Claudia Ghetu WELLness

The Wisdom of Ancient Science for Advanced Healing and Transformation


‘Finding YOU. Escaping Mental & Cultural Hijacking and Finding What You Are NOT.’

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“With sustained effort and sincerity, discipline, and self-control, the wise become like islands, which no flood can overwhelm.” – From the Dhammapada; Sayings of The Buddha 

“One has nothing until one has come face to face with oneself.” —Tibetan Saying

These Top-10 Resolutions are the initial chapters of my future book, based on and inspired by the revered Buddhist and Vedantic ancient texts and the honored guru-disciple teachings on mind training and spiritual development through self-awareness. 

TOP 10 Life-Changing Mind-Spirit Resolutions

1 Commit to determining your ultimate life goal NOW, and to living a fully self-authentic, non-egotistic, more purposeful and spiritually (rather than materially) driven life. 

2 Ask yourself ‘Who am I really, and who do I aspire to become?’ Then pick an inspirational role model who changed the world for the better and emulate their scope and actions. Post their quotes or photos as a daily reminders, and read about them often. 

3 Set a self improvement non-altruistic goal each month and set out to accomplish it. The goal in life is to keep changing, and that means changing for the better. 

4 Start leading by example today! As the timeless saying goes, if you want to change the world, change yourself. Be helpful to others, and perform an act of kindness every day (great antidote for anxiety and depression).

5 Make time every day to expand your wisdom and knowledge by studying the great masterminds of history; especially the ancient philosophers and spiritual humanists like Buddha, Mother Theresa, Meister Eckhart, Decartes, Gandhi, etc. (Observe #7 and you will have time). 

6 Make time weekly for solitude, self-reflection and mindfulness. Learn just to be, and not just be thinking! Begin cultivating silence, and increasing your ‘silent alone time’ each week. This includes disconnecting from all devices (texting doesn’t qualify for being silent even though you are not speaking). 

7 Do not waste your time in idle activities. Cut 50 to 75% of your activities (especially social outings). Instead engage in mind expanding, spiritually uplifting endeavors (studying a classic text on Buddha’s teachings, or reading the Upanishads) and partake in some kind of creative activity, like photography or journaling. (Not fishing, or anything that harms/exploits living beings). 

8 Choose your environment mind-fully! Eliminate mental hijacking by minimizing media or news exposure, especially social media. Stay away from negative people, aggressive auditory or visual imprints!

9 Opinions are like poisoned arrows. Don’t give them and don’t go seeking them out. Learn to develop and use your own mind and intuition.  Stop looking around for help, and look within!

10 Meditate daily, and go for nature walks in serene uncrowded environments. Find a local Buddhist meditation center or yoga studio offering Yogic meditation, and practice in a group once a week. Enjoy a ‘walking meditation.’ Don’t listen to music. Just listen to your incoming and outgoing breath. BE. IN. SILENCE.

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Pratyahara: What Do You See When You Look In The Mirror? (Part 1)

The world is just a mirror, and you are part of its reflection. But, you have a choice…

Much like the familiar adage, ‘the world is but a stage…and we all play a part,’ you are born to play a specific ‘life role’ according to your prenatal resources and background. However, as much as your role is already shaped according to the pre-determined environment you are born into, you do inevitably get to choose HOW you play your part! Just as you can rightfully choose what the mirror which you are holding reflects back at you!

girl looking in mirrorSo, what do YOU see when you look in your mirror? Or better yet, what does your mirror reflect besides your Self? When you hold a mirror to your face, you see yourself, yes, but you also see what surrounds you in the background. You cannot just see your reflection without having your immediate environment reflect behind you. It is impossible to separate the two.  But it is possible to consciously develop the will and ability to erase the mirror images! There is an ancient yogic technique which completely enables you to physiologically disconnect from your immediate sensory environment. To shut off your senses so to speak, and draw within.  Like  a turtle consciously withdraws inside its shell. It is known as Pratyahara, part of the Raja Yoga Himalayan tradition, and is translated as ‘interiorization’ or ‘withdrawal of the senses.’ In our modern age, to be able to go within at will and bi-pass the stressful assault on our senses, and therefore gain control over the reflections of our own mirror, is absolutely necessary to our sanity and survival.

