inspiration, Relationships, Travel, Yoga

Sages, Sadhus, Scientists, & Householders: Yoga, a path for all people.

Where one studies Yoga can make all the difference of whether their practice becomes a meaningful way of life or a momentary fashion.

Traditional Yoga is passed down from teacher to student in communities called ashrams. Through practicing together, with a knowledgeable guide, all the aspects of Yoga from the diet to the mindful awareness, we start to experience a transformation in our health and consciousness. 

Being from a lineage is not about indoctrination. In many traditional schools it is encouraged to express your doubts. None of my teachers call themselves Gurus, even though in a traditional sense, that is exactly what they are.

All of my teachers simply give thanks to their teachers before them who passed down the knowledge. Yogis are the wisdom keepers of the ancient knowledge of Yoga. Being a part of a lineage means we honor the knowledge & the wisdom keepers who have made it their life’s mission to better humanity through passing down the knowledge of Yoga.

A teacher can be a sage (wise person), a sadhu (holy man in India), or a scientist who methodologically studies the effects of Yoga on the mind, body and spiritual evolution. A teacher can be a householder, or a traveler. A teacher can be anyone who shares some insight with you. Teachers range in experience, age, and constitution. Finding the right teacher for you is just as important as the teachings.

In the lineage I have been taught, the sage, the sadhu and the scientist are all present. My teachers are also householders who have been attributed to Yoga’s modern revival in India. To meet them, follow me on this journey through time to the bank of a river in India in the 1800’s.

The lineage begins with a man whose devotion to social service led him to renounce the material world, & follow the path of Yoga. Paramahamsa Madhavadasaji traveled by foot as a sadhu (monk) for 70 years gaining knowledge of practical Yoga for the development of spiritual consciousness before settling at the age of 80 by a river bank in Gujarat. Many followers gathered by the river bank to learn and live in community with this great Yogi.

Paramahamsa Madhavadasaji was said to have mystical powers of healing, but for a young educated, scientific man like Yogendraji (his eventual disciple), the lure of sadhus and mystics singing in the forest came with great skepticism. However, for a lineage to be passed down, there must be a genuine student. Luckily, the spark of curiosity turns even the most skeptic among us into seekers. This spark, and deep inner knowing, brought the Great Yogi and the Scientist to meet, and the relationship of Guru and Disciple formed.

 This is what it means to be a part of a lineage, to know that it is not I alone who walks the path. We have great sages & even scientists to light the way. Yoga is scientific, and scientifically proven to heal certain ailments and bring peace to the mind. Shri Yogendraji, the disciple, would be the first to found an organized school for learning Yoga in India, and deliver the practice with scientific benefits as the primary purpose .

Shri Yogendraji passed his school on to his son Dr. Jayadeva and his wife Hansaji. It was through their devotion to Yoga, India saw a resurgence in the practical uses of Yoga for householders. No longer did we need to roam barefoot to the jungles to receive the knowledge.

This is the story of the effect we have on each other & on humanity, and how the teachings of one man sitting cross legged by the river bank over 200 years ago has lead me to the tropics, to study Yoga under sweeping vines, in an Ashram in Thailand.

Jeenal in the center with her students in 2018

My direct teacher Jeenal Mehta, was taught by Dr. Jayadeva and Hansaji at The Yoga Institute in Mumbai India. She received certifications in Yoga Therapy with medical specifics to aid folks with asthma, obesity, back problems and other ailments, before receiving the blessing from her teachers to open her own school in the north of Thailand.

This is how Wise Living Yoga Academy was born, through a trusted lineage.

Knowing that the Yoga I am practicing has come from a legitimate place, studied with care and devotion, and passed down with the blessings from genuine teachers, helps me to walk forward with ease. I know that my intuition has guided me to a wholesome, authentic place. I know I can trust the knowledge because it is the same knowledge that has stood the test of time.

Before modern science there was Yoga. Modern science & technology offers us increased proof of the benefits and effects Yoga has on our health, & happiness. 

Following the lineage to the present moment, as I sit under a mango tree understanding a journey walked through many lifetimes, I give gratitude for this moment, and all that has transpired to make this moment the gift that it is, full of the essence of Yoga.

Beatrice, Jeenal, our teacher & me at Wise Living Yoga Academy

If you would like to make Yoga your lifestyle and share in a community experience of learning and transformation, I can only recommend Wise Living Yoga Academy. This school has provided me with the foundation for understanding what Yoga really is, and how Yoga is not contained in one place or period of time, but that Yoga is universal and can be the remedy for our modern anxieties. 

