Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Find the bliss and freedom that is dancing and sparkling within

You may or may not believe that every cell in your body is alive with prana, with subtle energy, as well as the oxygen required for cellular respiration.

In her book ‘My stroke of insight’ Jill Bolte Taylor calls her cells her ‘girls’. She talks to them and encourages them. She has a unique insight due to her stroke and subsequent recovery.

In fact what you believe doesn’t really matter, it is the experience that matters.

You really can experience the inner bliss and freedom that yoga talks about and offers.

Maybe you have been fortunate enough to experience this in your meditation practice or at some other time, or maybe not. I can’t put myself into your body, but I’m pretty sure that this experience of bliss is available to all serious meditators at some point.

We soon realize that we can’t make these blissful experiences happen, but we can set up the circumstances and be willing to drop back and surrender to the experience.

I think dropping back or letting go is probably the hardest part of the meditation journey for many of us.

We just get a tiny taste of something that feels still and expansive and the mind jumps right back in. Have you experienced that?

Perhaps it takes a degree of courage to let go? A strong mind to let go of the mind?

The mind does not like to be let go of! It can’t know the experience that we have when it is dropped. But really, when you finally do manage to let go and drop away from the mind, that is when the magic happens. That is when we really do experience the feeling of bliss.

A feeling of love, a feeling of being peaceful and expansive …I do encourage you to find this out for yourself.

A place from where you can witness without having to be drawn in. You can see the mind but not have to take it so seriously. See it for what it can do, but see also that there is a watching aspect that is the observer of the thoughts.

Drop back, let go, find this inner place of observing and it really will change your experience of life.

Please share your experiences!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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This moment now – perhaps messy, perhaps complicated – is perfect

It seems like a strange time, when there is a world wide pandemic, to pick this card.  How can things possibly be perfect?

Then again, it is easy to see that there are perfect moments. Things when everything seems to go well. A beautiful day, a delicious meal, a nice full belly, time with loved ones, all feel so perfect.

What might be harder to see is that every moment is a perfect one.

This moment, whatever it contains, is perfect because it is what it is. If we argue with it, if we don’t want to accept it, then we are arguing with reality. We will never win that argument, it means we are not accepting reality. So the cold wet rainy day, the burnt meal, the hungry belly, how on earth can those situations be perfect as well? The messy and complicated life we are having, how can that possibly be perfect?

So back to the pandemic, no one in their right mind would wish that upon the world, right? However it is the situation that we have. I am not going to enter a discussion about whether it is good or bad for the planet, for humanity etc. because it is what it is, and no amount of explaining or rationalizing will change that.

I could come up with reasons why things are perfect. Of course our planet needs rain and a variety of weather, of course occasionally feeling hungry helps us appreciate food, and so on.

But again, that is not really the point. The point is that arguing with the reality of the moment is not accepting this moment.

The moment is perfect because it is the moment that it is. It is what it is. For this moment now, it is perfect.

This yoga practice of acceptance can be really hard. Perhaps we see things that seem desirable that we don’t have and think why can’t I have that / be like that? Whether it is the ease that you see in someone else, or the abilities that someone else has or even the circumstances in which we see someone else. Or maybe it is the other way around, we wish that they were not in that situation?

Of course things will not stay as they are right now, they never do, and time will give perspective. And we can work towards change, don’t let us forget that.

This practice of acceptance does not have to mean mean apathy.

I guess acceptance is another way of embracing the reality of our life right now. Our personality, our roles, whatever situation we are in and so on. It doesn’t mean we can’t make things different – both for our selves and others – but for now we can also be fully okay with this very moment.

It IS the one that we have.

I’d love to know YOUR thoughts! Has the practice of acceptance of the perfection of each moment made a difference to you?

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Surrender doesn’t mean no discipline or no passion

The practice of surrender truly is a practice of yoga that can awaken us to the experience of profound inner freedom. I really have found that it is.

