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Sonia Carnell

Professor Jamie Chandler

Yoga 1057 007

2017 April 23

Yoga Reflections

1. My yoga asana and meditation practices has helped me gain a better


understanding of my well-being when started to read from various books such as,
Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates, Yoga for Dummies and listening to many
beginning yoga and meditation videos on YouTube.

I learned there are eight main practices of yoga. These are Bhakti, Karma, Jnana,
Raja, Laya, Tantra, and Hatha. I tend to like Hatha, Bikram, Kundalini, and Bhakti
Yoga. First, I tried hot Bikram yoga and totally loved the refreshing feeling
afterwards. Second, Im often invited to my friends yoga classes for their Hatha
yoga class. Theses Hatha classes have become a way to be together in community
with them. Third, Kundalini is what we do in class and I try to practice through
meditation and yoga practices. It has expanded my horizon and broken me into new
levels of what is possible to enlightenment, health, and relaxation. Lastly, with
Bhakti Yoga, I have recently learned of this type of yoga from my minister, Matthew
Cockrum at the First Unitarian Church. With this yoga, I dont have to give up my
ideas of a divine being that exists in multiple religious practices.

2. Whenever I find and recognize that I am entangled in negative stress,


yoga and meditation have helped me direct positive thoughts and energies into area
of my body that has the stress response. The positive thoughts seem to be most
helpful with many good, thoughtful self-talk. This is an area, I that I always struggle
with. The recognition of pain and hurting that everyone needs to share through
companionship with others and then turning that around into an energy that creates
a change and helps me to get past this. Such as, We do not need to enter a
showdown with our self-destructive behavior, nor can we deny its existence. We
cannot beat with a baseball bat either. We must simply come to know it and move
on. And then we need to focus wholeheartedly on positive behavior. Written in
Marianne Williamsons A Return to Love

3. My physical health has improved since yoga. I have enjoyed the breathing
exercise of inhaling and lengthening my back and exhaling and tightening by tummy.
This is very good exercise for me because as a taller person, I often slouch. Slouching
is very hard on my shoulders, neck, head and back structures. Also, I have enjoyed
the tree posture as a means to learn how to stand up tall with balance and stability,
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The practice that I learned of keeping head, neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet in
alignment also help with standing up straight. I really find enjoyment with the
cat/cow. It feels good to stretch me back. My dog likes it too because he always
comes over and gives me kisses. That is a nice surprise, a dog loving.

4. My emotional health has improved because I think of yoga combined with


meditation has helped myself from the inside out. In the past I have gone down the
negative hole. I let myself, whether I choose to or not, go down that negative hole,
instead of making the choices that I need to make. The negative hole, I usually call it
my ostrich hole, where it feels as if, I have stuck my head down in a hole in the
desert and wait for someone else or something to decide for me. Life usually always
happens and change does occur, but with or without me is the question? I also
struggle with, do I let myself stay angry and really feel it. How long does it take, to
really learn from this angered response? To ignore is bad also. Now I do yoga and
mentally see my chakras have helped me to notice tensions in my body and then I
try to imagine them being relaxed and happy. Maybe its kind of similar to the
premise of the book, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne? It talks of the law of attractions
and how positive thoughts can cultivate happiness and health.

5. My energy levels have improved dramatically now since I started practicing yoga.
I am a very busy, multi-task person and I think in fact I have become too busy, but
less productive. More energetic and less productive is not a good combination for
me. I have a hard time with setting goals and sticking to them and recognizing my
limits. Now that I have all this energy, its worse. I am butterfly fluttering about. I
have signed up to start a hiking group at church, but do I have time for this? No. I
said yes to three different jobs, at four different locations, and six days a week. This
is good, fun and challenging, but confusing. Lastly, its warm outside again and I
have started digging up the back yard for Xeriscaping. Please, please, no more
energy, I need to find the balance and reign in this energy.

6. In reading about the eight main practices of yoga from above, one of them is
Karma yoga. I have found that very useful yoga when applied to friends, family, and
co-workers. In one such case of a co-worker, I always try to be a cheerful person
and I have this friend that is always grumpy and negative. I try to so hard to cheer
her up and it never ever works. I have tried to move on from being helpful and kind
to her because I feel so bad after being nice and then she lashes out at me. Until, I
read about Karma yoga and how its the practice of cause and effect. The phrase
that I hear so often is, She has bad Karma. I always get mean back. You know,
there is a point of time when I must just realize that I am not the way will help her
move past her negative energy. It is something else, and she has yet to find it. She is
on her own journey. Have you ever met those kinds of people that always need help
but are too stubborn to do the work thats needed? So, in that way, I think she will
learn through Karma, that when she has bad Karma, she will be surrounded in
negative. So I must let her hit her bottom in her lifes journey and let Karma help
her through it.
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7. This term we learned of many basic nutritional facts that helped me. I have
noticed that when I shop now, I must stay away from the middle of the grocery store
and all its processed food sources. The breads, fruit, vegetables, meats, and the
diary departments are along the outside store walls. Also, white it not necessarily
nice. White bread, white flour, white rice, and white sugar are all just bleached
substitutes for the real things. I should be eating whole grain bread, brown rice,
whole-wheat flower, and brown/cane sugar. Lastly, that there are many different
sources for a fat. They come in Omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flaxseed oil),
monounsaturated (olive oil, canola oil), polyunsaturated (vegetable oils), saturated
fatty acids (animal fats, milk), triglycerides (palm or coconut oil), and trans fats
(synthetic oils like Crisco). Generally, I stay away from the trans fats use in cooking
and baking. However, my weak area is remembering that those delicious treats are
often on display at the coffee store. Those goodies contain those yucky trans fats
that I have been trying to avoid.