Wise Living Yoga Academy offers month long immersion courses to experience a traditional Yoga lifestyle. Imparting Hatha Yoga principles and traditional Yoga philosophy one can experience an inner transformation. All graduates of the program are certified and qualified to teach Yoga globally, accredited by Yoga Alliance in the US, The Board of International Yoga, as well as accredited by The Yoga Institute, the world’s oldest organized Yoga school.

For more information, please Visit 

www.wiselivingyoga.com

Contact me with any questions about this school and my experience and I can help get you registered:  christina.theleelaproject@gmail.com

www.freeyourcreativity.org

Chakra, inspiration, Relationships, sound healing

The roots of love. How to Find Connection and Call in Your Tribe.

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We as people desire connection. It’s in our DNA. No matter our current life circumstance, at each and every core of a human, we desire to be recognized through the eyes of the community. Since people started doing the people thing, we’ve been gathering in groups, weaving stories, working towards common goals, making love, and sharing song within a community setting.

Cross culturally, people do these things differently, and yet, we do them together. Humans evolved in tribes, and while our current societies don’t resemble the tribes of old, we are still rooted in a tribal connection. Our desire to belong, and our questions of what we are all doing here together remain at the foundation of human experience.

You can tell in the way we so easily segregate ourselves by sports teams, job titles, & political affiliation. We desire to belong so deeply we are often willing to put ourselves in boxes without even knowing what exactly the box contains, just that we are recognized in the eyes of the community. If you begin to start to think outside of the box, as they say, you can come to creatively discover what a tribal connection means to you.

It is your divine right to be here now. Your body is the vehicle to reach depths of physical, spiritual & tribal connection. Just like you cannot separate the droplet from the ocean, you cannot separate your energy body from the physical body. Yoga philosophy defines these aspects of the self more as layers or koshas going from dense to subtle. Going from your physical body to your deep bliss body.

At the energetic level, or pranamaya kosha, lies the chakras. These energetic points along the midline of the body, act as portals for which energy flows.

There are 7 major chakras, and each chakra has characteristics that manifest in your life through thoughts, emotions and behaviors. These 3 expressions form your personality and essentially how you connect with the world around you, & how you relate to your tribe.

Each chakra has the potential to be blocked, over active, or balanced. You can notice when a chakra is out of balance, by how the problems in your life manifest. Our problems act as little arrows pointing back to the self, revealing where in your energy body you may be experiencing disharmony. Paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, behaviors as well as external problems, is like a little road map to healing. When we feel whole and healed, we are more available to connection with the the world around us, and call in a tribe that we vibe with.

When you discover which aspects of yourself feel out of tune, you can practice mantras to bring that chakra, & thier characteristic manifestations back into balance.

Each chakra has a seed mantra or Bija mantra associated with it. We discuss Bija mantras in more detail in my last post here.

The chakra that is most closely related to a tribal connection and our beginning stages of a spiritual practice is the root chakra or muladhara chakra. This chakra’s Bija Mantra is LAM.

The root chakra or Muladhara chakra is located at the base of the spine and is the seat of spiritual energy called Kundalini. This chakra represents our sense of security, connection to others, and our primal, instinctual desires.

When this chakra is out of balance you may experience fear, lack of security and seeking for basic needs in ways that may not serve your highest good. For example, we may use food, alcohol, or other addictive substances to cope with feelings of disconnection. Feeling disconnected, and ungrounded, happens on and off for many people, myself included.

When I first began to travel 4 years ago, I felt a tribe sized hole in my heart. I began to fill this hole with adventure & experience. From the outside it looked as though I were living a happy life, seeing the world, & experiencing new cultures. But that hole continued to grow when each time I found people who lit me up, we soon all parted ways to continue our own adventures. I got really good at saying goodbye.

Then I realized, not all good things need a goodbye. I began to get in touch with the root of myself and my primal needs through yoga, chanting and self discovery. When this piece of my energy body felt balanced, I no longer desired to hoard, keep and cage all the beautiful things I found on my journey, people included.

I let free all that came and went. Through chanting, I connected to myself, my surroundings, and all the peeps I met along the journey from my roots all the way to my heart. Now I’m creating a global tribe for all those who resonate with what’s happening over here to connect and find one another. We’re in this together tribe!

My wish for you is that you vibrate on a frequency that calls in your true tribe. You can join the Leela project’s sound tribe here. And let us know how we can serve you.

To begin to balance your own root chakra and create harmonious, vibrant connection within a community, you can start by chanting the seed mantra LAM.

If you haven’t yet discovered which Chakra could use some extra attention and care, you can take my free quiz here. <<Take Chakra Quiz>>

inspiration, sound healing

Balance Your Energy Body With the Power of Seed Mantras

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Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

Seed mantras, or Bija mantras, in Sanskrit, are short vibrational chants that can calm and steady the mind, bring intention into your day, and balance the energy field of your body. Each seed mantra is associated with the 7 major chakras of the body.

