I lit a candle tonight. A small taper with about a 30 minute burn time. I had nothing to hold it so I held it, and sat. My mind immediately went to motherhood. Maybe because we just had my step kids for the last few days, maybe because it's the week of Mother's Day. Either way, I sat and watched the candle and thought about motherhood.
As I watched the flame on the candle flicker, I realized the candle and motherhood are not that different after all. It flickered and pulsed and would almost burn out, but, even in the moments of almost complete darkness it kept a spark. Then the flame would grow and light would fill the room again and all the while the candle kept burning.
My attention was drawn next to the wick, at this point the top of it had started to curl in on it's-self. I became aware that the same thing, the flame, that was burning the wick was what lit up the room around me. That which depleted one part of the candle simultaneously brought brightness. It brought me back to a conversation I had with my 5 year old step-son the other day. It was a tough conversation, emotionally draining, but to this day, one of the best conversations I've ever had with him.
Then I watched the wax, at this point dripping into my hand. BTW, wouldn't recommend. I watched how the wax and the flame interacted and how the longer the candle burned the more the wax changed form. For a split second I though about how in motherhood we can lose ourselves at times, but then realized the wax was not lost. Not at all. It had simply changed forms. It melted and took a new shape down it's side and in my hand where it became solid wax again. I sat with that. This realization that becoming a parent doesn't mean you lose yourself. But there is no question that the process changes you. It melts you, and sometimes burns you, and at other times asks that you harden and be strong.
By the end of the 30 minutes I had a few piles of wax and the very end of the candle in my hands. So I sat with that and all those thoughts. This simple yet profound realization that we can learn and grow and change and it's not always going to be comfortable or easy. But even in the discomfort there is so much beauty. That even though at the end of each day you have changed, you are still yourself. And that, to me, is magic.
Before you begin this intention setting practice, please get a notebook, pen and find a quiet, comfortable place to sit.
We'll start this practice with a meditation, followed by journaling and finish it by creating a mantra to take with you through the new year.
Please find a comfortable seat.
As you fee ready, allow your eyes to close.
Take some deep breaths encouraging your breath to move up and down the length of your spine.
Draw your shoulders blades toward each other onto your back body.
Let your face relax and allow your tongue to fall from the roof of your mouth.
Feel your sit bones root down into the earth and breathe long through your spine.
As you feel ready, start to think about the previous year. Notice what come sup for you.
Don't judge it or try to change it, just notice. Then, as yourself the following questions:
-In general, how did I feel over the last year?
-What were the highs/lows, the good/bad?
-In the previous year was in creation phase for me? What did I manifest in the last year?
-What was in entertainment phase? In full bloom. What was going well?
-What did I let go of last year? What did I allow to dissolve to let something else grow anew?
Acknowledge and honor each one of your answers.
Then you look forward to the upcoming year asking yourself the following questions:
-What feeling(s) do I want to let go of this year?
-What feeling(s) do I want to continue/want more of this year?
-What feeling(s) do I want to create this year?
Acknowledge and honor each one of your answers.
Come back to the feeling you want to create this year and notice where that feeling resides in your body. Place your hands there. Direct the awareness of your breath to where your placed your hands.
Slowly open your eyes allowing the light of the room to come into your vision.
Locate your journal and pen. Stream of Consciousness Journal (continue writing even if you don't know what do write) on the following:
-What are my key learnings from last year?
-This year I want to let go of_____.
-This year I want to continue_____.
-This year I want to manifest/create_____.
-This year I want to feel_____.
Read what you just wrote then sum it up into 1-2 sentences.
Read your summary looking for a word/feeling that stands out. It will likely be closely aligned with your answer to how you want to feel this year. Take that feeling/word and create an "I AM___" statement. This statement with be your mantra for the new year.
Write your I AM statement down on a clean piece of paper and place it where you will regularly come into contact with it so it can remind you.
If you want to infuse your mala with your mantra, second half of the following blog with instruct you through that process.
