Tag Archives: namaste

Kindness – It Does Your Body Good

Helping the homelessI remember being told to be kind as a kid, primarily as it related to how I treated any of my five siblings. I was thinking about this again this week while watching how little kindness there seems to be in the news. Between political battles of ideology, fighting for land, arguing over resources and fighting over egos, we have forgotten how to be kind. “Be kind for everyone you meet is fight a hard battle,” is a quote attributed to Plato. Regardless who said it, its message rings true now more then ever. What would it take for us to be more intentionally kind? And, how would our world change we did?

To me, the word Namaste says it all – “may the divine in me acknowledge the divine in you.” May whatever is great in me focus on seeing the greatness in you – even if I don’t know you. And if I did, I would be kinder. If I did, I would be more generous, more loving and more forgiving. I would see the greatness in you, trying to express your inner divinity. “We must find out for ourself that inside us is a god or goddess in embryo that wants to be born so we can express our divinity,” says Deepak Chopra in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.

Here is an exercise I regularly use for myself and as a challenge I share with my audiences. The next time you are on the highway and someone cuts you off, or you are in line and someone steps ahead of you, how will you make a point of seeing their greatness and their divinity instead of feeling offended? How will you see them as related to you, part of you and part of a greater plan? It isn’t easy because we have been trained to focus on ourselves more than on others. We feel violated, slighted or insulted. But it doesn’t have to be this way – our reaction to this is our choice. As we can choose to be unkind, we could also choose to be kind.

Changing a habit takes intention. To change a habit of focusing first on us takes the intention of wanting it to be different and committing to make the change. The starting point is awareness. We have to be able to see when we are kind and not kind. We have to be present enough to see ourselves in action – to notice our triggers and be aware of our responses. Only then will we be able to stop the “go-to” reaction of selfishness and retaliation, and instead see that we have a choice. That choice could include kindness. In the example of the car cutting you off on the highway, it could mean not blaring the horn and passing a gesture, but instead slowing down, letting the other car in and be entirely unaffected by the event. This is a choice.

The most amazing thing about being kind, is the greatest benefit is not for the other person; it is actually for you. The more unkind we are, the more damage we inflict on ourselves. I was coaching a client this week who is getting ready to leave an employer for some unfair and unprofessional things the employer did. This employee has the ability to “stick it” to his employer; be upset, carry a grudge and bad-mouth his employer. Or, he can realize that in a win-win termination solution, the employee can choose to not be at the effect of the situation, but actually choose to show up kinder, more aware and more committed to greatness. He can choose a mutually beneficial response that treats both sides kindly and professionally. He took the higher ground. His mood, health and spirit were left intact from the event. Kindness, it does a body good.

In what ways can you be more intentionally kind today, this week and this month? Feel the effects of it. See the effects of it. Though kindness does a body good, it also can do a planet good. Choose kindness.

Better Breathing for a Better Life (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 1.33.10 PMWhen you find yourself in a situation where you get stressed, frightened or caught off guard, what’s the best thing to do?

Scream? Sometimes. : )

But seriously, what did mom or grandma or your loved one tell you to do?

Breathe.

Yes, it’s as simple as that.

But time and time again, while walking around the streets of San Francisco (and while being in the car with certain eh hem, friends with road rage) I witness screaming and feel their blood boiling. What good does that do?

I try to make it a practice to breathe deeply every morning.

Here’s how:

I love filling up my lungs and expunging all the air and imagining my lungs deflating like a balloon. I do this almost every morning with a 20-30 minute yoga routine.

I’m an early riser, so I like to take in the stillness of the morning silence with a meditation practice. People may get freaked out and discouraged about “not knowing how to meditate.” The truth is, there isn’t a “right way” to meditate. Simple focus on your breath, deep breath in…deep breath out.

Other times when I’m running and gunning, I just take three quick deep breaths. If you’re over-programmed like me and have a busy schedule, set a reminder on your phone to go off three times a day to remind you to breathe.

Here’s a video I made for you that will help you focus on your breathing. This is what I usually see on my morning run at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Breathe in when the waves come toward the shore. Breathe all the way out when the waves recede. It’s only a minute long, but the effects are long lasting.

