Owner/Instructor Blissful Body Yoga
Teal’s been teaching since 1998 and truly loves it more everyday. This year, she started several projects: two blogs, Blissful Body, on yoga; and another, Daily Gratitude, that focuses on gratitude and mindfulness; and four meditations and yoga classes that are available on YogaDownload.com.
Yoga Style My teaching is a mixture of the many traditions I have studied over the years, particularly Vinyasa, Kripalu, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Kundalini.
In a recent blog post, you talk about lovingkindness meditation. Can you describe how to do it and why it’s great?
Lovingkindness meditation is an amazing place to start a meditation practice. It’s simple, and besides the typical benefits that any form of meditation offers (mental clarity, relaxation, stress relief, etc.) it has the added bonus of being a way to develop a deep sense of gratitude for your life and the people in it. It is a profound way to give back to the Universe and yourself at the same time.
A lovingkindness, or metta, meditation is very simple to do; in it we offer a wish for freedom, happiness, and the cessation of suffering for a particular person, group, or the entire world. A basic Metta meditation for all beings is:
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be free from suffering.
May all beings be at peace.
An example of Metta directed towards a particular person is:
May _________ be happy.
May _________ be free from harm.
May _________ be filled with peace.
You can repeat one, or all three of the phrases over and over, aloud or in your head, for 2-5 minutes while visualizing the person or group you are focusing on, and imagining that you are sending this lovingkindness out to them. Because it can be challenging to focus on and offer this sort of energy to those who we have negative feelings towards, it is recommended that the practitioner proceed by first offering Metta to themselves, then to a benefactor, a friend, a neutral person (bank teller, someone you see on a walk), a difficult person, and finally, All Beings. It is important to start the focus of our practice by offering lovingkindness to ourselves, because only by having a truly deep and abiding love for ourselves can we have this same love for others.
What’s your fave quote so far from your daily gratitude blog?
No one can steal your peace without your permission, for you are the gatekeeper to your bliss.
AT WORK Breathe! I really can’t stress breathing enough. It sounds funny because it is something that we do automatically; the problem is we don’t necessarily do it well automatically. Our breathing is deeply affected by our stress levels and emotions. When we are under pressure, feel threatened or insecure, we begin restricting our breath. Most human beings only use the top third of their lung capacity most of the time. This has astounding impacts on our health and well -being. Learning to breath freely into the entire lungs can really change your life.
This breath fully oxygenates your body, calms your nervous system and boosts your immune system. My Peaceful Pranayama class on yogadownload.com is a great way to learn this breathing technique, plus two more.
[Go here for more on long, deep yogic breathing.]
AT HOME Make the yoga pose Sivasana (corpse pose) a part of your daily routine. In the West we are conditioned to go and go and go until we drop. This is not what the human body or mind were meant to do. We use Sivasana at the end of yoga class to give the body, mind and spirit time to integrate and relax; you can use Sivasana the same way during your day. You can listen to my Sivasana Meditation or Progressive Relaxation on yogadownload.com to learn how to relax your body in this way.
Teal’s Top 3 Inspirational Media
1. Om Namo Bhagavate by Deva Premal. I walked down the aisles of my yoga teacher graduation and my wedding to this song. It always fills me with Spirit.
2. The Eight Human Talents: Restore the Balance and Serenity within You with Kundalini Yoga by Gurmukh. This is a beautiful book on yoga, releasing emotions and living to our fullest potential. I recommend it to my students on a daily basis.
3. Yoga Shakti with Shiva Rae. This is my favorite yoga DVD for home practice. Even on a day when my energy is low Shiva can stir me up and get me back on the mat. She is an awesome and gracious teacher.