Category: Yoga

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Using the Breath to Uplift Your Energy

The breath is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal for altering negative thought patterns and staying centered in the present moment. Simply taking a moment during the day to close your eyes and breathe deeply makes such a difference in terms of your mood, mindset and even your productivity levels.

There are endless yogic breathing techniques you can try to engage your parasympathetic nervous system and feel more peaceful within minutes. Breathing truly is one of the most effective methods for calming the mind and uplifting your mood, and the best part is that you can seamlessly incorporate these exercises into your day without disrupting your schedule.

To get you started, here are five tips for using the breath to uplift your energy and stay focused:

1. Add a mala to the mix. Using your mala beads during your breathing or meditation practice image3can add a grounding, calming method as it gives you a tangible object to hold onto as you find your zen. All the Tiny Devotions malas make for lovely meditation tools, but the Amethyst Om Mala is especially useful for opening and clearing the mind during your practice.

2. Keep the spine long and erect. While you can choose to lie down during your breathing practice, this often leads to accidental nap time! Instead, try sitting cross legged, propped up on a block or a pillow, with your spine erect, shoulders down and the crown of th
e head leading up towards the sky. This will ensure the energy is flowing freely throughout your body and lead to a more effective practice.

3. Set the mood. While you may be at the office or in a public washroom during your breathing practice, do your best to find or create a space that feels peaceful to you. If you’re at home, light candles and keep elements of nature nearby like crystals, plants or water fixtures. This will help to amplify the healing powers of the breath and really set the tone for your meditation practice.

4. Inhale slowly through the nose for four counts, hold the breath for four counts and exhale for four counts, then try counting each inhale and exhale up to ten. As you focus on counting your inhales and exhales, you’ll find your mind beginning to slow down and the relaxation response kicking in. If you give the mind an occupation other than worrying, fretting or making endless to-do lists, you’ll find yourself feeling more zen in no time.

5. Meditate on the breath. Think about the coolness of the air coming in through your nostrils and the warm air coming out to stay centred during your breathing practice. Or, imagine the breath coming in through the bottom of your feet and leaving through the top of your head as you exhale. You could also imagine the breath as bright, white light travelling through your entire system, cleansing the organs and tissues in your body and bringing peace to your entire being. Get creative and think of a few visualization techniques that work for you to support your practice.

How do you use the breath to uplift your energy? Let us know in the comments below!

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 10.59.47 AMBorn and raised in Toronto, Kenzie is a writer, blogger and yoga teacher. She loves all things beautiful, magical and free-spirited, and she’s passionate about seeking inspiration everywhere.

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Auspicious Encounters

I am in love with people I have not yet encountered and cities I have yet to explore. I am a wanderlust-er down to the bone. And as much as I’m drawn to the other-worldly beauty of mountain ranges, jagged cliffs that tower over the oceans, or cities bursting with art and architecture spanning back centuries, it’s the people that fuel my travels all around the world.

I do not believe in coincidences; I believe that we do not mean anyone by accident. We are meant to cross paths with exactly everyone that we do—no ifs ands or buts. And with my entire being, I believe that everyone we encounter can teach of something if we are open and willing to listen. I can honestly say that every person I have met – that I have gotten to know beyond a simple hello – has contributed to who I am in this very moment in some way, shape, or form.

Reflecting on all the people I’ve gotten to know over the past several years of travels, and throughout my entire life, I can pick out something very specific each person has taught me—whether they were aware of it or not. Some of these things are simple and seemingly small, like how to be a good roommate, how to plunge a toilet, or to smile at strangers when I walk down the street. Other things have been more significant like how to unconditionally love someone else—or myself, for that matter.

There have been people who inspired me to be a better person, and there are people who have shed light on how I don’t want to be. There are individuals who have made small (yet impactful) marks on my life, and there are people who have shaken my shit up. These movers and shakers have forever altered the future I’ve always envisioned for myself and they have transformed the way I fit into this world. A quote by one of my favorite writers perfectly sums all of this up:

“You are going to come across people in your life who will inspire you, love you and change you, and that is a rare thing, but every once in awhile you will come across someone who will completely rob you from your sleep and those are the people who are just too beautiful to put into words.” – R.M. Drake

So, here’s to all the people who have inspired us, loved us and changed us; here’s to being fortunate enough to have had a few of those rare humans who have robbed us of our sleep. And here’s to all those extraordinary humans that have yet to cross our paths. Cheers.