Enjoy!

Feel better?

According to Men’s Journal, here are some stats about how deep breathing can be aaah-so-good for your health:

Relax: Breathing is an “accurate and honest barometer” of a person’s emotional state. Train your breathing to maintain your calm and lower stress levels.

Maximize Potential: The average person uses just 50 to 60 percent of his lung capacity. Breath training expands the lungs, and better oxygen intake means higher athletic performance.

Improve Health: Research suggests that developing proper breathing habits can play a role in treating conditions like asthma, acute bronchitis, ADHD and sleep apnea.

Don’t we all feel better after taking a few deep breaths? The next time you feel your panties or boxer briefs getting in a bunch, smile and relax (those butt cheeks). Namaste!

What other breathing exercises help you get through your day? If you follow our @goinspirego Instagram feed, you’ll notice that I often post pictures of beautiful cityscapes and snapshots of nature. Surprisingly, many people tell me the pictures remind them to slow down, be present and breathe. I’d love to hear/see what inspires you to breathe. Please share in the comments below.

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Tornadoes, Bombings, and Kidnappings – Making Sense Out of Tragedies (Part 1)

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 3.58.18 PMIn what seems to be a period of an unprecedented amount of tragedies, we ask what is happening with our planet and with the people in our world? Tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and super storms; bombings, kidnapping, civil wars, battles over land and beliefs, and centuries’ old sectarian violence is all we hear about. Today’s news seems to report crisis after catastrophe after calamity. Why do these tragedies happen and what sense can we make out of them?

What if tragedies were the interruption in our lives to get us out of our mindless approach to our days – to be “shocked” into being greater, more compassionate, more creative, and wiser? What if the reason for tragedies were to force us to learn to reconnect with others as each important and valuable, and to use our collective genius to learn how to live better and more safely on our changing planet?

In a closer review, it seems this string of tragedies is centered on two areas – our planet and our humanity. Perhaps by looking at each, we can start to make sense of why these events happen and determine if there is anything we can do about them. Let’s start with a look at the planet.

Our planet is alive. It is constantly shifting, growing, and regenerating. Earthquakes are the natural process of the collision of shifting tectonic plates and the bringing up of new materials from deep in the earth to feed the surface. Hurricanes are the natural reaction of changes in our atmosphere whose winds clean and reconfigure the face of the land. Their rains replenish all life forms throughout all ecological systems. Violent tornadoes are the intersection of cold and warm fronts, influenced by topography and geography.

My personal perspective is there is no intentionality or malice in these events; these are not curses or punishments. They, instead, are the natural cycle of life of our living and changing planet. These events have existed on our planet long before mankind inhabited this blue and green ball. As we live along fault lines, in areas lower than sea level, along riverbanks, on flat windy plains, and along the coasts, we put ourselves in nature’s way. Nature does what it does to sustain itself, regardless of where we live, shop, attend school, or work. Though beautiful, nature can also be violent. Tragedies happen when these planet life-events collide with where humans live and work. But the solution to living in a vibrant and thriving planet is directly connected to the second focus in this discussion of tragedy – people.

In addition to our collision with our planet, we are also in collision with people. Wars, conflicts, bombings, genocide, kidnapping, assaults, and rapes happen because we are colliding with cultures, values, beliefs, and traditions. In these collisions, we have forgotten that each of us is intrinsically great, special, unique, and divinely created. In conflict, we do not consider others as equally important, valuable, or as great as ourselves. We lose the understanding that we are a collection of people – all uniquely gifted and capable of not only solving the issues we have with each other to eliminate personal tragedies, but by using our intellect and gifts to discover how to live on our evolving planet.

