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Psalm 23 is one of the most loved Psalms. It tells the story of God who helps David by providing comfort and food and guidance in good times and not so good times. It is an example of what God does for each of us. Psalm 23 is sung, read responsively and prayed.
Here is Psalm 23 King James Version (traditional)
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths
of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table
before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house
of the Lord for ever.
During our Wednesday night classes we have been practicing yoga with the words of Psalm 23.
The following is a link to a page that includes the words and the postures for Psalm 23.
Once you have learned the poses and words, try practicing it slowly, breathing and in a prayerful mood.
Hope you enjoy this practice.
Sitting on my deck experiencing the beauty of God. There are clouds and sun and occasional breezes. The birds are active at the feeders. A squirrel has visited me here on the deck. It is relatively quiet so I can hear the breeze, birds and activities of the neighborhood. I can't help but love being outside and loving what I am experiencing.
Last week during practice we explored the beauty of the day. We shared Genesis 1:29 "So God created the great creatures of the sea and every thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." NIV. God created our surroundings so no wonder many of us feel connected to God as we experience it.
We also shared a poem by Joseph T. Renaldi "Once Upon A Summer Day." It reminds me about that which God has made.
Take some time this week to sit outside and breath, listen and observe. Share how you experienced God in your time.
Once Upon A Summer Day
Joseph T. Renaldi
Once upon a Summer day,
Birds chirped in a musical way,
Grass drenched in the morning dew,
The sky covered in a vast color of blue.
Once upon a summer day,
Flowers bloomed in full array,
Bright rays of sunlight spilled
Upon my garden on the hill.
Once upon a summer day,
Thunder rumbled and prolonged its stay,
But after the rain tumbled down,
This summer day wore a glorious rainbow crown.
This week we will be practicing Nadi Shodhana during our time of centering and breathing. Nadi Shodhana, also called Alternate Nostril Breathing, is known for balancing the sides of the brain and its calming affect when we are feeling stress or anxiety. Some instructors of meditation recommend practicing Nadi Shodhana prior to practicing meditation.
The following website is an awesome resource for more information and instruction for Nadi Shodhana:
This article from the Chopra Center lists the following benefits for Nadi Shodhana:
Please leave your comments about your practice of Nadi Shodhana below!
We are under pressure each day to do a list of stuff...go to work, clean the house, scoop the litter box, care for the kids and volunteer at church. Somewhere we need to find time to care for our body and mind. How about opening each day with a half hour of simple yoga poses and meditation on scripture. Pick some of your favorite poses starting and matching a favorite scripture verse with each pose. As you practice a pose repeat the scripture. You might also meditate or think about each scripture verse as you practice. When you design your practice, start with easier poses working toward the harder ones. End your time with some prayer in a seated pose.
You might also try saying the Lord's Prayer as you perform the Sun Salutation.
**Click on the picture to see some possible poses and scripture verses.**
https://www.biblegateway.com/ At Bible Gateway you can search for verses in many versions of the Bible.
Do you have any favorite Bible verses and pose you like to practice together?
Please share any thoughts about your practice.
Monday I was looking at Facebook which had suggested a "memory" from my past. On July 11, 2012 I posted that I had taught my first yoga class! Four years ago! Since then I have taught floor and chair yoga on a regular basis! Sometimes 3 times a day. I am probably more confident than that day 4 years ago, but some things don't change. As back then, I rely on God to help me plan my lessons and to teach. I still need to read, learn and practice yoga. I still look at my teaching, assessing for changes....like our personal yoga practice, teaching yoga is a growing process. My yoga teaching practices grow all the time. I love when I come up with a new way to describe a newance in a pose. I love to learn new poses or new combinations of poses.
Lately, I have been assessing where I would like to go from here. I have decided not to pursue a 500 hour certificate as I have not found one that I like. So, I will take training in specialty areas. Would like to find training in Laughter Yoga, Yoga Nidra, and yoga for people with special needs.
Recently, I have reconnected with Kathy and Jess who graduated from Kind Yoga with me. They are taking some of yoga classes at the YMCA! I enjoy having them in class but it seems a bit weird to teach them!
Praying that God will guide me in my teaching in the next year.
During our practices over the past weeks we have been practicing Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana in Sandskrit.
Sit in a comfortable position and begin to focus on your breath.
Rest the tips of your index and middle fingers in the space between your eyebrows. Allow your thumb to relax over your right nostril and your ring/pinky fingers to relax over your left nostril. Inhale and block your right nostril with your thumb and exhale out your left nostril. Inhale with your left nostril, block it off with your fingers as you release your thumb and exhale out your right nostril.
Continue alternating sides as you breath. (Traditionally we use our right hand for our breathing, but the left can be used.)
Great Website with instructions: "How to Practice Alternate Nostrils Breathing in Yoga
Here is a great "gif", visual of how to practice from www.yogatailor.com (Thank you Sydney!)
(same as above picture)
Benefits: There are many benefits to Alternate Nostril Breathing. The Livestrong website has an article "Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing" that lists the following benefits:
- Enhanced Lung Function
- Lung Cleansing
- Soothed Nervous System
- Temperature Regulation
- Enhanced Sleep Quality
Give this pranayama a try and let me know how it works for you!
Found a great DIY video on decorating a yoga mat to look like a galaxy. It uses acrylic paint for the decorating and says the paint stays on. Has anyone tried this? Please let me know about your experiences.
Click on the tab below.
I found this great series of yoga moves that can be done in bed. This practice will help us be more flexible and prepare us for a good nights sleep.
The Green button will bring you to the original presentation at www.womanshealthmag.com.
We have been ending our yoga practices with time for being thankful. After svasana I have offered time to "think of those things you are thankful for today from the small and the not so small." I hope this has been helpful for everyone. To find things to be thankful for can make the difference between a down day and a day with joy. When clouds loom or tiredness settles in, it is hard to feel or see the joy. Taking some time to sit and breath and focus opens our hearts to even the smallest amounts of joy in our day. These small amounts of joy or thanks can be the cat sitting in your lap, having a good breakfast, the smile or conversation wth a friend or coworker or even the sun shinning into your car as you drive. Times for breath and thanks can happen throughout a day. It only takes a few minutes to sit, close your eyes or focus away, take some breaths and think about moments in your day, or things in your day that you are thankful for. These quiet times can be spontaneous or scheduled say on the hour or done on your breaks. I have been finding they work best for me as I become tired or frustrated to just quiet myself and be thankful. I feel joy like the sunlight coming into my body and spirit.
The devotional I read this morning reminded me that "thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity." Giving thanks opens our hearts to God's presence. It also opens our minds to the Spirit working inside us.
Some good scripture related to giving thanks:
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
We sing a song at church:
"Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the holy one, give thanks because he's give Jesus Christ his Son..."
I pray for all of you as you discover you "thanks" each day.
I enjoy yoga as it brings peace to my life. Teaching yoga has brought joy to my life and given me a chance to encourage others in learning yoga.