Likewise, who we are, what we think, how we behave and live our lives is a direct reflection of our environment. What does your immediate environment reflect back at you? Who are YOU in context to how and where you live, and who you associate yourself with on a daily basis? What are the vibrations surrounding you and shaping your character, moods, habits, and your overall physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing? Are you overly concerned with your status or appearance, and secretly worry about your ‘social image’ and how others perceive you? Ask yourself why. Pause for a moment. What is lurking in the background of your mirror? It is those very images reflecting in your background that are influencing your behavior, thoughts, and the future steps you will take on your life’s journey. It is good to stop from time to time and evaluate the direction you are heading into, and make sure it is a path that you have chosen of your own accord. Not because someone else has influenced you ‘to play your part’ a certain way. This can be the result or cost of your happiness.

There is a famous Gaugain painting entitled “Who are We, Where Do We Come From, Where Are We Going?” considered by many to be his masterpiece. I can say that this painting has influenced my entire life, the quintessential titular questions written on this colorful canvas resonating like an echo through eternity, depicting the stages of human life from birth until death.  It embodies everything that great prophets, historians, philosophers, scientists, and entire civilizations have tried to capture, unearth, and express in one form or another. I myself became a student of art history and philosophy, with the insatiable scope of peering beyond the external lens of life – what the Hindu sages called the ‘lila’ or ‘play of life’ –  to find the deeper meaning of it all, and what is so subtly hidden behind our material existence. To find the answers to these questions and to experience first hand the primordial noble truths unveiled by these answers, has been and continues to be my life’s mission. I began to study the Bhaghavad Gita and Upanishads, Buddhism, Zen, Judaic and Early Christian mysticism and history, and eventually settled on the deep studies of the Vedas (Hindu Scriptures) and the ancient science of Yoga (not the yoga practiced in yoga studios!), as practiced by the rishis of India since time immemorial. I better understand now, as I have always  intrinsically knew and suspected, there lies something much, much greater below the surface of our mundane existence, which once pursued and unearthed will grant us the ultimate fulfillment. In order to find out who we are, where we come from, and where we are going – to get to the root of fully comprehending our true purpose and identity – we must remove all that is not US in the mirror, so that we no longer reflect anything but the Self. The yogis call it the Atman, the Higher Self or the Soul.

Back to the mirror you are holding, and the ‘play’ of your life. If you clearly know where you are headed and feel a keen sense of purpose and gratitude driving you to fully express who you truly are, then your mirror reflection is now only reflecting YOUR WILL. You are ONE with the mirror. In fact you have become the mirror itself. You choose what is reflected by the glass; it no longer chooses to imprint on you. Likewise, if you feel that something or someone else is driving or controlling your physical and emotional wellbeing and life choices then you must change your environment to reflect what YOU need and desire.

Paramahansa Yogananda said, “environment is stronger than will power” …you want to change, change your environment! If you live in a tranquil environment, you will likewise reflect and embody tranquility. If you mix with individuals who are anxious or tense, and live in a stressful environment, you will inevitably be a reflection of that environment.  Your instincts, perceptions, and lifestyle patterns are a direct reflection of your environment. If you listen to the news regularly –  the elaborate, overly dramatized, and graphic reports of never ending political chaos, natural and man-made atrocities and disasters  – your life and your consciousness, will inadvertently reflect those seeds of fear, anxiety and uncertainty that were implanted within your psyche. It is easy to become passive and convince ourselves that we are a product of, and intrinsically linked with our environment, that we cannot escape the world around us, and therefore we have no choice but to be part of it. But our level of participation is optional.  We can observe with keen discrimination what is around us, yet not choose to participate. We can engage or disengage. We can use the principles of Pratyahara and its various derivative forms which have always been an integral practice of Ayurveda, and have full sensory control of what we allow to affect or disturb us. Eventually, through this practice, which harnesses a superior sense of self-awareness, we may choose to explore how to completely remove ourselves from the ‘lila.’ First we have to be brave and fully willing to pursue that route – the route of willful detachment from that which is NOT us –  and bipass or ego, self-denial, and various social and material addictions that are always pulling us back like magnets.  In time, as we declare our ultimate freedom and are no longer enslaved by our environment we will realize that we can rightfully CHOOSE the images, stories, and dogmas that filter through our consciousness, rather than allow the reflections to choose and define us. Mental and emotional hijacking as I call it, is an option, not a decree. In other words, you have the right to control what you see in your mirror!

In Part 2 of this essay, I will list a Pratyahara Check-Off List, and Daily Pratyahara & Meditation Techniques which one can employ, anytime, anywhere. What you will see in your mirror as a result of these practices, and the after effects of cultivating this practice, will have a far reaching life-changing effect on your psyche, and understanding of WHO YOU ARE. A workshop will follow, and I hope that everything you read and learn will be beneficial to your happiness and Self-Realization!