I am reminded of the message in the Hindu greeting Namaste – “may the divine in me acknowledge the divine in you.” Science, religion, and philosophy rarely agree. But they do agree on this one thing – there is an element of greatness or divinity in each of us, evidenced by the uniqueness of our talents, strengths and passions. Reconsidering this inherent value in everyone and living with the respect and appreciation for the true greatness in others, not only can reduce the collision of people, but can be used to resolve the collisions of people with the planet.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Love is All There Is

love is in the air, love is everywereValentine’s Day has us all thinking about love. We can’t escape the ads, the decorations in the stores, the promises of chocolates and roses at every point of purchase. We get caught up in the celebration and romance of this holiday. And yet, we know that there is much more to love than cards and candy.

Love is all there is.

Really. There’s nothing else. It’s what we’re made of. It’s what we live for. It’s who we are.

Love is at the source of all creation. It’s something we all strive to understand, and that we all have in common. It’s what connects us.

Love is our greatest teacher. It is so big, so all-encompassing, that individually we could study it throughout our entire lifetime, and as a society we have studied it throughout the ages. We can learn about love, we can learn from love, we can learn to love.

Bhakti Yoga is the Path of Love. Bhakti Yoga teaches us to love everything, and everyone, because all of it is divine. Each small thing is a part of the greater whole, and that whole is divine. So when we practice Bhakti we experience the feeling of love in the recognition of divinity, with everything we come across.

We experience love the most profoundly through our relationships. Although there is only one love, love is expressed in many different ways. There have been sonnets and songs written about love throughout the ages, yet it is still difficult for us to define because it is so vast. The Indian sages have come up with terms to help us understand some of the many aspects of love.

Santa: Santa is peaceful, calm, and slow. This is a love we might feel for ourselves. It is gentle, steady, and natural.

Dasya: Dasya is the love that we might feel towards a teacher, a mentor, someone we respect and want to serve.

Sakhya: Sakhya is the love we feel for a dear friend. In friendship there is a kind of equality, a give and take, an exchange of feelings, a sharing of our selves.

Vatsalya: Vatsalya is the love that a parent feels for a child. A baby is so innocent and we can’t help but to want to give love to that child, without demands or expectations for anything in return. Children are pure, and completely lovable. We recognize this without hesitation.

Madhura: Madhura is the love of our beloved. This is the “in love” feeling when we are swept off our feet, blissful, devoted, and intense.

Bhakti Yoga continually reminds us to “Love the Highest.” When we find ourselves infatuated with our jobs, our cars, any material thing, Bhakti tells us that we are misguided. When all of our human desire for what is new, fun, novel or beautiful is instead directed towards love, we then experience the greatest delight.

In our human experience, love is not all hearts and flowers. Sometimes it’s messy, it can be complicated, and it can hurt. Love itself is pure, simple, and perfect – but we tend to muddy it up with our humanity. We question, we expect, we desire, we need. And in our attempts to understand we come up with definitions, we analyze, we discuss and then we filter all of this through our past experiences to come up with what we think love should be, would be, could be. And every one of us is doing the same thing, with oftentimes very different results. Jealousy, temptation, broken hearts and bitter break-ups are the inspiration for many songs and screenplays.

But the basic truth is that love is. It just is. Love is beyond definition, beyond space and time, beyond any relationship. Love is a true constant in this world. It does not need to be created, it is always here, it has always been here, and it always will be here. We have only to know this to notice it. Eyes open, mind open, heart open, love is available to us in all of its myriad forms, essential simplicity and spectacular glory.

“Namaste” is a Sanskrit greeting that means: “The Divine in me recognizes and honors the Divine in you.” That recognition of the Divine is Bhakti, or love. On Valentine’s Day, and every day, let’s try to practice Bhakti a little more often. Not just with our Valentines, but also with everyone we meet. Let’s love the highest, starting with our selves. This is where we start. This is where the seed is planted, where love can grow, and thrive, and blossom within each one of us into a delightful bounty that can be shared. We can feed our souls on this banquet of love. No one need go hungry.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Namaste!

Namaste Like You’ve Never Heard it Before

Namaste is a common greeting in the yoga community. Yoga studios are named after it, classes are often sealed with it at the end of a practice, and it’s a common salutation in India. The everyday use of it sometimes relegates it to the level of Hello or Goodbye.

This is not the case.

