Creativity, sound healing, Yoga

Sparking the fire of creativity through sound

When I’m inspired creatively, words flow through me like the electricity lights the bulb, as if by magic. When I’m inspired, words light up the pages of my notebooks, my pen tapping to the rhythm of my inner poetry. But when I’m blocked, the page is blank, the ukulele collects dust and the songs lay dormant in my throat.

There was a moment recently where I let the page be blank. I waited for the spark to strike, and I thought to myself, when will this creative block end?

And then I started to sing. Without the spark to, I just started to sing again because I knew it was the right thing to do. I started to sing  & write, and then I started to sing & write everyday. The singing became the spark, and my inner pages lit up again with prose.

Sometimes we wait until the perfect moment to begin a project, to make something happen, or to be happy. Because of our conditioning, we are always waiting for something to come and make us happy.

When people say happiness comes from within, it is not that we’re waiting for the day  happiness crawls out of us like a sleeping giant, but when we feel unhappy, we can do the things that cultivate feelings of happiness. It takes practice. This is why Yoga is a practice.

Yoga teaches us that the only thing constant is change itself. So one day the sun is shining, and we’re happy and the next day there is rain and so we’re gloomy. The uncontrollable forces of nature seem to have so much control over our lives. But I don’t just give away my power that easily anymore.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

I know, as a creative life coach, and vocalist that singing scientifically produces the chemicals and hormones nessecary for feelings of happiness. It’s been proven in many studies that singing brings happiness. So why resist singing? What in us resists happiness?

We tend to hold on to certain conditioning. Our experiences shape us, they leave a lasting mark on our subconscious long after the experience has passed. In Yoga, these mental impressions are known as samskaras. These mental impressions affect the neural pathways of the brain, and habituate us to certain ways of being, and attitudes.

 Samskaras are like deep grooves which keep us walking down the same path. When you’ve gone on a hike that is well known and well hiked, there is a pathway, or a groove in the earth from being walked on many times. This is the samskara. Sometimes we walk down that same pathway without awareness if it is even the best way to go. Traveling off the beaten path is a creative way to move, and takes bravery.  

Our past experiences have created patterns of behavior and as we continually walk those patterns we deepen the groove until we’re walking in a ditch and can’t see our way out. Do we stay in the ditch or do we ask for help? We do not have to stay in any situation or emotional state that feels like being buried. But we may need help in identifying our samskaras, limiting beliefs and unhealthy habits that are preventing us from flowing freely in our creative nature. Sometimes we just need someone to sing with.

Song Circle at My Retreat Yoga Soundscapes in Lake Atitlan Guatemala

I understand that creativity naturally ebbs and flows. But for a singer, too long without singing is like a bird staying too long on the ground. As a human, as a creature of this earth, it is your divine right to both sing and be happy, and so why not do both. Why wait until your neck deep in the sand to decide to change?

Lets jump on a call for free 30 minutes of creative consultation

In this sessions, we will invite in the creative process, and see how we can map out a plan for living your most creative life.

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Meditate for creativity

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The bulb of creativity is shining bright in me once more and I’m ready to hold the light for you to discover how vibrant a life of creativity can be.

yoga sutras

Reside in your truest form through Yoga

Reside in your own true nature

तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम् 

tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe-‘vasthānam 

Translation: Then the seer resides in her own true form

Sutra number 1.3 So auspicious, so deep, translated by many, and now by me.

For who is the seer anyhow?

The first chapter of the Yoga Sutras tell the story of yoga, one leading seamlessly into the other.

1.1 Now begins the study of yoga
1.2 Yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind
1.3 Then the seer resides in his own true nature

We see here, the third sutra is reflecting the affects of this practice we call Yoga. When you practice Yoga, calming the fluctuations of the mind, you will reside in your own true nature.

Yoga is basically practicing at being what you already are. That is not as easy as it sounds. What you truly are vs. what you, and others have built you up to be, are different things. We all have roles, desires and goals and all those things seem to make up a life. Sometimes we attach so deeply to our roles, desires and goals that we distract ourselves from experiencing a state of bliss that is profound and yet simply our natural state of being.

When there is no heavy influence of distraction, of outside noise, or wavering thought forms, all that is left is the still beingness.

When we practice at being still, we glimpse these states of bliss. It’s like the moment upon first awakening from sleep when you are simply there. The world has not shown itself in all its forms, your todos have not yet crept into your mind and you are simply waking. The waking state is a state of consciousness that simply is, and then in comes the flood of remembering that you are human.

Maybe you have an emotion or a driving force that pulls you to your feet, or maybe the dreaded alarm is blaring and you begin your day in alert mode. Our natural selves want to wake with the sun and the sound of the birds. If you wake naturally enough times, and let yourself fully arrive in your body before jerking out of bed, waking to an alarm begins to seem odd.

Meditating gives us a space where we have the opportunity to simply be, and if we do that enough the being becomes more natural than the doing.