 

 


ANAHATA NADA-RAJA YOGA AUGUST 8/5/17 CALABASAS WORKSHOP

ANAHATA NADA-RAJA YOGA IS THE YOGA OF HEALING THE MIND AND BODY THROUGH THE HEART. Join me for a Transformational Spiritual & SELF Healing YOGA & MEDITATION 4 HR. Workshop on Aug. 5, 2017 in Calabasas!

TO SIGN UP PLEASE EMAIL ME AT CLAUDIAGHETUWELLNESS@GMAIL.COM

IMG_0222“In the Anahata Chakra (physical heart, and ‘heart energy’ center) we hear Anāhata Nāda, the constant, fundamental sound of the Universe, the eternal vibration of the Self. Its sound is SO HAM – “That I am, I am That”. We perceive it as a subtle rhythmic melody similar to a heartbeat, but much softer and more wonderful.

“ANAHATA= HEART, “UNHURT, UNSTRUCK, UNBEATEN”

NADA = THE SACRED PRIMODIAL SOUND PERMEATING THE UNIVERSE

RAJA YOGA = THE “ROYAL” PATH YOGA PATH FOLLOWED BY THE ANCIENT SAGES OF INDIA

MOST PEOPLE IN THE WEST KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT THE TRUE SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF HATHA YOGA. WESTERN YOGA TEACHERS SELDOM KNOW OR TEACH THESE TECHNIQUES. AS A YOGINI AND PASSIONATE PRACTITIONER OF ANCIENT YOGA, I AM COMMITTED TO BRINGING THESE TEACHES TO LIGHT AS THEY WERE ORIGINALLY INTENDED TO BE TAUGHT BY THE TIMELESS YOGIS AND RISHIS OF INDIA. ARE YOU READY TO EXPERIENCE THE TRUE TRANSFORMATIONAL AND HEALING POWER OF CLASSICAL HATHA AND RAJA YOGA?

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

*This is so much more than a 4 hour workshop! In the future, I will be providing regular workshops with this one serving as a foundation for all future teachings! It will serve as a valuable transformational platform in shifting and re-aligning your from the INSIDE OUT – balancing and purifying your physical and energy body and the entire nervous system, your psychic and subtle energy centers which connect to and affect all the organs in the body, and providing you the essential mind-body-spirit blueprint for continual healing and purification, which you can apply in your daily life! Most of the practices will have immediate effects. With prolonged use and the practice of these techniques you will become healthier, stronger rejuvenated (yes, it means younger!), and emotionally and spiritually anchored and self-aware. You will have the most powerful tools to deal with pain, physical ailments, emotional instability,  stress, negativity, and the chaos of daily living.

*Learn and experience the advanced self-healing and purification techniques from the original system of Hatha Yoga, the precursor “mind-body energy cleansing” system to the deeper meditational practices of Raja Yoga – as a tool for removing “samskaras,” deeply ingrained negative imprints or energy blocks which manifest as physical, psychological, and spiritual disease – rebalancing and recharging prana shakti (Qi energy) through the body’s main energy channels (nadis). Experience the transformational power of true yoga!

*Through hatha and kriya pranayama (breathing), mudras (sacred hand gestures to balance energy), gentle asanas (body postures), mantras and self-healing affirmations, culminating in nada yoga (listening to the inner sacred sound), and using “bija” sounds that activate the chakras and send vital prana to the main organs, you will experience the deepest state of stillness and peace, culminating in a final guided Raja yoga meditation for optimal healing.

*In the end, everyone will experience a deeply healing and calming tuning forks sound treatment in Shivasana, to repair DNA, balance the nervous system, and receive the primodial OM vibration through their body, the CG tuning fork frequency made especially to balance and heal the ANAHATA Heart Chakra! Tuning Forks enable one to experience states of deep relaxation in seconds, reduce stress instantaneously, increase blood flow, enhance immune response, fully integrate body & mind, and transcend to higher levels of consciousness. 

IFKOD00ZTo read more about the essence of Anahata and Nada Yoga, and Dr. Deepak Chopra’s account of this deeply transformational ancient practice of listening to the primodial sound vibration  – what I call the original music therapy! including the meaning of RAJA YOGA – please click the article here!