Never stop exploring, TD tribe. Stay curious.

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Jenna is a yoga teacher, writer, and brand builder on a mission to fuel her life with purpose and to explore the world. She was raised in Minnesota but considers Colorado her home away from home. Currently, you can find her in Minneapolis, where she is creating the life she has always dreamed of.

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5 Questions We Asked for #InternationalYogaDay

At Tiny Devotions we’re all about mind, body and soul. We know that yoga plays a huge role for us in maintaining our wellbeing and health. We’re so excited to celebrate #internationalyogaday with you by opening the discussion with some of favourite yogis.

What yoga pose do you do daily? And why?

[Koya Webb] I do pigeon pose daily when I wake up or before bed because it releases emotions, opens my hips and stretches my hamstrings.

[Sophie Jaffe] Every single day I go upside down. It may just be one handstand in the middle of a chaotic afternoon, it may be shoulderstand before bed or it may be a series of headstands and inversions. Going upside down refreshes my perspective, gives me a burst of energy and allows me to get out of my head and into the moment.

[Alexzandra Peters] I have 5 wonderful go-to yoga poses that I do every day and those poses are standing backbend, standing side bend (both sides), forward fold, frog pose, and upward facing dog holding all for 7 breaths or more. I usually do them all first thing in the morning right when I wake up because I love to begin morning with a refreshing start by energizing my spine and entire body.  These five pose not only energize you but they help you release old energy from the day prior and bring new space, openness, happiness and lightness into your entire being.

How do you meditate? (Sitting, app, mala beads, other, etc.)

[Koya Webb] I sit on a meditation cushion and light a candle.

[Sophie Jaffe] I use yogawakeup app (where I have some yoga wakeups recorded!), I use other meditation apps and I also meditate lying down by focusing on my breath.

[Alexzandra Peters] My favorite way to meditate is in a low-lit room, postured on my meditation bench using my Tiny Devotion mala necklace or mala rings.

What has been your most profound moment on the mat?

[Koya Webb] Healing my back and knee injury with yoga and meditation

[Sophie Jaffe] I’ve had many profound moments. Yoga has been my stability throughout the past 15 years. It’s been there for me through some incredibly trying times and has helped me to work inward to fix outward problems. Being pregnant on my yoga mat and facing my new body, a human life inside, experiencing yoga in a whole new way, was probably one of the most profound moments of my life.

[Alexzandra Peters] My most profound moment on my mat was the first time that I felt what letting go feels like. Letting go emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

What is the greatest life challenge yoga has helped you overcome?

[Koya Webb] Yoga helped me realize that I don’t need a gold metal to make a difference in the world

[Sophie Jaffe] Yoga helped me get through a very abusive and toxic relationship with my first boyfriend of 5 years. I found yoga right around when we were ending our relationship. I sobbed tears of fear, tears of enlightenment, tears of strength and epiphany in that time. Yoga was my friend and my mirror during that time, and always.

[Alexzandra Peters] Yoga has helped me overcome the challenge of self-acceptance and fully loving Myself just the way I am, just as I am – flaws and all.

What is the most important wisdom your mentor, teacher or Guru has passed on to you?

[Koya Webb] Chase your wildest dreams

[Alexzandra Peters] A wise teacher of mine was speaking to me about personal growth and this one sentence has been written on my heart even since. “You have to let go, so you can grow.”

 

 

 

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Why Appreciate the Body?

In yoga, the self-reflective question “Who am I?” is often posed as an invocation of personal meditation, or deep contemplation, on the critical query of discovering one’s true Self. It is an invitation for each of us to reflect, in detail, the meaning behind the “I” that we so strongly identify and associate with. Or rather, have mistakenly been conditioned to believe is who we are.

How difficult can it be to answer this 3-worded question?

I am… my name. Am I not?
I am… my nationality; a patriotic representation of my country. Am I not?

I am… this human being that you see and that I, too, see reflected in photographs and the mirror; I am the unique composition of my physical features. I am this body. Am I not?