Hello, and thank you for purchasing a mala making kit from moksa malas! I truly hope you love making your own mala necklace as much as I love making them! Below are three links to YouTube videos detailing how to create your mala. The first two videos introduce your mala making kit and teaches you how to string your beads and knot in between each one of them.
** you will need a small bowl for this video **
The next video brings it all together teaching you how to add your guru bead and tassel.
** you will need scissors, tweezers and a friend to help during this video**
Find and comfortable seat. You can sit however feels comfortable in your body, maybe on your heels or with your legs crossed. If you're sitting with your legs crossed sit on the edge of a folded blanket or pillow to raise your hips above or in line with your knees.
The first step in meditating with your mala is to set an intention for it. There are many different ways to come up with an intention. One option is to create a mantra specific to your mala based on the healing properties of the beads. You can also come up with something unrelated to the beads. Regardless of which option you choose, there are two main questions you must ask yourself when setting your intention:
What am I looking to cultivate in my life right now?
How do I want to feel?
Take few minutes and write down the answers to these questions. You can have multiple answers.
Go through your notes and come up with an I AM intention sentence addressing those two questions. Write down your sentence and it’s to activate your mala!
Once you have your intention, it's time to activate your mala and infuse it with your intention.
To meditate with your mala, hold your mala in your right hand. Starting with the bead to the right of the guru bead, hold the mala between your peace fingers. Thumb resting on top of the mala.
Close your eyes and find your breath. Feel your breath move in and out of your body. When it feels right, start to deepen your breath, allowing your breath to move from your hips all the way up your spine. Breathe like this for a few breaths. When you're ready, recite your intention, out loud or in your head, then use your thumb to pull the mala towards you, counter clockwise. You'll recite your intention for each bead then move onto the next. You may do this as many times as you'd like. If you go all the way around the mala and wish to continue, reverse your mala and go back around the way you came. Take care to not cross over the guru bead.
When you've completed as may cycles as you'd like, come back to a natural breath. Mala resting gently in your hands, eyes softly closed, take in the feeling in the room, the feeling in your body. Hold that space for as long as you'd like. When you're ready to end your meditation, send some gratitude to your mala for assisting you in your meditation. Softly open your eyes moving slowly as you return return to your day.
What is a mala?
Malas are meditation or prayer beads/necklaces typically made of 108 beads plus a Meru bead, also known as guru bead. They are typically made of semi-precious stones, seeds or wood beads. The use and tradition of mala beads dates back thousands of years.
Malas were traditionally used as a tool in mediation to keep count during japa meditations which include repeating mantras. They are still largely utilized in this way today as keeping count helps focus your mind on your meditation practice.
Malas can also be worn as necklaces becoming a beautiful reminder of the intentions you set for them.
There are actually many explanations for why there are 108 beads on a mala! First, there’s said to be 108 energy lines in the body coming together at the heart chakra. 108 is also a sacred number in many religious beliefs. In the Upanishads, 1 represents the higher truth, 0 the spiritual practice and 8 represents infinity or eternity. There are also 108 beads on a rosary. Another explanation lies in the Sanskrit language. There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, each with a masculine and feminine form equaling 108.
How do I choose mala?
You can chose the beads for your mala in a few different ways! If there is something specific in your life you are working on, example... being more grounded, creating more self love, following your intuition, then chose beads that have properties that could assist in that. If you're unsure start by noticing what colors, design or artist are you drawn to and allow that to guide you in your decision. Chances are you are drawn to them for a reason! At the end of the day, what's important is that in some way, you are drawn to the mala you're going to wear or meditate with.
How do I care for my mala?
Store your mala in it’s included mala bag or hang it in a safe place when not in use. Please do not bathe, swim or sleep with your mala or bracelets. Please gently slide your bracelets on and off and avoid excess stretching as the string can break.
How do I cleanse/charge my mala?
To cleanse your mala you may carefully smudge, burn sage or palo santo, near it, or place it on a selenite slab.
