June 29, 2012

Yoga & Mindfulness. ~ Shakta Khalsa

I’ve practiced yoga since 1972, and lived in a yogic community for many decades. All of the good that I’ve experienced in my life has come because of my relationship with yoga and meditation, of that I am sure.

When you become aware of yourself from the inside out, when you can learn to change your attitude from something unhappy to happy—this is what is called awareness in yoga, or mindfulness.

The first time I worked with children with yoga and mindfulness I discovered my true love, and it marked the path I would take—becoming a Montessori teacher in 1982 and starting my own school based in yoga, awareness, holistic health and well-being.

In the 90s, I went on to write several yoga books, the first of which was for children called “Fly Like a Butterfly.” After several intensive years of writing, I returned to my first love—children—and founded the Radiant Child Yoga program, which is based on the following excerpt from the training manual:

 “A child is naturally radiant, aware, and full of innocent wisdom. The deeper purpose of teaching children yoga is to help them maintain their natural wisdom and radiance, or if their light has been dulled by events in their lives, to help them regain their inherent state of being.”

In yoga, we talk about being aware and being mindful. Curious to see the similarities and differences in definition, I checked Wikipedia.

Awareness: The state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. According to 20thcentury spiritual writer and leader, Jiddhu Krishnamurti, choiceless awareness is the state of unpremeditated, complete awareness of the present without preference, effort, or compulsion.

Mindfulness: The self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, [followed by] adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance.

In everyday language it can play out this way:

>>Whatever situation you find yourself in, you have thoughts and feelings about it.

>>In being mindful of thoughts and feelings in the moment, you cultivate self-awareness.

>>Self-awareness strengthens focus, which leads to the ability to direct thoughts and feelings.

>>With conscious direction of your thoughts and feelings, you can move into something that feels better.

>>When you feel better, your energetic response, or vibration to life is more positive.

>>When your vibration is positive, you are more closely aligned with your happy, radiant, authentic Self.

>>The energy or vibration you send out is like a signal that attracts other similar frequencies, so your life improves in quality as you attract people and circumstances that are more aligned with your happy, authentic Self.

>>This wonderful chain of events is sparked by simple mindfulness/awareness in the moment!

Shakta has had two big loves for over thirty-five years—children and yoga. She was named one of the top five Kundalini yoga teachers by Yoga Journal, is the founder of Radiant Child Yoga, and author of five books, with one presently in the works. Visit www.childrensyoga.com


 Editor: Anne Clendening

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