Not only does Namaste carry a powerful meaning when said, it also carries a powerful meaning when lived. It’s entirely possible to live our words. To live our Namaste. When we choose to see the light in the “other” person, and let our actions stem from that conscious seed, we begin to live our Namaste. We begin to live our words.

This is how change happens.

Take 2 minutes and listen to Pastor Eddie D. Smith on the meaning of Namaste. It’s a powerful reminder to live our words.

MLK Day:Namaste- The Dream Lives on in Us

   MLK Day for me is a day off with purpose. My family and I will attend one of the many public functions and listen to the " I Have A Dream" speech. I am inspired each time I here it. The one part of this speech that resonants with me talks about  judging people by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. I have received this as a call to action, to behold and respect the divine light in others.  We take stock of the status of "The Dream" around this time.  Has Dr. King’s dream been realized? Is His dream still alive?  Certainly equality in access to resources and opportunities has improved since the March on Washington. We still have a long way to go to acheive a completely level playing field. Even with Obama in the White House.

   Dr. King’s dream can not be measured by external appearances. His dream is realized by our ability to behold and respect the divine light in all humanity. In spite of the visable advancements in race relations and social equality, we still must mature spiritually  to be able to consistently welcome and respect the divine light in each other. 

Dr. King’s message of human dignity  and respect of person will be relevent from age to age. As we honor his memory and celebrate the beauty of his legacy, let us remember his loving courage and commit to Namaste- beholding the spirit, the divine light in all whom we come into contact .

Namaste

Namaste


Namaste – Respectfully

N representing Nobleness

 

A representing Acceptance

 

M representing Modesty

 

A representing Admirability

 

S representing Sincerity

 

T representing Thankfulness


 

Namaste – Divinity – Respectfully

One of the respective representations of Namaste is seeking to respectfully refer to the prevalence of the divinity that dwells within each and everyone of us amazingly; God Bless

Namaste – Greeting – Respectfully

Namaste is a respectful greeting that is represented by folding the hands together in extending a humble welcome; God Bless

Namaste – Meditation – Respectfully

Namaste is also respectfully represented by closing the eyes; bowing one’s head in reverence gracefully accompanied by the folding of one’s palms together; this is a meditative posture; God Bless

Namaste – Honouring – Respectfully

Namaste is also respectfully representing the bowing with reverence to one another’s true nature; one another’s trueselves; God Bless

Namaste – Honouring – Respectfully

Namaste is also respectfully representing the bowing with reverence to one another’s true nature; one another’s trueselves; the truth along with the love and light; God Bless

Namaste – Ego – Respectfully

Namaste is also respectfully representing the effortless dissolution of the ego whereby one is humbly acknowledging the divinity in one another and affirmatively being aware of the truth that when we leave the Universal realm after completion of our earthly sojourn we take nothing along with us; God Bless

Namaste – Honouring – Respectfully

Namaste is also respectfully representing the bowing with reverence to one another’s true nature; one another’s trueselves; the truth along with the love and light; God Bless

Namaste – Minds – Respectfully

Namaste is also respectfully representing the alignment of one another’s minds respectfully; This humble collaboration expresses the brilliance of the attitude of gratitude which encompasses the potential divinity of each person seeking to align themselves with the Cosmic Consciousness respectively; God Bless

Namaste – Contribute – Respectfully

This is the potential divinity of each person seeking to know how they could contribute their goodness for the happiness, development and welfare of the Universe as one healthy and happy family always, God Bless

Namaste – Discover – Respectfully

In search of our trueselves, we discover the Truth; In search for the Truth, we discover Love; In search of Love, we discover God; God is Love; God is the divine essence; God Bless

Namaste – Appearances – Respectfully

God appears in different forms; God shines as the Soul in different bodies; God makes every form that God creates to shine forth with God’s divine illusion; God is the embodiment of Knowledge and Wisdom; God Bless

Namaste – True Nature – Respectfully

The above humbly seeks to inspire us to recognize and experience our True Nature; our Trueselves; God Bless

 

Namaste – Wisdom – Respectfully

Let us seek to awaken our inner wisdom – our higher consciousness; be more aware of conscious; let us seek to develop our intuition; God Bless

