing it with TV, or mindless conversation, or looking for another active mind to confirm my fears.
BEING IN THE NOW works BECAUSE IT IS THE ONLY REALITY.  
Whatever happens, accepting what is, and feeling it in full, letting go of the pull of addictive thinking is POWERFUL because when we allow space and silence then the right decisions as of what to do appear.
Now, some people are not ready to hear this.
I assume you are, because you are reading.
This is great news.
We are awakening together.


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Trouble Sleeping? Try This Oceanic Yoga Breathing Exercise To A Drum Beat And Drift Off

The exercise is INCREDIBLY POWERFUL and very simple.  Here is the link to YouTube in case it is not showing on your browser.

At our last workshop in the Berkshires of Massachusetts people were so happy with it that they asked me to record it.

I had known the power of it and within my own system, but suddenly having sixty people tell me they LOVED it was a game changer.

They told me the drum and the hypnotic nature of the oceanic breathing,  had left them relaxed, with a calm disposition and ready for bed.



I was finally able to use my brother's studio in Buenos Aires to do the proper recording, with the right sound for the drum, to get the right vibration to shine through, and here it is.

In the first four minutes there is an explanation of what is to happen.

We need to "SOMEWHAT" (as in: don't force it) isolate the three parts of the torso into which we will be breathing, like so:

- Lie down with knees bent (so you don't fall asleep the first time)
- Take a deep breath and relax
- We will breathe in waves, just like the ocean does
- We will isolate breathing first through the abdomen, in and out
- Then through the rib-cabe, in and out
- Then through the ceiling of the chest, in and out

- Then we put it together, taking one long breath divided in 3 parts for the inhale and 3 parts for the exhale, with a pause in between:
   - In with the abdomen, pause
   - In with the ribcage, pause
   - In with the chest, pause

- Hold for 3 counts
  Then
   - Out with the chest, pause
   - Out with the ribcage, pause
   - Out with the abdomen,

And we take one count of rest.
---
I suggest you listen to the first four minutes first so when the DRUM KICKS IN you are ready.

Don't force, don't try to do it perfectly as there is no such thing, just try as best as you can, and use it to go within.

I learned the exercise from a dance teacher, about 20 years ago.  She used yoga breathing techniques and had an incredible effect on her students, her name is Mary Anthony and I believe she still teaches in NYC.

Use the exercise at any time during the day or before going to sleep.  Enjoy!





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