Who is Ganesha?
What does he symbolize?
In Indian deities like Ganesha are representative of traits or goals that us mere mortals may wish to embody. They (the deities) are often representative of values or potential we wish to create within or for ourselves.
There are 32 forms and importance is given to the posture of Ganesha and the position of his trunk.
He may be seated, standing, dancing and his trunk may be facing straight, left or right. Each has some form of symbolism and meaning for the devotee.
Typically Ganesha is depicted with an elephants head – having a trunk, big ears and a big head. His mouth is small and he has one full tusk and one broken tusk. The broken tusk may be held in his lower right hand.
He is often shown with 4 arms, a big pot belly, one leg grounded on the Earth and the other leg crossed or folded up.
You might note Ganesha has small eyes and a third eye.
He is also often shown with a variety of different animals and other items:
Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day Hindu festival celebrated to honour the elephant-headed God Ganesha's birthday. Ganesh Chaturthi is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi. The date of the celebrations is based on the cycle of the moon. It falls on the fourth day after the new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada and can begin in August or September.
This year Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations begins on the 2nd September.
Interesting fact about Ganesh Chaturthi is that the sighting of the moon is discouraged. Sighting the moon may result in a curse of dishonor in society and being labelled as one who steals. Of course this curse can be lifted by chanting:
“Simhah Prasenamavadhitsimho Jambavata Hatah।
Sukumaraka Marodistava Hyesha Syamantakah॥“
How can we use him in our practice?
Bring your palms to touch in Anjali Mudra. Keep your elbows lifted – avoid dropping them to the waist. This is a shoulder, chest and arm strengthening mudra. It can be beneficial for opening the heart chakra.
Then swivel your hands so that your fingertips point toward opposite elbows, with your right palm facing your heart.
Bend your fingers and slide your hands across each other until your fingers lock.
Repeat on the other side.
Om gam ganapatayei namaha
Tea Leaf reading was introduced into Europe from China in the 17th Century. Throughout the 1800’s it grew in popularity as nomadic gypsies travelled telling fortunes using tea leaf reading as a means of divination to make a living.
Tea leaf reading uses symbols in the residue left in the bottom a tea cup. Reading symbols or symbology can actually take many forms and not limited to tea leaf reading. Symbology makes sense of form, either objects, actions or even words and gives them a contextual meaning or value depending on the situation or even question being asked.
Interpreting symbols is subjective to the person who is reading them and involves being able to read the patterns of symbols. Tea Leaf reading is just one method of reading symbols and patterns and can be learned by anyone.
Tea Leaf reading requires tapping into your psychic intuition. At a recent workshop with Kate Denning of the Rendezvous Tea Room, in Woollongabba I had the pleasure of learning more about tea leaf reading.
According to Kate, Tea Leaf reading has a wonderful and eclectic history in Brisbane which she discusses in detail in her 2019 published book titled The A-Z of Tea Leaf Reading.
Tea Leaf Reading is a form of divination I have always wanted to learn more about and attending Kate’s 2 hour workshop I was able to learn the basics of reading my own leaves, along with practicing on a fellow workshop participant.
While I found reading for myself difficult, I discovered my ability to read for another person was extremely easy, accurate and a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to continuing to develop my skills in this area of divination and have since had a few interesting experiences with readings.
From my own perspective reading my own tea leaves has a lot to do with mindset, clear intention and the particular type of tea leaf used. Kate outlined a basic method which I have been following along with adding my own individual style to it. So far my readings have been for myself but now I am ready to branch out and try it on others. If you are looking for something fun and different and you are keen to my guinea pig please contact me at the Cottage and we can arrange a Tea Leaf Reading session so I can practice.
Life, according to YinYang theory can be explained by the interaction of Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine). They are cyclic in nature and are constantly changing within nature and also within ourselves. At different phases of our life we may find that either one may be more dominate then another however one energy may form our underlying characteristic. Ultimately in life we aim for balance but one characteristic tends to give rise to our personality, physical appearance and physiological characteristics. This concept is similar to Ayuverdic medicine and the theory of the Doshas.
Knowing and understanding your characteristic according to YinYang theory can support you in finding balance.
Yin people tend to be more introverted, relaxed, embrace a sense of creative easily and may be more persistent.
Yang people are more action takers, ambitious, extrovert and get easily excited.
Yang people are easily angered, prone to headaches, insomnia, find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time and may be prone to addiction.
Yin personalities are prone to signs of excess such as oversleeping, overeating, weight gain and over thinking.