8. I have found improvement in overall health and my well being by the addition of
more fiber in my diet. I have had a long-standing problem for ten years now of
flatulence. I have an awesome rumbly tummy or motorboat full of noises when I
forget to eat properly. I have tried many different cures, and medications that dont
work exactly. When really right under my nose, there is yet another idea that I
hadnt tried yet. Sure Ive heard of it before, to add more fiber to my diet. You
suggested it in class one day. Then, I read about it more after class and found out
there are many types of fiber such as dietary fiber (soluble & insoluble) and
inherent fiber (whole fruits & vegetables). My current method is a probiotic and
lots of carrots. So it turns out that carrots are part of a group of dietary fiber
sources that are soluble. That is what Im doing; I have increased my high soluble
foods intake in every serving. Also, Im trying more sources than just carrots such as
oatmeal, lentils, apples, oranges, and blueberries.

9. On Spring Break, I also have become hyper aware of my feelings when I went on a
road-trip to Steamboat, Co. I learned that I was away with friends that neither
understood my experience of 40 year old fun or that a vacation in a new place
means actually leaving the hotel room and going out to explore the area. I was very
good at holding my tongue and tried to think before I spoke. This is a kinder
approach than actually speaking in anger. Its just that I didnt do a good job at this,
because I never could speak up for myself. I just didnt say anything and became
mad, frustrated and hyper. After two days, I decided that only I could cure myself
because I hadnt figured out a way to speak up. So I asked them, if theyd mind if I
went for early morning hikes/walks. When I got back at 10am, and they werent
ready yet, it wasnt a big deal anymore. By doing this, I found a way to help myself
get along without letting out the hyper, mad feelings get in the way of a good
vacation with new friends.

10. My yoga practice, I see as a class that has assignments and it is a task that needs
to get done. The assignments are of practicing of yoga, but that being said, I really
like the guided meditations that Ive found on YouTube. I use these meditations
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much more often and have found it necessary to help me keep the negative energy
out of my consciousness that is common since our previous elections. Also, I use the
meditation to help me go to sleep. I have trouble relaxing and staying asleep and I
find I have longer less-disrupted sleep. I use yoga medicinally as a necessary
maintenance that I must do to keep my creaky body happy and pain free.

11. Kundalini yoga and energy body work are basically the summation of this
course. Your Kundalini class has taught me about many different practices within
yoga, such as: Asanas, Chakras, Chanting, Mantras, Mudras, Pranayama, and Sanskrit
language. Those tools can only help me awaken more fully my energy from with in
my body.

12. I find that energy/ astral body and chakras have helped me with my combination
of breathing and visualization practice that I use with either the practice of the
meditation or yoga. I am getting better at remembering all the colors and names
every day. Yesterday, I went to a Mormon funeral and the service had a lot religious
practices that I didnt believe in. I remembered to do some chakra breathing
practices of slowly breathing up and down my spine with focus on my heart and
root chakra. My heart chakra so, I could send love to those that were hurting. My
root chakra so, I could remain grounded in my own beliefs. So in this way, yoga has
become more helpful practice than just learning how to stretch properly.

13. The Western approach to yoga as a physical exercise is the reason I came to
study yoga this term. As I get older, the need for flexibility, balance, and pain relief
are what I need. I practice mainly as a means of physical body maintenance. I must
sit down for my job and for college classes. So, I have enjoyed the requirement of a
regular yoga practice in my schedule because I have a need for movement after all
that sitting. I have not been so good at knowing which poses to do until my body
outwardly shows me through physical pains what poses that I should be working
on.

14. The important insights I have gotten from these meditation practices is a calm
feeling. Its a different state of being almost. I feel that stillness and sense of quiet
like I am totally submerged in water or floating. Also, I feel like me breath stops and
it so quiet. Meditation can be so surreal in that way.

15. I think of yoga now like praying. I know that is a common practice in most
religions but, I have never found the need to. It now feels like prayer to me in a form
that is acceptable. To pray through yoga for the good thoughts, insights, outcomes,
and released tensions is a new revelation for me. I want to explore this aspect more.
Also, I would like to take yoga classes that study the different branches of yoga in
hopes to find which will be the most helpful for me.

16. From just today alone, I integrated yoga practices into my life. I used the theory
of Karma yoga after a phone call from old lady friend of mine that complained and
griped for most of the call. She gave me so much negative energy. So afterwards, I
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decided to replace that energy with some nature and went to sit quietly in my
outside garden. I breathed in deeply and quietly watched the wind rustle in the
trees, and heard the laughing children walk by next to the fence. This helped me
replace that negative energy with a positive one. Then, the next person that I meet
could get a positive experience from me too.