Chakras are the energetic vortices located along the spine that when balanced, move the flow of energy in your body. Each chakra has an archetype or traits of personality that are specific to it’s energy. Meaning when a chakra is out of balance, you may notice a theme or pattern of issues that can  be pin pointed back to a specific chakra block.

The throat chakra for instance, represents true expression, and can effect how we show up in the world, and the choices we make. When your throat chakra is balanced, you are able to speak your authentic truth, sing out loud, and make choices that benefit yourself and those around you.

Chakras get blocked all the time, the key is awareness, and then action. By chanting the seed mantra associated with its chakra, and intentionally focusing on that chakra, we can gently begin to release any blocks that are limiting the flow of energy.

Seed mantras actually have no literal meaning. Like the seed of a tree has all the knowledge within it to create a full grown oak, seed mantras contain all their power embedded in the sound.

Have you ever sang to a plant to show it love and affection? Or sang to a child to soothe him to sleep? Chanting seed mantras is similar.

Yogi’s in the ancient times, like shamans, discovered the chakras along with each chakras vibration. When you sing the seed mantra to it’s chakra, it recognizes it’s name and begins to come into resonance with it’s natural harmonious state. It may sound a bit woo woo, but I’m here to reclaim the woo with practical and emperical evidence. In other words, don’t knock it till you try it. Practice with me in the video below.

When a chakra is blocked or over active, this causes disharmony, dis-ease, & undesirable thoughts & behaviors. Since chakras are located within our energy body, or pranamaya kosha in Sanskrit, feeding the unbalanced chakra directly with a vibration, is working at the root level connecting energy to energy.

With support & guidance seed mantras can be a safe and effective way to connect with your energy body and begin to release blockages so you can stay flowing. Stagnant energy leads to a dull and stagnant life.

Seed mantras are short and powerful much like the seed of a fruit tree. The fractification of a seed to fruit is a lesson on love. When you bite into an apple, all the nourishment, crisp tastiness and energy providing nutrition was known all along by the seed. As if the seed lovingly knew you would meet one day. Seed-trunk-branches-fruit how can fractals be so cute!

Chant your seed mantra out loud, and let that sound grow up into love. Observe your environment, and notice what you can manifest through the power of sound.

Take this free test to see which chakra needs a little extra love and find out which mantra is right for you.

Share and spread this message like seeds all over the earth.

Creativity, inspiration, sound healing, Yoga

Why Mantras? How chanting can create health and happiness

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Last week we learned about affirmations and how they can help to rewire the neural pathways in the brain for more positive thoughts. This week we’re discussing mantras, what they mean, and how they can serve a mind-body connection for a healthy and happy life.

In Sanskrit, the ancient language of Yoga philosophy and Vedic texts, man means “mind” and tra means “to free”. In the yogic tradition, we chant mantras to free our minds of the ever wavering thoughts and constant chatter.

Since the Sanskrit language arose from India & Hinduism, certain Mantras invoke the qualities of Hindu deities. For example, if you want to call in wealth and abundance you chant to the Goddess Lakshmi. Saraswati is the Goddess of music, words and knowledge, So I begin each day with a chant to Saraswati Ma. Throughout India this is common practice.

For those of us new to Yoga and hanging around mostly in the west, we may need guidance in deciding which qualities need balancing in our lives. And maybe we don’t yet understand which deity is in charge of what. That’s ok, because one thing we all have cross culturally is glands.

The major endocrine glands in the body include the pineal gland, pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, and adrenal glands. Phew thats a mouth full! When we chant mantras in Sanskrit, the language is designed so beautifully that it creates certain chambers and presses activation points inside our mouths. For example, when your tongue presses up against the top of your mouth, it is known to activate the pituitary gland, which regulates your metabolism. It’s a mouth, body connection!

Repetitive chanting of mantras activates your entire system bringing it into alignment & keeping you healthy. When your body is functioning at its optimal level, your body & brain release dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin the feel good, happiness hormones. Mantras are proven by science to help you feel happy!

We’ll go into more detail into the happiness of sound in a later post, for now, just know that Yogi’s have been chanting mantras since before written word, and the proof is in the practice. You can make the experiment yourself, and see what chanting can do for your own personal health & happiness by joining one of my free mantra meditation challenges given throughout the year.

Join The Leela Project’s Sound Tribe online to find out how to participate in the next challenge.

Next week, we’ll talk about seed mantras, or bija mantras, which are mantras that have no linguistic meaning but can serve to balance your energetic system. Sign up for the Leela Project’s newsletterso you don’t miss a thang!

In the meantime, enjoy Gayatri Mantra sung by your’s truly. The Gayatri mantra is sung for world peace. I believe in peace through connection. Share with someone you wish to connect with today.