 

Namaste – Intuition – Respectfully

Intuition is our inner guidance and compass of life; Intuition is the wisdom of the Soul; God Bless

 

Namaste – God Bless – Respectfully

May the Universe be Blessed with a Vision of Good Health, Happiness, Peace; Inspiration; Joy; Love; Meaningfulness; Purposefulness; Respectfulness; Responsibleness; Trust; Prosperity, Progress and Wisdom always; God Bless

 

Namaste, Love and Light, God Bless;

Vashi

 

©2009 Vashi Ram Chandi

 

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” Jai Ho” Victory to Thee : Meaning & Historical Perspective

 

                                         “ JAI HO”(Victory to Thee):  Meaning & Historical  Perspective

 
 
“Jai Ho!”is a ‘Hindi ‘(national language of India) word, which is commonly used by intellectual people/’Sadus’/poets/Pandits, and  others  in an amusing way to wish or greet each  with affection and regard,with a hidden meaning that that we respect and love what ever you are doing and may you succeed(‘Victory to thee’ )in what ever you are doing.To some, ‘Jai Ho’ itself is very uplifting and affirming term ,Within it, that which one seek is supposed to be istantly accomplished. This word is derived from Sanskrit (ancient, highly intellectual level language) word "JAYATU BHAVA!"(May you Succed!). Jai Ho is very common word , used by people of ‘HINDI ‘speaking belt(M.p.,U.P., Rajsthan,Bihar and New Delhi,etc).
 
As far as using exclamation mark, the purpose is to indicate that it is being said with strong feeling(from heart) and in a loud voice .As exclamation means:An exclamation mark or exclamation point is a punctuation mark: ! It is usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume, and often marks the end of a sentence

 
This Indian slogan or gesture – “ Jai Ho”,  has suddenly become popular and important globally next to “NAMASTE’ (made popular through YOGA).Recent  popularity of Jai Ho! ,has come with the popularity of Oscar winning Movie-‘ Slumdog Millionaire’ and its songs.  The English translation of few lines of that song is as follows:
 
Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)
Aaja Aaja  Jind Shamiyane Ke Tale
(Come come below the decorated tent of life)
Aaja Jariwale Nile Aasman Ke Tale
(Come below blue sky decorated with ‘jari’ threads)
Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho, Jai Ho
(Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee, Victory to thee)”.
 
However if we go in to the History of the usage of this word -”Jai Ho”in India we find that this was popularly used in even during British Raj days.  The  national anthem(Qaumi Tarana)Subh Sukh Chain’ of ‘ The Indian National Army (INA)’ or Azad Hind Fauj (Hindi: ????? ????? ????) of Subhas chandra Bose (formed  in 1942 in Southeast Asia during World War II),  contained these words as score, which was very popular during Indian freedom movement throughout the country. The score for that song is now also used for the present day national anthem of India, -‘Jana Gana Mana’ written by Rabindranath Tagore. First stanzas of both the national anthems are given for to see the use of the word “Jai Ho” in both:

  *National anthem(Qaumi Tarana)’ -Subh Sukh Chain’ of ‘ The Indian National Army (INA)’ or ‘Azad Hind Fauj’,First stanza Only:

 First stanza–
Subh sukh chain ki barkha barse,
Bharat bhaag hai jaaga.
Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha,
Dravid, Utkal, Banga,
Chanchal sagar, Vindh, Himaalay,
Neela Jamuna, Ganga.
Tere nit gun gaayen,
Tujh se jivan paayen,
Har tan paaye asha.
Suraj ban kar jag par chamke,
Bharat naam subhaga,
Jai ho, jai ho, jai ho,
Jai, jai, jai, jai ho.
 
 
*Rabindro nath Tagore, when wrote –‘Jan-gan Man’ song  for National Anthum , he changed Jai ho to Jai hey!
 
