40 Day Practice

40 Day Practice

I love a good 40 day practice. I find that the challenge of maintaining pushes me to stay focused and affords a depth of understanding that I can’t achieve without repetitive commitment.  40 days allows me to really experience the impact of the “work” and investigate how it makes me feel in a myriad of moods and states. Here are a few examples that I have committed to over the years:   Kriya Yoga Set (Current 40 Day practice – read more below) Journaling Chanting a specific mantra Seated meditation Abhyanga (Dry Brushing and Oil Massage) Sun Salutations (2, 4, 6 – what number is right for you?) 5 Minutes of Breath work   Currently I am 7 days into a 40 day practice of a Kundalini Yoga Kriya called: Kriya to Make You Enchantingly Beautiful(KTMYEB). The name irks me. So dumb. The Kriya however is a favorite.  One thing I always liked about KTMYE is that it is a perfect 20 minutes – the first 14 minutes are real intense – I am modifying three of the five postures –  then you rest. Over the next 40 days I will get stronger. Modify less. Meditate More. There will be days I hate it. Days I love it. Days I don’t want to do it. Days I do it twice. There will be insight and boredom, excitement and drudgery. Times it will feel like three seconds and others that I swear were hours. What I find is that there is a lot of power in the experience of simply showing up and doing the practice. What type of 40...

WJHL

How to deal with the stress of the holiday season?!?!?! Geez Louise it is always so much fun to talk to Sydney and Amy on WJHL’s Morning News! I think it is so wonderful that the morning news is taking time to inspire its viewers to take care of themselves. So thoughtful, so meaningful. I think self care (which really isn’t about a mani pedi) becomes super duper important at this time of year. It always seems as if there is so much to do and so little daylight to do it in. I swear I am actually solar powered and at this time of year when things get busier my natural inclination (which I sadly cannot give into) is to make a nest and do less. 1. My first suggestion is to remember to BREATHE.  You deserve air! Think of it as a free gift you can give yourself anywhere! Here is a blog post that really goes in depth about the breath, the science behind it, and then offers you several powerful healing practices: http://briannabedigian.com/yoga-as-medicine/ 2. Soothe your body and being by making yourself a warm cuppa ginger tea. This tea is especially helpful if your tummy is having difficulty dealing with all the bounty: http://briannabedigian.com/simple-ginger-tea/ 3. Make simple homemade gifts. If they look homemade, even better. This is a wonderful way to keep costs low and do something meaningful for someone else.  Personally, I love giving and receiving gifts like this. One of my favorite aromatherapy treats is this: http://briannabedigian.com/aromatherapy-i-loveth-you/ Another easy aromatherapy recipe is: A Container (mason jar, milk jar or something like that) Enough...
Smudge Your Cute Self

Smudge Your Cute Self

Geez-Louise what a week. I have had personal things go wrong. I have had personal things go real right. I have had professional things go wrong. Then right. Then wrong. All in a week – up and down, down and up. You spin me right round, baby Right round like a record, baby Right round round round ~ Dead or Alive I have been having a difficult time not blaming this roller coaster on Mercury in Retrograde – Ryan (my super cute husband) teases me about this – but between you and me, I am pretty sure that this week’s turbulence is its fault. What to do? What to do? First, I practice (yoga, chanting, Reiki, breathwork, meditation – every damn day) and then I smudge a lot, often multiple times a day. I started the practice as a way to clear my living space, than it moved into my office. I have even been known to do it outside under the watchful gaze of the sun and the moon. I believe that by bringing the smoke of sacred herbs, resins and woods around me I am able to clear my energy field. And so I do. It is a simple ritual that anyone can employ. Many cultures have used the burning of sacred herbs or wood in some form for millennia. Anthropologists believe that the practice of using sacred smoke for medicinal and spiritual practices dates back to prehistoric times. The Native Peoples are known for their use of white sage in medicinal and spiritual practices. At Catholic Church the priest enter the sacristy with Pontifical Incense (a...
The bitter and the sweet

The bitter and the sweet

I have loved the word bittersweet since I first encountered it. I find that it describes the ebb and flow of life – also known as the flipping roller coaster of life –  perfectly.  So bitter that it bites. So sweet that it is like the first taste of nectar on the tip of your tongue. Life is more often than not a balance of opposites. Laughter through tears is something that I have experienced more times than I can count. So many feelings. Like a friend said to me once: “Brianna, you have feelings about your feelings.” July started with a beautiful bang. A book tour the length of the Maine Coast with workshops, readings and signings. My husband and I having downtime in between. My beautiful dog in her favorite place. My parents. My healing house. All good things. Delicious things really. But then life tilted and my ground shifted. In the very midst of all this beauty, joy and gratitude I had to put my beloved Shanti-dog down.  One minute soaring, the next on my knees. I will write more about my Shanti-girl at a later point. She deserves her very own post but, I know you hear me when I say: its all too close right now. My grief is too heavy on me to really do her powerful being justice. This post is about the choice I had to make about my own behavior. It is always a choice and it is mine alone to make. Two options were clearly in front of me when this drama/trauma started. I could have either gone kicking...
How Yoga has the power to change you

How Yoga has the power to change you

My favorite healing story about Yoga didn’t happen to me or one of my students, it happened to a guard assigned to me at The Baltimore Museum of Art where I ran an in-gallery yoga program.  Over the course of 8 years I taught in every part of the BMA’s beautiful collections.  My yoga rooms there were filled with priceless art – Botticelli, Warhol, Calder, Degas, Matisse – and because of the art a guard was assigned to observe the classes in order to make sure no one damaged an object. I went through three guards at first. They weren’t the right fit. The women (who made up the majority of classes) were uncomfortable with being watched. I mean who can really blame them?  It was the fourth guard, who I am going to call Melinda, that was the right fit and we worked together for the remaining years of the program. Thing was though Melinda wasn’t really having a great time at the BMA.  In fact at the time she was struggling with coworkers and attitudes and the culture in general. But I liked her and she liked me and most importantly my students were comfortable with her watching them in order to protect the art.  I asked that she be assigned to the class permanently and lucky for both of us, she was. Years rolled by. Many, many classes later I noticed that Melinda started to do some of the movements when we were standing – in her guard’s uniform, shoes on, walkie-talkie and all. That she held her belly and breathed deep when we did. That...
Create a Retreat for Yourself

Create a Retreat for Yourself

Going on a retreat can do wonders for your spirit. There is something powerful about all that space and time dedicated to one’s practice that creates a depth to the work. When I think of retreating, I think of turning inwards, time for silence, simple food, flowing through postures, my breath moving in and out, sunlight, salt water, and lavender scented sheets. Retreat isn’t just one thing – it is a layering of many small things to create an environment infused with healing. Sadly, retreats are not cheap and while I understand the reason for it, it makes it awfully cost prohibitive for the typical yogi to experience. Although I have been lucky enough to go on several extended retreats – they are far and few between. About ten years ago I started creating retreat days for myself and now I do them monthly, usually over a weekend. On those days, I retreat from my typical activities of hustle and bustle and choose to immerse myself in my practice. I eat simply, I rest and I create an environment of healing in my own home. These days have become a touchstone and an important anchor to my practice. To prepare: Clear your calendar for the day/weekend/week that you choose to retreat. Clean Your House. Clean sheets. Clean Tub. Dishes done. Groceries (stock-up on simple and nutritious food) Create a schedule of several classes or workshops – building yourself a full day immersion (sometimes all at one studio, sometimes at several studios) Arrange flowers and create a space of healing for your beautiful self – even if it is just...