To charge your mala leave it in moonlight over night during a full moon. *Please do not leave mala outside if there is any chance of rain.*
For malas I design and hand make visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/moksamalas
This time of year we are so quick to give love away to our significant others, friends and family. Don’t get wrong, this is great! In fact we all probably could do more of this every day, but what about a little TLC for ourselves?
Yoga is about taking time for yourself, to heal, strengthen and nurture you body and mind. So, this week for my group yoga class I decided to hone in on just that, focusing on something I think everyone could use a little more of: self love. I gave my students blank cards (with hearts on them of course) and as they moved through heart and hip openers they got writing prompts. Throughout class each student wrote a little love note to them self. It was amazing to feel how the energy in the room changed as class went on. One student even left their card for me so I got to read it. Amazing stuff!
After class I thought it would be fun to share this practice with more people, because really, who doesn't need a little more self love? So, I came up with this meditation as a way for anyone to experience this exercise at home. Enjoy!
Gather a pen and paper and find and comfortable seat. If you're sitting with your legs crossed sit on the edge of a folded blanket or pillow to raise your hips above or in line with your knees.
Close your eyes and find your breath. Feel your breath move in and out of your body. When it feels right, start to deepen your breath, breathing down into your low belly and back, ribs and middle back and finally heart space and shoulder blades. Breathe like this for a few minutes.
Allow the following thoughts to come to your mind. You may answer as many of them as you'd like and of course can write down more than one answer.
Self, thank you for__________.
I am proud of you for__________.
I forgive you for __________.
Today I let go of __________ limiting thought/belief about myself.
I love you because __________.
Lastly, create a short affirmation or mantra for yourself. This can be something you say out loud to yourself or something you repeat in your mind. I've included some examples below.
Sit with each thought you would like to answer. As an answer comes to you write it down in the form of a complete sentence. Finish one thought at a time, coming back to your breath before moving onto the next. Once you have completed the thoughts sit with your breath. Bring you hands to Anjali mudra, prayer hands, thumbs pressing lightly against your sternum. Out loud or in your mind repeat your affirmation three times.
I love you.
I accept love.
I own my power.
I am grateful for all the love in my life.
I deserve love.
I am open to love.
I forgive myself.
I am wanted and loved.
I accept myself as I am.
Given that it’s a new year and I am a new teacher at a studio here in Texas, I thought this would be a great opportunity to spend a few weeks taking things back to the basics of my teaching roots. The studio I teach at has teachers from a variety of different backgrounds, but I am the only one with a background in Anusara. So, I figured what better way to start than spending some time on the Universal Principles of Alignment. Last week I talked about the first principle which is Open to Grace.
I’ve been practicing Anusara yoga for about seven years and teaching on and off for the last five. Over this time I have found my relationship with Open to Grace has been morphed, molded and at times turned upside-down. In preparing for this class I took some time to really think about what Open to Grace means to me now and what it’s meant to me over the years. In my soul searching I found a whole list of what Open to Grace means, but what I found most relevant in my life right now acceptance for what is. Not only accepting what is but also acknowledging and accepting that only I have the power to make the most of it. I have the choice to turn to fear or to love and gratitude.
Over the past year I have gone through a series of pretty radical changes in my life including moving from Utah to Texas and ending a five year career in finance. While all these changes have been empowering and amazing learning experiences, change is still tough whether you were ready for it or not. One thing I have found in this transition is it’s easy for me to go to fear and to not accept what is. Fear of getting off to a slow start, of failing, fear of not being good enough, or not knowing the right thing to say and my personal favorite; fear of looking/sounding stupid. Even as I am writing this post I find feelings of fear creeping up.
It's during these times I have to pause. Take a deep breath. Let it out. And remember what I've heard my teacher Tiffany Wood again and again, "you may not be in control, but you are always in charge."
The power to make the most of the moment you are in resides within you and only within you. Opening up to this knowing and accepting your power is Opening to Grace.
Hi, I'm Karissa, thanks for being here! I love the outdoors and all things crystals! I am a dog and plant mama, step mom and wife. I make mala necklaces and teach toga. I've been practicing yoga for over 10 years and am excited to teach and share my passion for crystals and yoga with you.