I know that word ‘surrender’ can sound scary but really it isn’t at all.

It is true acceptance and okay-ness right here and now. And it doesn’t mean nothing will change.

The practice of surrender has helped me a lot in living my life. Find somewhere safe and quiet and practice surrendering your thoughts. Let them go, drop back from them. Stick at it regularly and there you will find love and bliss.

Not thoughts about love and bliss, but a no-thought state where the experience is one of love and bliss and inner freedom.

The Yoga Sutras talk about the practice of Isvara pranidhana, surrender to God, or to a greater power, or to the Universe, or a higher source. Isvara pranidhana is one of the 5 Niyamas or inner observances to practice on a path to experiencing the freedom that yoga offers. There is nothing that you have to believe though, simply practice surrendering to what is.

Surrendering into stillness, into flow, into a state of profound quiet and bliss and love does not mean we have no agency over the way we live our life.

Surrendering to what is right now does not mean we can’t work towards changing things for the future.

It does not mean we don’t have any discipline in life.

Actually it takes a certain amount of discipline, ironically a level of focus and strength of mind, to be willing and able to let the thoughts go.

To drop back from the mind that always wants to know and control. Practicing surrender to simply ‘what is’ does not mean we become a doormat because things are going to unfold anyway. In this context it does not mean flying the white flag.

We do have choice and practicing surrender doesn’t negate choice.

It doesn’t negate using the gifts we have.

Practicing surrender also doesn’t mean there is no point in being passionate if there are things you are passionate about. If you passionately work towards something and that thing doesn’t work out, practice being okay with that. On the other hand, perhaps that thing does work out.

Surrender to being okay whatever the outcome, but follow the passion anyway.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Use your talents and skills, and also experience your divine nature.

We all have skills and talents.

Perhaps you think you have nothing special but if you consider your experiences leading to this point then they make a unique set!

Maybe also there is something that you want to do. Something that has been nudging at you to come to life.

Are you talented at music, art, accounting, organizing, motivating, singing, creating, engineering, story-telling, IT, yoga teaching, meditation teaching, sharing mindfulness, teaching stress-management, gardening or whatever combination of these and other things you bring to your life?

While you do the work that you bring to the world, you can also experience your divine nature.

They are not mutually exclusive.

It is so cool that you don’t have to run away from your life to experience the bliss of being or to experience your divinity.

To experience one-ness, connection and a state of flow.

Sometimes it takes being fully immersed in our creativity to find our bliss. We find ourselves in the flow and the work pours out of us.

We can also experience inner freedom and bliss in doing the dishes. Not if we are grumpy about doing the dishes. Probably not if we are rushing and trying to be super efficient either.

But if we simply go about our day we can do it with presence and awareness, rather than being on autopilot without such awareness.

What have you been doing when you have experienced your divine nature? I’d love to know!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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Stay aware of your connection to all that is

This card was picked in class recently.

It makes me wonder, when have you really felt connected?

*Perhaps while gardening?

*While sitting in a temple in India (if you have had such a privilege)?

*While meditating?

*While knitting or crocheting or painting? In a yoga class?

*Walking along the beach?

*Spending time in nature?

There are times when we feel a sense of peace and bliss, a feeling of expansiveness, of connection to all that is.

Times when everything seems perfect, when we somehow know everything is okay.

Have you ever had such a feeling?

If you can recognise your sense of connection once, then perhaps you can remember the feeling.

If you temporarily lose that feeling of connection, can you recall it?

The more you can remember and experience your sense of one-ness, of connection, the more you are in a state of Yoga.

You can’t necessarily make a state of Yoga, a state of feeling connected and free, happen.

You can set up the circumstances to make it more likely. Regular yoga and meditation helps, as does being in nature.

Being present in your daily life helps too. Keeping your mind in perspective rather than letting it run you life also helps.

I think being of service to others also helps us to stay connected. It gives us purpose.

What helps you to stay aware of your connection to all and to experience freedom?

