February Full Moon and Goddess Brigid

The first few days of February are dedicated to purification, and the bringing in of the light from midwinter.  During this time we honor the Old Celtic and Irish feast of Goddess Brigid (Brigit, Brighid, Brid), or the Christian feast of St. Brigid, whose day is February 1-2, by offering candlelight and purification rituals. February 2nd also represents Candlemas when purification ceremonies around the Christian world.  This year the full moon comes just after these sacred times, and still holds the power of bringing intentions into fruition. Originally and still to this day, fires were lit to welcome Brigid as she traveled around blessing fields, animals, and the people of the land.

This month’s Full Moon is February 3rd, remembering that a day prior and post to this date carries with it the full moon energy.  This month is the Ice Moon, also known as Storm Moon, Sage Moon, Cleansing Moon, and Wild Moon among others.

February comes from the Latin root ‘februum’, which means purification.  This is a great time to take a cleansing salt bath and give your surroundings a good pick-me-up by clearing the clutter and maybe even a little sage smudging around your home, especially around the windows and doors.

Whether you light a single candle to help St. Brigid continue to bring in the light into the upcoming season, or plan a pre-Spring cleaning while repeating mantra and burning camphor and frankincense incense under the light of day, help bring in the essence of Goddess Brigid and her message into your world in any creative way that inspires you.

February Moon Correspondences

Herbs:  hyssop, myrrh, spikenard, sage, clove, nutmeg, bay, basil, heather, grain & nuts

Incense:  camphor, frankincense, wisteria, heliotrope

Trees:  cedar, laurel, rowan

Animals:  otter, groundhog, eagle

Deities:  Brigid, Kuan Yin, Demeter, Persephone

Gold Buddha Bath Salts (for Prosperity)

Shake up all ingredients below in a sealed container, preferably glass.  Small canning jars are my favorite, and an ideal inexpensive and reusable alternative to fancy containers.

1 cup salt

8 drops lotus oil

2 drops cinnamon oil

8 drops sandalwood oil

3 drops myrrh oil

2 drops allspice oil

If you want to make a larger batch, shake in a teaspoon of baking powder as a preservative.

Come join me this Wednesday, February 4th at 7:00pm for the monthly Sacred Circle of the Mindful Muse and learn more about this sacred time of year!

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Deepen Your Practice with a Partner

My first venture into partner yoga was during my very first teacher training.  My teacher wanted it to be a challenge, so my 5’11” frame was in a duet with a lovely 5’2″ yogini.  It was quite the experience!  Picture this – someone I could lift off the floor with one arm partnered with someone whose legs wouldn’t lift off the floor in ‘flying walnut’.  Some of the best partner classes I’ve taught were when friends would attend together, open and ready to try something new – friends, partners, spouses, mother-daughter, father-child, patient-caregiver… I’ve seen it all, and even though the postures may not be ‘textbook’, the connections made are priceless.   Sometimes the best part is ‘falling’ out of the poses together.

David and I have been teaching this class for many years, and we always enjoy witnessing bonds growing stronger, and effective communication happening, along with those ‘experimentalists’ always coming up with something new!  My favorite teaching couple is Melissa & Jon-Erik Lido – they are not only the epitome of true yogis, but they both have such vibrant, adventurous spirits, they are a great team to learn from.  To see the difference in their stature would never lead you to believe that Melissa can certainly hold her own, and Jon-Erik as well!

The Lidos have been students and teachers of the Garden for many years, and I have known them both for even more.  They supported each other wholeheartedly as they dedicated themselves further into the yogic lifestyle by  moving through multiple teacher trainings at the Garden, and have also studied through the lineage of Dharma Mittra.  We are so fortunate to have them in our midst, and if you’re around on Sundays, come hang out with these two gems in the evenings for Beginner and Yin Yoga classes.

Working with a partner adds such a deeper level and dimension to even the ‘simplest’ of poses – think back-to-back triangles and revolved angles, side-by-side standing tree pose, yummy back-to-back stretches and twists.  Effective communication helps to maintain balance and safety, and breathing together only increases the effectiveness of tuning in with each other.  The art of moving together, providing space for each other, and chuckling when things go awry are all part of this profound practice.

P.S.  Ladies, if you’ve been trying to drag your guys to yoga class, this is a great opportunity.  Many men have been introduced to ‘yoga’ through the partner yoga route – and we promise to leave him feeling like he got a ‘workout’, making him feel strong (not just a fru-fru stretching exercise)… and making him ‘feel it’ the next day, too 😀

Join Melissa and Jon-Erik for Valentine’s Day Partner Yoga at the Garden from 1:00-2:30pm and experience Contact – the Yoga of Relationship.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERABrittney and I ‘falling’ out of a partner pose – the BEST partner pal EVER!