It’s hard sometimes to accept that we can do nothing. And I don’t mean the watching TV kind of doing nothing… that is encouraged in our society. I’m talking about the yoga kind of being; residing in the space of you where you are clear and free, a space where the thoughts do not move you, and you let go and rest in a state of being.

In our western society we do not appreciate just being still. We need to let go of the assumption that we are not doing enough. Sometimes I simply sit in the forest and look at a tree. Without judgement of the tree, without wondering about myself in relation to the tree, I simply allow the tree to envelope my visual sense and then -poof- I am just there for a moment residing in my true nature. This doesn’t last for long before I am judging myself that I should be doing something.

I should be writing, planning or creating right? I should be tackling things on my to do list, or molding myself into a better person! But it is in these moments of non doing that I realize that I am creation itself. There is no more to do or not do, and from this place of still beingness, I decide to do some things because life is a great adventure full of cool stuff to do. I desire to bring my personality out into the world, but then my personality, and all that I do come from a different vibe, the vibe of a zest for life, for adventure, & connection. My doing has sprouted from a place of simply being instead of from an outside driving force, what I think is expected of me, or any expectations I put on myself. The world becomes a curious place to play in rather than a set of accomplishments to get done.

The more we practice yoga, the more we experience our true selves. Our true selves do not need labels or roles. Our truest form has nothing to prove or no agenda to ascribe to.

This is the type of yoga we will be practicing at my retreat in Guatemala. Come get a glimpse of your true self. Be as you are, discover your authentic self in a sacred space created for transformation. http://www.junglevibration.com

The transformation is really like a butterfly in his cacoon. The catapiller was always already a butterfly, he just had to rest for a moment, swaddled, lose himself, turn to mush and emerge to fly higher with a new perspective.

Please share to spread this message like the butterfly spreads its wings.

yoga sutras

Yoga Is The Calming of The Fluctuations of The Mind

Yoga Sutra 1.2What is YOGA?

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः 
yogaś-citta-vr̥tti-nirodhaḥ 

Translation: Yoga is the calming of the fluctuations of the mind.

Our mind, and all its components, the conscious, sub-conscious, and unconscious, move like waves in a storm. Yoga is the calm eye of that storm, where the stillness pervades and all is quietly wading in the peaceful waters.

I wrote last week about sutra number one, and how profound this sutra is. You can read here, As a quick, reflection, we now know that yoga is a spiritual path to lead you to enlightenment. When you are fully present, you are engaged in yoga. The divine is you, and you the divine. So, if this is already the case, why do we bother with yoga, or spirituality, or practice at all? We are always connected to divine source, we are spiritual in nature, and enlightenment is within us, so let’s just quit this seeking then right?

Well… It is also true, that we don’t always feel divine. I can admit, I myself, sometimes feel like a mess. A beautiful, & powerful mess.

Do you ever feel that way? This might be why Sage Patanjali so kindly continued his description of yoga, and didn’t leave us with… You are always already doing the Yoga.

We are so caught up with our mind stuff, our emotions, our stories, & our everyday shit, that we need practice to condition ourselves to presence. Divinity, Enlightenment, & connection are all states that exist in the present, but often we are worrying about the future, or remember our past. Yoga is the calming of these seemingly never ending waves of thought.

Through a daily yoga practice, we experience deeper presence. Yoga postures may have brought you this sense of presence. It is often a calm & peaceful feeling to be guided and focused on our bodies and the sensations we are experiencing as we dance between stillness and movement.

Today I would like to offer you 3 practices to experience off your mat to help calm the fluctuations of the mind.

3 ways to find presence in the now.

1. Sit and watch your thoughts.
It seems counter intuitive that if yoga is ceasing the fluctuations of thoughts, that you would spend time and attention on your thoughts. But this is the beginning stages. For some of us, when we first start to meditate, it is unbelievable to even be aware of how fast our minds are processing information. It’s almost something to be proud of in this society. I have not mastered meditation, in a traditional sense. I have not ceased my thoughts completely, but that is not the point of this exercise and that’s not where I’m at, (& PS that’s ok). Everyday, I sit, and I watch my thoughts without judgement and I try not to hold on. I return to my breath, because I am for sure always breathing.

Would you like to get started? I created a beginners guide to meditation:

Sign Up Here To Receive Your Guide

2. Vocal toning
Did you know everything in our reality is vibrating? Everything at its most subtle form is a sound. When I am sounding, also known as toning, I am very present, and afterwards I notice less thoughts and an overall feeling of calmness. Toning is also known to have a balancing effect on your chakras, the energetic system of Yoga which link your physical body to your etheric, energetic body. Watch the video here to tone with me to the heart chakra to see how you feel.

3. Stare at a flower
I learned this technique from Ekhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, and famous spiritual speaker. Being in nature in general has a calming effect on the body, and psyche. And even more profound, gazing into the spiritual eye of a flower, can bring a sense of presence. Without attachment, or judgement of the flower simply look and acknowledge how present the flower is. Flowers have the capacity to remind us of our own presence and beauty. Do this practice for at least 3 minutes allowing the fullness of the moment. Slow down, simply be present and allow the divine to reside In the moment.