I’d love to know.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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Make time to be still

Yes there is a lot going on right now.

Maybe when we are still, we can make more sense of things.

We get perspective.

We eventually notice that there is watching happening, there is awareness. Awareness that can observe the mind.

Awareness that can observe the reactions and judgements.

Awareness of our thought patterns. Oh so many thought patterns!

Awareness that eventually might see the old habit of how we invent ‘me’.

We invent ‘me’ according to how we see ourselves, not how others see us. A perfectly natural mind invention. Perhaps we eventually see that mind invention as a fiction, even if we still use it.

Being still also allows us to be aware of subtle body sensations than can tell us so much.

  • Perhaps that feeling in the gut of being nervous about the next step.
  • Or that feeling in the heart-space of being unloved or not good enough.
  • Or that feeling in the throat of wanting to say something and perhaps feeling blocked somehow.

When we notice feelings, they may not all be blissful, but we notice them.

We notice what is real right now and perhaps recognise that that is more real than not noticing.

In stillness we can understand ourselves better.

Maybe that helps us to understand what we perceive as ‘other’ as well. Maybe there is less other, and more ‘one-ness’. Maybe there is more empathy and compassion.

We may not get all the answers, but perhaps we get enough to be okay right here and now on our path.

Maybe we get insight or inspiration.

Maybe we create space for a solution to a problem to bubble up.

Why not make time to be still and see what there is for you to notice today? I’d love to know how you go.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Can you live the mystery rather than trying to manage life?

Do you usually live a very predictable life? Do you try and control as many aspects of it as you can? Dotting all those ‘I’s and crossing all those ‘T’s so to speak?

Rather than attempting to control every aspect of life, what would it feel like to be open to the idea that everything can’t be controlled, and that we really don’t know what is around the corner?

Can you be open to the mystery, the unknown?

Meditation can be a great help.

There is a difference between going into panic mode about catching the Novel Corona virus COVID-19 and taking sensible precautions.

We do what we can, and for me, as well as hygiene measures, it also includes taking the time to practice yoga and meditation at home in Mordialloc and eating well so as to stay as well as I can.

When we let go into meditation, we are dropping all that control and surrendering to the unknown.

It is unknown because we are dropping back from the mind that knows.

Aaaah, bliss, the mystery, the great abyss of peace. Life’s inner mystery might be more real than any idea in your head!

It is true that right now we are in uncertain times. As well as the opportunity that meditation offers us to drop into a blissful state, I think that knowing how to reduce stress with yoga and meditation and regulate your own nervous system is so helpful.

We have a great opportunity to slow down our own nervous systems and help to reduce the state of heightened anxiety and nervousness that surrounds us.

This yogic contemplation is about being OK with the twists and turns that life takes. And it is also about not being so attached to outcomes. We can do the work we do and by all means have goals, but perhaps we can still be okay if the path swerves a little or a lot and the work no longer leads to those goals.

Don’t live small and controlled, micromanaging every second. Be open to the mystery!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia. They make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

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Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Life is a mystery that unfolds

We don’t really know what is coming next, what ups and downs and twists and turns lie ahead.

That doesn’t mean we should just lie down and give up! It means we can stay open to the mystery! It means we don’t have to always know. We don’t have to always try to control (we can’t anyway).

There are lots of amazing things to notice in life if we pay attention, here are just a few:

  • The buzzing of bees and the incredibly industrious work that they do
  • The human body and its amazing capacity, even despite how we treat it sometimes
  • The practice of meditation that can give us a taste of wonderful bliss, as well as perspective on life
  • The way plants can pop up in a crack in the concrete
  • The way clouds make patterns and float across the sky
  • The way our hands are so dexterous
  • The way our dogs greet us when we get home
  • The kindness of a stranger

What is it like living in the mystery?

Life is going to unfold whatever we think, isn’t it? Maybe if we have an attitude of being open and okay rather than feeling as though we always have to know and control there is a different feel? Maybe there is a feeling of being more connected, and also more accepting?