Based on activity preferences Yin people may be attracted to yoga, meditation, golf, fishing and other slower activities while Yang people may be runners, attracted to more aerobics or cardio based sports or adventure seekers.
Yin personalities prefer cool, sweet foods while Yang personalities might prefer hot, spicy and savoury foods.
It stands to reason that nothing is absolute with regards to YinYang theory. In fact understanding YinYang theory does require a deviation from a Western way of thinking. An oriental perspective requires seeing that both Yin and Yang are intertwined and that there is an endless flow between the two. One may transform into the other at various times during our lives. This can occur daily or we may idle in one energy for longer. The seasons may even affect how you interact with each.
To understand which is more dominate for you I suggest sitting in reflection on whether you are currently fighting or blending with your current state of feeling. What irritates you? Cold weather or Hot weather? Do you normally prefer cooling food or spicy food? Does your body respond to exercise? Or can you maintain your weight even while practicing slower less cardio activities? You will find that your body seeks balance.
If you have a sluggish metabolism your body will probably respond to exercise although you still have to work at weight loss if you are predominantly yin. An active metabolism is probably a more Yang based characteristic.
This is a very basic thought process regarding YinYang theory however might help you determine your dominating energy.
we Over Easter I attended a camp about 2 hours away from home. This was a big deal for me because I was venturing out of my comfort zone and jumping into a brand new community.
The Five elements are a conceptual framework to understanding the human body and the relationship we have with the macrocosms (world outside of us) and microcosms (world within ourselves). The Five Elements move medicine from the realm of the unexplained to a place of observing nature within our own body. In doing this we can move to a place of health by working with the natural order of the universe.
One of the core precepts of working with the Five Elements is the observation of the seasons. Each element has a corresponding season:
Metal = Autumn
Water = Winter
Wood = Spring
Fire = Summer
Earth = A time of transitions between seasons (or Indian Summer – hottest part)
Each season and subsequently the elements are associated with particular qualities. These qualities are intertwined and while considered separate from each other ultimately form the whole. One season moves into the next to form a picture of the year.
Using the Five Elements we gain an appreciation of disease created in the body and the management of these diseases to promote healing. The physiological relationship of the elements is important for keeping balance of the other. It is in noting this that we move from a massage session such as Shiatsu just band aiding the symptoms to a comprehensive treatment that repairs the root cause of the problem.
The original model of the Five Elements recognised the Earth Element as being at the very centre of the relationship. The Earth Element is responsible for nourishing and supporting all the other elements. Being at the centre the Earth Element is the communicator between all the elements and therefore we see it as supporting the transition between the seasons. When Earth Element is imbalanced the impact on the entire body is felt. The body cannot support itself when the Earth Element is unstable and meridians, organs and the body systems do communicate effectively resulting in disease physically and emotionally.
Each element flows seamlessly into the other when Earth is in balance. We note that wood flows into fire, fire moves through earth which flows onto metal, metal generates the water and water nourishes the wood.
As the elements correspond with the seasons we can observe that imbalances of the elements may be aggravated at certain times of the year. It’s not uncommon for the water element to be disrupted during winter resulting in an inability for a natural flow of existence to occur within our body. In fact we are more likely to want to huddle into our houses, rug up and not move as much in winter. If our water element is not balanced this desire is more likely aggravated resulting in loss of the will to leave the house and a building sense of dread and fear. We may also experience symptoms of burn out from over action and this may go onto affect us physically. Issues with urination, coldness in hands and feet, hair loss and even lower back pain could be acerbated in winter.
Imbalances in an element are oftentimes more prevalent during the corresponding season and will have specific signs that point to the root cause of the problem. Of course imbalances are not always easy to detect when we are so disconnected from our body.
In many causes clients will only consult a practitioner when in crisis. They have had a cascade of symptoms over a long period of time and may have already seen numerous doctors and practitioners before consulting a practitioner versed in Five Elements theory.
Regular self-care in the form of massage and yoga can be highly beneficial in support early detection of element imbalances and may even prevent imbalances from advancing to a point of disease.
Life is constantly about finding the harmony within our body while living in the external world. I believe that regular activities involving massage, movement and meditation with a mindful attitude can support a connection on the macrocosmic and microcosmic level. We need to find the harmony in both and shiatsu, yoga, exercise and meditation have helped me personally. Now I want to share that with you.
If you are ready to learn more contact me for your complimentary chat on how I can help you regain balance, find your happiness in life and remain healthy.