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Morning Ritual

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What helps you get your day off to a good start?  Setting up daily morning routines and rituals can help provide stable and inspiring environment in which to build a daily spiritual practice that feeds your home, work and overall environment.  Take some time this week to jot down in your journal your daily routine for each day and begin to notice the similarities of each day.  What has become your morning ‘routine’.  Next, record how the routine makes you feel… does it lead seamlessly into a productive day, or do you need more time to get organized and prepare for the day ahead?  Of course the most common comment I receive when requesting that everyone should carve out some time each day for meditation is that there are just not enough hours in the day.  Well, who said you had to find quiet time for an entire hour?  Begin with 5 minutes, each and EVERY morning.  I recommend finding that 5-30 minutes first thing upon waking; however, for some it may be less ‘stressful’ to go ahead and get ready for your day, and save 5+ minutes before walking out the door to clean house in the mind by coming to a seat, sitting still, and simply breathe.

My morning routine does not really fluctuate during the weekday vs. the weekend, but it does allow for flexibility from time to time to edit, revise and rearrange.  It does change sometimes from season to season, but the bones of my routine stay the same.  I have to admit, I do get a little out of sorts when I don’t get my normal morning rituals in, but I also know it is important to be gentle on myself during those times, and just get back to it at the next opportunity.

Here is a breakdown of my traditional morning ritual:

* wake up naturally by my internal alarm clock (or husband snoring, whichever comes first)

* sit in front of my altar on on my meditation cushion for meditation – 30+ minutes

* grab some warm lemon water with a dash of ginger or cayenne

* sip it on the way to take children to school (usually dressed much to the kids’ chagrin in my p.j.’s, furry boots, and they’re happy if I wear my winter coat instead of my bathrobe – no shame!)

* shower, shampoo, and shine

* sit at my home desk for daily spiritual study – I typically have 2-3 classic texts or reference books that I concentrate on completing each year

* during the warm months I will go for a walking meditation outdoors or move through some sun salutations and postures, but in the colder months, my physical activity comes in the afternoon

* take a look at my calendar for the day, make any necessary adjustments, then am off for my eclectic daily appointments

I would love to hear what works for YOU – reply below!

 

 

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January Moon

6645538_lThis new year I greet you with an overview of the importance of the Moon phases and how you can use them to live, love, and work more efficiently and effectively.  Each month I will guide you through basic moon correspondences and attributes that I encourage you to consider when planning your days in conjunction with your goals, aspirations, duties and dreams for 2015.

As we move through the next months together, keep in mind the following overview of moon phase attributes.  The Full Moon is a time of high energy, creation and bringing to fruition, as well as a time of perfecting projects and ideas.  The Waning and Dark Moon phase is a time of resting, retreat, conservation, healing, and deep contemplation and meditation.  It is a time to decrease or banish the unwanted.  The Dark Moon is a great time for deep contemplation, meditation and psychic (clear-thinking) development.  During the New Moon and Waxing phase think of what you want to bring into your life; a time to start new projects and goals and invoking the things you want.

January’s Moon is known as the Snow Moon, Quiet Moon, Wolf Moon, and Cold Moon just to name a few.  This year the Full Moon falls on January 4th.  It is commonly believed that the energies of the Full Moon exist up to 2-3 days prior and after the date of the Full Moon.  The week before this Moon spend some time contemplating needed and necessary changes that should be made in your life.  This can be anything from something that is specific to you, or on a larger scale, a social wrong that is in need of transformation.  Think children’s rights, homelessness, medical care and attention available to all, women’s issues and crisis centers, animal shelters, etc.

 

January Moon Correspondences

Herbs:  nuts and cones, holy thistle, marjoram

Incense:  mimosa, sandalwood, musk

Trees:  birch

Animals:  coyote, fox, wolf

Deities:  Sarasvati, Hera, Innana, Freyja, Sinn

 

Indian Spiced Tea

(serves 6)

7 cups cold water

6 green cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

6 cloves

1/4″ peeled & chopped fresh ginger

1/4 cup honey or brown sugar

2 Tablespoons black tea leaves

almond or coconut milk to taste

Bring water to a boil and stir in spices and brown sugar.  Boil over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes.  Add tea leaves and bring to boil.  Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for additional 5 minutes, adding optional milk to taste.  Strain the tea leaves and serve.

 

hOMework

When you go to your altar during this time, have something specific in mind, and infuse it with intention and feeling.  You may be able to release emotions.  On or around the Full Moon, decorate your altar with a lit white candle and burn some sandalwood incense.  Spend time meditating upon your intention, envisioning the changes you would like to see happening.

Lovely Lady of the Moon, bless and purify me with your light.  Thank you for empowering me this night.

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Click Here for Downloadable Moon Phase Calendars

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Practice Lovingkindness

metta meditation purple(photo: www.buddhistdoor.com)

The Buddhist practice of Metta Meditation translates into the meditation for lovingkindness.  The full practice usually consists of at least 30 minutes of blissful mindfulness, but during the hustle and bustle of this time of year, we may only have a few minutes to find our center.  Please take 10 minutes out of your day to remember the reason for the season with the audio below, and expand lovingkindness out into the world around you.  There are many variations of the authentic practice, you may choose the following variation – whatever resonates with you!

May all beings be happy,
May all beings be safe and protected from all harm,
May all beings be well,
May all beings live their lives with a sense of ease.

Please see full site for audio meditation!

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