Lets live the mystery as it unfolds!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and also my book Yoga off the mat, freedom in everyday life HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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When we work on ourselves, it ripples out and we heal the world

When you listen to the safety advice on a plane, they always tell you to take care of your own oxygen mask first before helping others. That way you are better placed to serve those you are helping, right?

I think it is the same with the work we do on ourselves.

Have you ever noticed how the energy of some people has a heavy feel and you have to work hard to stay centred and not pulled into their energy? I know I have.

When your energy is light, when you feel truly grounded, centred and inwardly free, then you pull people easily into your orbit, so to speak.

I know it is tempting to try to ‘fix’ other people.

Especially if we finally see something that has been hard to see, when the penny finally drops, when we finally ‘get’ what yogis have been talking about all these years. We want everyone else to see it too.

The method I have chosen is to not try to help unless people want it.

Walk the walk, do my practice.

If someone books into a meditation or yoga class or workshop then of course I will offer things that have helped me. I wrote my book because I wanted to share what I had come to realise. But you can’t force this onto people, it will unfold as it is meant to, and if you are really keen then it will definitely unfold for you.

So work on yourself, that is the work. Let people see the difference it has made for you, that will be enough to draw people in and they can work out what is right for them.

I do wish you profound freedom. It is your birthright. Work on yourself and let it ripple out.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and also my book Yoga off the mat, freedom in everyday life HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Practicing contentment does not mean we can’t work towards change

This moment now is the one you have, so you have a choice to be content or not. Why not be content right now?

This doesn’t mean that you can’t work towards change (if you think that is desirable). Yes you can plan. You can figure things out, have goals towards change, do some work. And also be content with reality as it is right now, be content with the moment you have right now.

If your circumstances are not as ideal as you think they should be, or next time something doesn’t go the way you think it should, maybe you could bring this contemplation to mind and simply choose contentment?

  • Stuck in traffic? Can you be content? Maybe you can be okay with the slower pace and therefore not rushing? But that doesn’t mean you can’t also plan to allow longer time next time. Can you see how both these things are responses to the situation but you can still be content?
  • Waiting for someone? Instead of feeling frustrated and annoyed can you simply be content with your own company? Use the time for contemplation or meditation? Look around and see some beauty in the world around?
  • Don’t have your ideal job? Maybe it isn’t wise to walk away from it today, or maybe it is. If need be you can plan your next move, look around for what will work better for you. You can also be content with this moment right now. Your equanimity doesn’t have to be disturbed.

I know these examples are superficial but they are relatively common examples of daily life. Your circumstances might feel much more worthy of complaint than these.

The thing is, your external circumstances do not have to dictate your inner contentment. You can work towards changing your external circumstances if you want, and that does not have to affect your inner contentment and peace. It is always a choice you can make.

What about more difficult situations than the ones I described above? Maybe you are dealing with the untimely death of a loved one, or the diagnosis of a terminal illness? These are things we could expect to happen in life, they are the way things unfold, and some circumstances are much rougher than others. I am not meaning to come across as glib or suggesting for a moment that there wont be sadness and grief. Of course there will. These are life experiences that we all face.

Feeling intense feelings does not mean you can’t also be okay and find contentment.

That may seem surprising.Instead of asking ‘why me?’ perhaps the thing is to say to yourself, ‘why not me?’. And then get on with somehow accepting reality and finding contentment.

Now for a quick note about stress. With all the best will in the world to be content, we will still find that we can get stressed when life happens and things don’t turn out the we thought they would. Do take some time to practice long slow exhalations and ideally yoga, meditation and relaxation or whatever works best for you to counter the stress response.

While stress is a natural response it is not healthy to have those stress hormones running through your body, so it is important for your long term health to figure out some ways of countering it. Please let me know if you need some guidance with this.

Practicing contentment is a choice we can all make. I wish it for you.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

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