I am… the voice behind my thoughts; a combination of my intellect, opinions, beliefs, and personality. I, therefore, am my mind. Am I not?

One must not be fooled with the simple sounding nature of this question by responding so simply when recognizing and acknowledging our Self. Then how to begin answering this undoubtedly vital and personally intricate topic?


It is important for one to first differentiate and shed light on this pivotal misconception: You are not this body, you are not the mind. I myself, was not told this differentiation so plainly and clearly until I was sitting in a Vedic philosophy class in Toronto, in 2013 – and how I wish I knew this sooner! Well, I believe as I child I knew, but then as we age we often forget our inherent disposition. But if we are neither the body or mind, who are we? Who am I within the body? And here begins the journey of discovering ourselves as a Spirit Soul.

A Yogic Perspective

Yoga values the science of self-realization. Literally, to bring awareness to one’s Self. In the West, physical yoga is very popular… you may even do it yourself. Did you know that this physical (or Hatha) Yoga is meant to prepare us for long periods of meditation? To use our bodies as a tool to engage in transcendental meditative practice, for self-realization. There are many beautiful ways in which the body can aid us in discovering who we really are. This leads me to what I wished to share today, as it is something I have had a hard time understanding over the course of my own life time: how to view the body as an instrument in facilitating Spiritual growth. But how do we acknowledge we are not the body, yet not consequentially be frustrated with it for ‘containing’ us, this Spirit Soul? I, myself, for many years felt trapped inside my body, angry for feeling limited within it. I quite literally picked my skin as a form of expressing this negative view of my skin encasing me. Of course, only furthering hyper body awareness, which many people experience.

Changing Pain to Appreciation

How to switch my perspective, while remaining respectful to the truth and science of yogic wisdom? That we are Spirit that is not born nor doesn’t die with our bodies. This is what I concluded. The body houses the Soul, gives it opportunity to experience this life and LIVE. Our one of a kind, beautiful body is the physical, material manifestation of our unique Soul. Therefore, our bodies truly are a temple of God (whoever God/Source may be to you).

Appreciating the body, yet not identifying with it, takes practice and patience. It is interesting to observe and feel how we are so closely bound to our attachments, especially regarding the body. As a young girl who was taught from others’ comments to hate her body, I can personally state from experience that revering my body as a ‘temple of God’ was not my idea of fun. Though the perspective of this ancient knowledge has undoubtedly been a source of liberation from the chains I once felt were comprised of this skin.

Celebrating the Body

Let’s talk about meditation-specific ways to appreciate the body. There are countless customs in a myriad of various cultures for how we can adorn and celebrate who we are, where we came from, through using our bodies to glorify our true and authentic selves within. For example, a devotee of Lord Krishna decorates the body with tilaka (sandalwood paste), as a reminder of Krishna, as well as to receive protection from the Lord. For us in the West who are inundated with societal pressures and expectations: instead of causing harm and destruction to the body (guilty), sabotaging it – even if that’s simply by comparing it to others or the initially innocent habit of emotional eating, etc. (again, guilty), or despising it for it not working properly for us as a result of injury or the inescapable course of aging… here is what we CAN do. We can respect and care for it as a residence of God. The Soul lives within the body, as well as the Paramatma, what is translated from Sanskrit to be called the ‘Supersoul’.

The 5 Senses

In addition, we can also employ the different senses our body already has for spiritual advancement. The tongue, for instance, can be used to chant or do mantra meditation, performed on mala beads. Tiny Devotions carries a beautiful variety of mala beads with semi-precious gemstones, created with the highest intentions of healing and peace. Wearing mala beads on your body is a useful and positively helpful method because, of course, you regularly see the mala on yourself, thus it cues you to stop and take time throughout your day to meditate and quiet the mind. They act as a great self-reminder and guide in this way, so that no matter what stress may be accumulating in your day, you can quickly and easily access the mala that is adorning your body – engage the sense of touch, connect with its strength and intrinsic potency – and dive inward. Expanding further with the senses: the nose can smell beautiful incense or candles or essential oils; we can hear scriptures or classes from learned, enlightened beings/Gurus/monks, and so on. I hope these ideas expand your current concepts and make room for new, simple and highly effective techniques you can try out and adopt into your daily life. After all, we are creatures of habit!