Lately I have been considering the timing of yoga classes. Specifically I have been asking:
Is 75 minutes too long for a yoga class?
Are we just too busy to take 60 minutes or more for ourselves?
Where did the concept for longer classes come from?
What is the benefit of 75 minute session?
AND Is any class less than 60 minutes’ worth attending?
I have been facilitating 75 minute yoga classes since I gained my yoga instructor certificate back in 2010. Over the years I have changed my classes and run 60 minute sessions and in fact I currently facilitate a Restorative class on a Monday night that goes for one hour.
Repetitively I have considered changing all my yoga classes to 60 minutes or even shorter, particularly when I see other yoga classes popping up all around our local area offering classes that are advertised for 45 minutes. At times when I have low numbers I consider that the longer times are prohibitive for our busy mindset. I also wonder if my classes are too costly for the local demographic but given that the 45 minute classes are advertised at $10 and I am still charging $13.50 per class (when you purchase 10 classes) I figure my prices are probably way too low for 60 – 75 minute classes.
With these thoughts constantly going through my head, I decided I need to do some meditation, and some research on the benefits of longer classes and why did I start teaching classes for 75 minutes. Mostly I want to ensure that I am not regurgitating someone else’s belief system and if I am do my own beliefs and values align with that way of thinking still.
Here is what I discovered about the timing of group yoga practices.
Origins of Yoga PracticesHistorically if we look at some of the more traditional yoga practices such as Ashtanga Yoga which was founded in the 1940’s we see that practices are designed for a 90 minute session.
The Ashtanga Primary Series which often begins with a sun salutation is made up of repetitive sequences that may take up to 90 minutes to complete. Of course I am not trained in Ashtanga yoga but from my research it seems this would be the most logically explanation to begin answering my why are traditional classes over 60 minutes in length.
Even the Bikram yoga, founded in 1970 offers 90 minute classes that follow a specific sequence of yoga asana.
Other traditional yoga styles such as Iyengar Yoga and even the more modern form of restorative yoga tend to have longer options of classes lasting anywhere form 75 minutes up to 2 hours.
A move to shorter classesIt seems that with the introduction of yoga to the Western world we have truly begun to adapt and modify our practices to suit our lifestyles.
Our lives are certainly far busier than they were 20 years ago and we seem to be more at the mercy of technology which makes being busy easy. I have to wonder if this has been the reason for a move to shorter classes.
Good business people move with the times and I guess it makes logical business sense that yoga studios and yoga business owners would meet the demand of busy consumers and provide services that support that demand. If numbers are dwindling in longer classes then why not offer shorter classes at times people are more likely to get too. For example in the cities 45 minute lunch yoga classes are available in plentiful numbers. Even I found myself recently offering a 45 minute mum’s and bub’s class to cater for the busy mum juggling babies and older kids. Mind you this was more a sanity choice than a business choice – some of them little ones cannot stretch their little attention spans out past 30 minutes let alone pushing them for 75 minutes. Oh and the sanity is as much for mum as for me (insert cringe worthy grin here).
Shorter classes also mean cheaper fees – well at least I would think so. Many of the shorter classes I have seen advertised are often $10 or under to attend. Being a business owner I am not sure how they meet costs unless of course that is the pay off – shorter classes could result in rooms full of busy people and this cannot be a bad thing because at least those busy people are making that 45 minutes dedicated just for themselves.
But what about the benefits of 75 minute classes?
Mastering the Asana but what about the RestIn encouraging busy people to get onto the mat shorter classes might certainly win but I would be interested in knowing how well rounded the practiced in a shorter practice is.
Definitely studies have shown 12 minutes of consistent mindfulness practice even over short periods of time are highly beneficial for changing neural pathways but can a short yoga asana class equate to 12 minutes of mindfulness?
Yoga has this wonderful ability at fostering mindfulness and leading us into practices of deeper self-inquiry and self-appreciation. Surely one would think that a longer practice would increase the opportunity for re-patterning and resetting the cellular memory?
Of course I am open to hear form someone who might regularly attend these shorter classes to determine their motivation and intention for classes. It might well be that someone attending the 75 minute class only comes for a physical activity and the self-enquiry part be damned.
What about the favourite bits - Active Relaxation and Meditation
Now surely if one was going to attend a regular yoga class there would be an expectation of a meditation or active relaxation at the end? I know whenever I have left out a full 15 minutes of active relaxation at the end of a class I feel like I am ripping my clients off. This could just be my own projection here because I absolutely LOVE the bit at the end where we do nothing – no movement, no brain work, just pure relaxation.