WORKSHOP DETAILS

TIME: 12AM-4PM

LOCATION:  Barre Body Pilates, 3840 Old Topanga Cyn. Rd Calabasas, CA

COST: $90 Per person; $10 OFF  for you and your friend (if you bring a guest), 15% off for all SRF Members and Students.

EXTRA TEACHING BONUS:

  1. I will share some Pranic Healing and Energtic Self-Protection techniques you can apply on yourself
  2. Everyone will receive a copy of the chakra/bija sounds, healing affirmations, mantras, and other valuable written information.

YUMMY TREAT: Everyone will be treated by one of my delicious vegan protein power smoothies & another special treat at the end!

(Private sessions are always available by appointment where we address specific issues, and use personalized healing, yoga treatments, and Ayurvedic counseling which includes nutritional coaching.)


YOGA FOR HEALTH: THE BENEFITS OF YOGA THERAPY

Here is a selection of recent articles and medical publications that give insight into the enormous health benefits of yoga as a healing modality – reflecting the growing evidence-based medical and scientific research of this practice. Yoga is not exercise. Yoga as traditionally designed is a science. When used in its full therapeutic context, incorporating the various mind-body modalities which fall under the category of ‘yoga’– the results are often superior to other alternative treatments, and increase the effects of medical traditional treatments.09-gentle

In her review, Dr. Tiffany Field, Director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, provides a fascinating overview of the effect of yoga on anxiety and depression, pain, cardiovascular, autoimmune and immune conditions and on pregnancy.

“It seems apparent that yoga provides broad ranging healthcare benefits for mind and body. It may be practiced to maintain health, reduce particular symptoms, commonly associated with skeletal pain, and assisting in pain relief and enhancing emotional wellbeing.”

Another study, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, examined the effect of yoga on lower back pain. Dr. Padmini Tekur and colleagues from the Division of Yoga & Life Sciences at the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation (SVYASA) carried out a 7-day control trial at a holistic health center in India, with 80 patients who have chronic lower back pain. They assigned patients to one of two groups – yoga therapy and physical therapy. Their results showed that practicing yoga is more effective than physical therapy at reducing pain, anxiety and depression, and improving spinal mobility. (Original full-length article available on Elsevier.com)

 

WHAT IS YOGA THERAPY?  (published in Yoga Journal)

Yoga therapy is typically conducted one-on-one or in small groups. Often, a session more closely resembles an appointment with a physical therapist or rehabilitation specialist than it does a typical yoga class. What sets this healing modality apart from others is the focus on linking movement to deep, rhythmic breathing. Another difference is the emphasis on relaxation. In fact, when someone is gravely ill or in pain, a therapist may suggest that the entire practice consist only of breath awareness and relaxation until the patient is ready to tackle more. Supported poses which work immediately calm the nervous system alleviate pain, inflammation, and tension. This allows the body to recuperate and heal at a faster rate, with very beneficial mind-body effects, including ability to sleep and alleviate pain.

 

9780553384062Timothy McCall M.D. is a board-certified internist, and the Medical Editor of Yoga Journal and the author of Yoga as Medicine. He teaches yoga therapy seminars around the world. His book is a must for anyone suffering from any medical issues, including injuries, chronic pain, and various disorders.

“Read this to find out why we teach our patients YOGA.”—Mehmet Oz, MD

“Yoga as Medicine is a powerfully clear, accessible and practical guide to creating a vibrantly healthy body, mind, and spirit. What a tremendous contribution to healing and human potential!”—Joan Borysenko, PhD, author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind

Excerpt published in Yoga Journal:

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, a yoga teacher, health psychologist at Stanford University, editor in chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, once suffered from debilitating headaches that made her wonder what it would be like to live one day without pain. Now, as the author of the new book, Yoga for Pain Relief, McGonigal is sharing her tips for dealing with chronic pain through yoga and meditation:  

Why is yoga a good idea for people who have chronic
pain as opposed to other treatment options?

Yoga is so helpful because chronic pain doesn’t play by the same rules as acute pain from a recent injury or illness. It is more strongly influenced by stress, thoughts, and emotions. And the pain doesn’t necessarily reflect a single identifiable“ problem” in the body, like a compressed disc or an infection. It usually reflects a systemic change in how you experience pain that may involve your muscles, nerves, hormones, and brain. So chronic pain is rarely “fixed” with a single medical intervention like surgery. It is usually a more gradual process that requires a holistic approach, including medicine, social support, and mind-body or psychological approaches.

4c94eb17d3292aa15ec156cdc5387327How is the approach in yoga for chronic pain
different from approaching any other kind of pain?

