Yoga, simply defined… defining yoga is not all that simple. For some it means a connectedness, an experience of conscious connection to the one ultimate existence that we all share. For others, it is a routine of exercises and stretches that improve the overall quality of their lives.  And for others still, a focus of meditation that leads them to mindful, present conscious awareness. An awareness of our true state of being, that is not negatively impacted by the workings of our often programmed conditioned minds. Researchers believe that yoga has been practiced by humans for 5,000-10,000 years. There is not a single sport on the planet that does not include yoga practices in their preparatory workouts.  Yoga. The mere word has some of us running for cover, just another form of exercise for us to avoid and an athletic ability we cannot obtain. That is all mind stuff. Yoga is simply stretching and moving your body in such a way, throughout your day, bringing health and vitality. Keep in mind, as with anything, there are different levels of yoga. Basically, yoga means stretch. You could try some yoga.

For many, yoga practices are a powerful and useful meditation. A wise Yogi once said, “Every movement is as a statement.”  The practitioner focuses their attention on the pose (stretch), while they observe their stream of thought; bringing their attention back to the pose if their mind pulls them into thinking. The Yogi practices simple yoga moves throughout their day. During everyday tasks, they add a little stretch to their moment, meditating on the sensation of the movement. So often we have a tendency to move uncomfortably, awkwardly with grunts and groans because our bodies are so stiff from lack of motion. Bring some grace into your movements.

A Simple mediation. Throughout your day, here and there, when it comes to mind, bring a little yoga into the moment. As you bend to pick up something or reach up to grab something off the shelf, take the opportunity to add a comfortable stretch to the movement. Allow the stretch to become a momentary focus of meditation, focusing on the sensation while observing your mind. Enhance your moments by bringing in some yoga.  It’s a new day! Your day!

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Inner peace may mean different things to different people. Some may believe that inner peace is different for all of us, which can also make defining inner peace a challenge. For many of us, the desire for inner peace can be clouded by definition or in our inability to possess the knowledge to find such a state of being. For myself, inner peace is a mental state of being not clouded by the repetitive conditioned programmed thinking of my mind. A state of being where my true conscious self is separate from the manipulation of my thought stream. Like too many people, I had a rough start. I was raised in the 1960s during a time where the line between discipline and abuse had not yet been drawn by society and where, in many homes, neglect and victimization was the norm. In too many arenas, it is still the same for many unfortunate children and young people today. As a result of the environment I was raised in, I spent most of my twenties in a state of mental anguish. At the age of 27 I came to the understanding that abusing drugs and alcohol was not the answer for dealing with a tortured mind, and though I was able to accomplish and attain many material things that the world had to offer, I wanted something more, inner peace. After being diagnosed with institutional grade PTSD and several sever forms of depression, I decided to take on the challenge of psychoanalytic therapy. For 13 years, I worked with therapists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and medical doctors to address the disorders that were the result of my upbringing. I included personal studies of psychology and human behavior to add more knowledge in my pursuit of wellness. By the age of 40, as I had always done, I was sharing the knowledge I had gained and my life experience with others with similar situations to my own. Despite my efforts, I could still not separate from the mind of a manic depressive. I could not attain inner peace. My desire for inner peace led me to meditation. Meditation is a practice that separates us from the workings of the conditioned programmed mind and the endless stream of thought. After several months of mediation studies and practice, I began to feel the separation of my true self from the confines and mental torture of my own mind. At that moment a new, although difficult, journey had begun. I spent years of riding the roller-coaster of mental anguish and peace as I continued my struggle to mental freedom. Now, 18 years since my meditation studies commenced, I find myself in a state of conscious presence that allows me to live peacefully with a mind suffering from mental illness. My journey has included sharing my knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of the mind with others to help them attain peace and joy as I have; aiding them in their quest to escape the suffering of the confines of their programmed conditioned minds. I have recently taken my teaching to a new level, carrying myself as a published writer, teaching mediation and sharing the knowledge of the ability for each and every one of us to achieve our natural state of being, which is peace, love and joy.

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