In fact if we look at the historic reasoning how the yoga asana came about it was to enhance the effectiveness of mediation. The original Guru’s of yoga would sit for hours at a time in meditation only to find that the body began to seize up. Yoga Asana was designed to complement the long periods of sitting and what they found was a more enhanced meditation. In my head I see a physical practice vital for the creation of space in the mind through mediation.
This makes me now wonder if a shorter class includes all the yummy bits of a yoga practice like pranayama and meditation. I guess I might need to explore this topical a little bit further as I seem to have developed more questions than answers. One thing is for sure at the moment I prefer my offerings of 60 – 75 minute yoga classes, for myself and for clients.
In that time I feel I am able to experience and offer a well-rounded practice where yoga can be fully appreciated and explored. How do you feel about it? I would love to hear.
Using Castor Oil
Most of traditional use for castor oil is based on folk medicine and anecdotal evidence. There are some studies that have demonstrated castor oil to be a powerful anti-inflammatory.
In ancient times castor oil was used to initiate labour, as a laxative, wound healer and for skin tonification.
Castor oil comes from seeds of the ricinus communis plant found in India, parts of Africa and Asia. The seeds themselves cannot be consumed as they are highly toxic, however pressing the ripe seeds produces an oil which has many known uses.
The main compound found in castor oil is ricinoleic acid (RA) which is demonstrated to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It is highly recommended that when using castor for the first time you choose an organic cold-pressed brand. There have been reports of allergic reaction and some suggest that the method of extraction and / or the origin of the seeds to be the cause.
Always perform a spot test before using any topic or internal product for the time to ensure no allergic reactions occur.
Make Your Own Castor Oil Pack
You will need:
How to put it all together:
Best Time to Use Castor Oil Packs
If trying to conceive use between day 1 and ovulation of your menstrual cycle.
The heat pack will assist with menstrual pain, stimulate circulation, aid in detoxification of the body and break down adhesions and scar tissue.
Ash, Michael 2013, The Forgotten Therapeutic Applications of Castor Oil, Clinical Education viewed October 2018
Blake, Clare, 2015 Fertility Massage Handbook, Fertility Massage Therapy
Produces Mucus for protection and reproduction - The cervix produces mucus in the endocervix. The mucus protects the uterus from bacterial infection. However it is also highly effective at stopping sperm from entering the uterus.
Thankfully the body is designed for reproductive purposes and every month around ovulation the mucus changes. Throughout the menstrual cycle it is possible to notice these changes. At certain times you will notice the mucus to be thicker and other times it will be thinner.
The thinner mucus allows sperm to pass into the uterus where conception can occur.
Supports Passage of Sperm into Uterus – Besides changing the mucus consistency to support conception, the cells of endocervix also projects hairlike structures called cilia that along with the thinner mucus help facilitate the movement of sperm through the cervix canal.
Gateway during menstruation and birth - Each month during menstruating age, most women will experience a shedding of the uterus lining. The lining passes through the cervix on its release from the body.
During labour and birth, the cervix widens (dilates) to allow the passage of a baby through the birth canal.
Facts about the Cervix and Cervical Mucus
Blake, Clare, 2018 Fertility Massage Handbook, Fertility Massage Therapy, UK
Canadian Cancer Society, 2018 Anatomy and Physiology of the Cervix
view online October 2018 http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/cervical/cervical-cancer/the-cervix/?region=on
Marquette University, 2018 Monitoring Your Cervical Mucus, Marquette University viewed online October 2018 https://nfp.marquette.edu/monitor_cervical_mucus.php
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2014 The Uterine Cervix, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. viewed online October 2018 https://www.britannica.com/science/uterine-cervix
Thompson, Louisa, 2017 The Cervix, Teach Me Anatomy The Teach Me Series, viewed online October 2018 https://teachmeanatomy.info/pelvis/female-reproductive-tract/cervix/
Namaste, my name is Deborah. I am the creator behind Mindful Living Matters. Remaining in the present moment continues to be challenging even with years of experience and knowledge. It does, however get easier with practice. We may slip, we may fall, but if we never give up the space between each mindful moment gets smaller. This online journal is a little about my reflective mind and the struggles I have with staying mindful. I will share snippets of my journey along with information relevant to the tools I have experienced in my travels to coming back to the present moment. I look forward to continuing my journey and sharing my path to happiness, health and harmony.