There are many ways to bring presence into your life, I’d like to hear from you. Comment with a practice that you’ve noticed allows your mind to rest in the now.

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http://www.junglevibration.com

If you would like to be guided towards presence, divinity, and heart centered living, join me on my 5 night 6 day retreat on a sanctuary in Lake Atitlan, San Marcos, Guatemala. Through yoga asana, sacred sound, & ceremony we will dance with the divine in each one of us, dive into matters of the heart, and relax into the creative flow of life.

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Yoga Soundscapes: Eco Yoga & Sacred Sound Retreat

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Join Christina Gomes & Bethany Brown at Yoga Soundscapes

In this 5 day retreat we’ll guide you through the limbs of yoga, hold space for rejuvenation, & dive into the depths of the heart. Yoga asana is ancient & intuitive. In Yoga Soundscapes we will explore physical movement in connection to our bodies, our psyche, and our energy system.

Through traditional yogic meditation we learn to be present in the moment and allow our thoughts to come and go. Meditation is the surrender. Together we will learn to  surrender to the essence of stillness and become present in our own bodies. We will practice traditional yogic meditation, as well as guided meditation for deep relaxation.

Through sound we create space in the body and mind for rejuvenation. At the core of everything is vibration, so in a sense, we are made from sound. In Yoga Soundscapes, we will utilize sound baths for relaxation, sacred song circles (Kirtan in Sanskrit) for activating your inner voice, and intentional music to flow into creativity and presence.

Ceremony is a sacred act that brings you into connection with the Divine in a way that feels authentic to you. Through rituals old and new we can turn an average day into a celebration. In our retreat together, we will engage in the ceremony of Cacao. Cacao is known in the Mayan culture as a sacred medicine for connection with our higher truth. The subtle medicinal effects are known for opening the doors to the heart, creating a space for exploration into self love, compassion, and connection.

Included in each day is space for down time and relaxation, optional workshops, or spa treatments in the surrounding area.

 

For Registration & More Information Visit

www.junglevibration.com

Yoga

What Is Yoga Really?

Yoga is an art, science, and psychology. It is a system to guide you into a state of connectedness. I hope by now, we are realizing collectively, that yoga goes beyond throwing ourselves into contorted shapes and showing off our flexibility. Yoga is a philosophy which is ancient and yet intuitive. Yoga is the shamanism of the Hindu tradition, it is healing in nature. Yoga is defined many ways, by many individuals. However, when beginning the examination of Yoga, any sincere student begins with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This 1700 year old book, would be known in the modern world as the “Ultimate Guide to Yoga.”

Yoga is as ancient as humans on earth, and humans have always been curious. Questions like, what is our purpose here, where did this all come from, and how to live this thing called life to the best of our ability, have been pondered about since pondering began. Before books & written word, humans passed down knowledge verbally from teacher to student through stories, songs, mantras & symbols, deep knowledge transpired verbally, tucked away in caves, in tribal communities and in jungles world wide. So the knowledge we receive from ancient wisdom books is actually older than the books themselves.

The Vedas are some of the worlds oldest written knowledge and is regarded as the first collection of sacred, and spiritual texts. These books hold wisdoms, stories & song preserved and passed down to guide the seeker towards self illumination. Yoga is derived from these ancient texts. Luckily for our modern world, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, was written around 400 BC as a collection of the most pertinent information about yoga specifically, and its 8 limbs. There are 196 sutras, and they are sung or chanted in many traditions including by my revered teachers in India & Thailand.

As ancient as these sutras are, it’s as if they were written for our times now. Simply studying the sutras allows us to think deeply on matters that affect our humanity in this day and age. Self discovery is the pathway to understanding the nature of reality. There is no reality without the self to perceive it. And our perception of reality precedes our actions in the world which ripple out into infinite forms.

We lead from what we perceive. If we perceive the world to be a scary, hopeless place, we will react from that perception and vibrate out thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that match a scared and hopeless individual. On the contrary, If we perceive the world to be a land where we are connected, and a part of its wholesome design, then we will naturally vibrate out thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that enhance connection.

Over the next weeks, we will examine together Patanjalis yoga sutras, how they relate to living in this modern world, and how they have related to my life. Through story, song, and creative expression, I hope to bring you a modern take on these ancient inscriptions in a playful and light hearted manner. Follow this journey by joining my mailing list here:

<<The Leela Project’s Mailing List>>

Receive weekly updates on the sutras, and deeper ways to find your own connection to this ancient pathway, and to yourself.

This is a great opportunity for those of you already on my mailing list, to forward this message along. Is there someone in your life who has expressed interest in Yoga, or an interest in understanding themselves deeper? Have you or someone you care about been practicing yoga and want to take the lessons you learn on the mat, into your living reality? The next weeks will be dedicated to bringing this ancient knowledge out through my eyes and wild sense of humor. It could be interesting.

Join my Facebook group << The Leela Project’s sound tribe >> where we act as a sounding board for each other as we chant sutras and talk story about what they mean in our lives.