We All Seek Connection

To conclude, let us not forget that the word “yoga” means ‘union’, or to ‘connect’. I encourage you to remember as often as you consciously can, that in order to connect our Spirit Souls to that which created us, we must be in union with the manifestations of our Spirit Soul, including our beloved bodies. Our bodies are unique and sacred. Let us set some goals to implement into our personal practice as well as mindfully throughout our days as best as we can from here on, toward treating our bodies as our own best friend and have them assist us, versus deter us, from our inherent disposition of being happy, kind, and free Spirits. I wish this helps you view your body in a mode of goodness, with love and self-respect. You deserve it!

Namaste, With love and light,

MM0602Melinda Michael is an active pursuer of discovering the root of knowledge and the best methods that lead us on paths of discovering eternal happiness (not temporary). It has really been a calling of hers throughout her life to seek the oldest sources on any topic matter, though spirituality, religion, language, culture and history have been of keen interest. She has spent the past 5 years specifically searching and engaging herself in an abundant number of techniques from around the world for meditation (listed below). She has come to find a beautiful harmony between music and meditation, and her favourite activity is playing her harmonium while singing in group Kirtans. Melinda’s mindset is one of determination and resilience for overcoming obstacles, especially out of the throttles of anxiety and depression and chronic digestive disorders. She hopes to share her story and the information she has accumulated over the years from her own, personal journey toward serving others to attain a happy and health mind, body and Spirit.

If anyone is curious about any of the following practices, feel free to reach out. Melinda is happy to guide you as best as she can.

  • Reiki – Melinda is a certified Reiki practitioner and is available for in-person or long distance healing sessions.
  • Mantra Meditation or Chanting
  • Musical Meditation (Kirtan)
  • Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free Nutrition
  • Manifestation
  • Brainwave Optimization
  • EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy, or “Tapping”)
  • NDT (New Decision Therapy)
  • TMS (Trans Magnetic Stimulation)
  • CBT (Cognitive Beahvior Therapy)
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
  • NES Health
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychodrama
  • Bach flower remedies
  • Osteopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Cranial Sacral Therapy
  • Ozone Therapy
  • Colon Hydrotherapy
  • More Meditation Methods, like: The Lester Levenson Love Technique, theHeadless Way by Richard Lang, Direct Inquiry, Noting Meditation, and Group Awareness

Have fun engaging with Melinda on social media!
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Bija Manifestation Meditation: The Seed of Life

Seed of Life

The Seed of Life’s sacred geometry is composed of seven overlapping circles. The number seven channels the powers of the universe and vibrates with the energies of spiritual awakening. Representing cycles and infinite possibilities, it holds a fertile energy which initiates new beginnings.

The Seed of Life ring holds the energy of creation, manifestation, and wholeness. Wearing the pattern reminds us to tap into the extraordinary creation energies that surround us and ignite our inherent manifesting powers.

Tune into your heart’s truest dreams and desires and welcome them to the surface.

Bija Mantra

Bija is the sanskirt word for seed. It represents the origin and cause of all things.

Made up of 7 seed syllabus, the bija mantra holds a highly powerful fertile + creative energy, much like the seed of life itself. Each mantra is also associated with a chakra, and a mudra (hand position). By reciting these mantras and holding the mudras, you can channel the seed energy of creation in order to manifest your hearts truest dreams + desires.

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1. LAM

Root Chakra

Mudra: Thumb to pointer finger

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2. VAM

Sacral Chakra

Mudra: Thumb to middle finger

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3. RAM

Solar Plexus Chakra

Mudra: Thumb to ring finger

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4. YAM

Heart Chakra

Mudra: Thumb to pinky finger

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5. HAM

Throat Chakra

Mudra: Thumb to base of pinky finger

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6. OM

Throat Chakra

Mudra: Hand open

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7. OM (or silence)

Crown Chakra

Mudra: Hand open (or pause)

 


Jamie Diana Yoga Teacher

Jamie Diana is our in house ambassador & inspiration guru. She is a yoga teacher + writer who is dedicated to empowering women to live magically and experience their best lives through yoga, meditation, goddess work, moon manifesting, and natural wellness.