Jana gana mana adhinayaka jaya he
Bharata bhagya Vidhata
Panjaba Sindh Gujarata Maratha
Dravida Utkala Vanga
Vindhya Himachala Yamuna Ganga
Ucchala jaladhi taranga
Tava shubha name jage
Tava shubha ashisha mage
Gaye tava jaya gatha
Jana gana mangala daayaka jaya he
Bharat bhagya Vidhata
Jaya he jaya he jaya hey
Jaya jaya jaya jaya hey!
 

Why Not a Pro-Peace Vow?

Question for Deepak:

I attended your talk tonight at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. You may or may not remember, but as you were signing copies of Jesus I was the one who asked you why you don’t make it a "pro-peace" vow instead of a "non-violence" vow. Wouldn’t a "doing" action be better than a "not-doing" action? Additionally, wouldn’t such a vow potentially lead to an attachment?  I very much enjoyed your talk tonight and look forward to learning more.

 
Answer from Deepak:
The vow of non-violence is a vow of peace. It amounts to the same thing. Whatever language one chooses there are certain pitfalls associated with it. As we know, people have tried to justify war and violence in the name of peace as well. I see the vow of non-violence in terms of the Sanskrit word Ahimsa, which is anactive interaction with others and nature on the basis of the spiritual unity which connects us all. So non-violence is not passive, but active in a nurturing way. Ahimsa describes behavior that respects and supports all who are involved. It assumes a universality the way that the greeting namaste recognizes the divinity in others is the same as the divinity within us.
 
When we see, feel and know that consciousness that we are all a part of, then becoming a peacemaker comes naturally, and compassion, joyfulness, and friendliness towards others is just an expression of who we are.
Love,
Deepak

My First Blog Post: 8 Things About Me







Writing my first blog for Intent has got me thinking about introductions.  How we explain who we are.  If we know who we are?  How we try to know who we are.  And then of course how we try to figure out who somebody else is.

 To me it’s all mysterious and fascinating.   Maybe it is to you as well? 

In yoga we say Namaste as an introduction, which means the light in me salutes the light in you.  More on that soon. 

 Here are a few introductory tries for now:

1.  Nice to meet you.   My name is Eva. 

2.  Hello.  For breakfast, I ate a vegan sandwich that I bought because it was the only one left at the bakery.  But it was really good! 

3.  Hi.  I teach yoga. 

4.  Hello.  I’m 35 years old.  I have brown hair, brown eyes and a big smile.

5.  Hey.   I just bought a huge coffee table that is way too big for my apartment.  It looks Grecian and I can’t wait to pile it with pita bread and olives and olive oil too.

6.  Hi.  I live in Brooklyn, New York.  I love Brooklyn!

7.  Hello.  I weigh 125 lbs on a good day, 129 lbs on a more difficult one.

8.  Hi, I’m Eva and I ride a bicycle almost everywhere.  I call it the little goat.

Maybe this gives you an idea of who I am?   The nutty thing is that in yoga philosophy, they (whoever they are!) would say that none of this is really me.  They would say that I am (and you are too!) only that which never changes. 

 All of this stuff changes, just see:

 1.  I can change my name.  I did, when I was in kindergarten.  I swapped names with Cynthia Richardson.

2.  I went through an almond butter and banana breakfast phase, but that one is over.

3.  I am not always teaching yoga.  Today, I went to the flea market and ate cheesecake.

4.  I will be 36 next year.  And when I was 19 I dyed my hair red (it looked terrible).   

5.  I can sell the coffee table and eat French fries on a countertop. 

6.   I think about moving, often.  Oh, Brooklyn….

7.   Like I said, 125 lbs, 126, 128, 131 (noooo!!!!)

8.   I can stop riding my bicycle.  (But I won’t!  I really love the little goat.)

 Ancient yogis (& modern ones too!) say that we are the witnesses of all this change.

That much makes sense to me.   Usually.
Where it gets a little more intense, interesting, and hard to understand, is that what doesn’t change in me is the same as what doesn’t change in you. 

Namaste.   The light in me salutes the light in you. 

Or what doesn’t change in me recognizes what doesn’t change in you.  It’s like saying that at the deepest possible level we are all one.   We are the same thing.  The same ocean of light.

 

 

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