The biggest difference is you’re not looking to fix some part of the body. It’s not a “stretch your back to get rid of your back pain” approach. It involves every possible tool of yoga, including breathing, relaxation, movement, meditation, philosophy, and self-reflection. It’s recognizing that yoga’s healing power comes from it’s ability to change the way your breathe and move, yes, but also how you feel, think, and relate to yourself and to pain.

 To schedule a private Yoga Therapy Consultation please contact me.


Anāhata Nāda Yoga – The Sacred Sound of Healing Through The Heart – The Original Music Therapy (Fall Workshop)

The poet, Srī Kabīrdās, was inspired by this melody resonating within the heart to write the following verse:

“The flute of the infinite is played without ending, and its sound is love.

When love renounces all boundaries it arrives at the truth.”

heart

“In the Anāhata Chakra (physical heart, and ‘heart energy’ center) we hear Anāhata Nāda, the constant, fundamental sound of the Universe, the eternal vibration of the Self. Its sound is SO HAM – “That I am, I am That”. We perceive it as a subtle rhythmic melody similar to a heartbeat, but much softer and more wonderful.”

In Sanskrit, Anāhata means the Heart, its literal translation is  ‘infinite,’  ‘continuous’ or ‘unbroken’. Nāda is the primordial sound, the most subtle heard or unheard sound that continuously permeates and vibrates thoughout the Universe. This sound is also inside our bodies; it manifests within everything in existence. Therefore, everything outside of us and within us in its subtlest form is Nāda. Nāda is the very foundation of music, and Nāda Yoga, also known as the Yoga of Sound, has been always inextricably linked with singing in ancient India, the essence of music at its core being esoteric – a vehicle connecting the singer with the divine. Chanting to this day, through the repetition of sacred sounds, as in the traditional singing of Indian kirtan or bhajan devotional music induces a trance like, calm and meditative state. It is through that complete sense of abandonment and relaxation that one is able to disconnect from the mind and the left side of the brain (incessant and logical thinking), and move into just BEING and into the right side of the brain, hence shifting from being in the head to being in the HEART. That ultimately is the very nature and scope of mediation. At the deepest level, the quality of the nāda sound inherent in music purifies the psyche and heals the body and mind.

In an article published through the Chopra Center,  How to Use Sound to Heal Yourself, Roger Gabriel (Raghavanand) perfectly describes the meaning and benefits of Nāda Yoga:

“Through Nāda Yoga it is said that you can remove all impurities in the physiology. In the Vedic tradition (Indian), sound vibration is known as Nada. In the practice of Nada Yoga, sound is used not only to restore physical and mental well-being but also as a path to spiritual awakening.  With the right sounds, you can align yourself with the vibrations that foster health, happiness, and unity.

Nāda Yoga divides sound into external sounds, Ahata and internal sounds, Anahata. 

External sounds are perceived through the ears and Nāda Yoga can be as simple as listening to non-vocal music while gently focusing on the individual notes. You can listen to the different notes within the music of nature—birds singing, rain falling, or the wind through the trees. Or you can chant sacred mantras such as OM or AHUM (I am), with the focus on each individual letter. The aim is to allow awareness to move inwards.

Internal sounds are perceived through the Anāhata (heart) chakra. Each human body has its own unique sound or vibration, which is sacred to that individual. By regulating the breath, with the attention turned inwards, and closing the ears with the fingers, you can begin to listen in on your own inner sound. Re-aligning with this sound serves to balance your energetic body and ultimately re-connect you with your divine presence. With practice, you can also learn to hear the vibration of the universe, a soft distant OM, sometimes referred to as the Cosmic Hum.”

***The practice of Bhramari Pranayama which awakens the inner fire and immediately calms the mind and body is one of the best techniques to connect to the  inner nāda sound. Click here for the technique, and to learn about the 4 stages of the manifestation of sound as described in the Vedas, encompassing the external and internal sounds.

Its also important to note that in the Vedic system of health and philosophy (which includes Yoga & Ayurveda), the Heart replaces the mind as the absolute seat of intelligence and consciousness. It is believed that the heart not only feels, but that it actually thinks – like the brain – but on a more expansive and soul perceptive level! Hence, it is the Heart that is the gateway to the Soul. And it is also the Heart that allows us to HEAL, and unbinds us from mental and physical pain and suffering! The Heart inevitably wills every cell in our body and mind to respond to whatever we desire. It is through this very deep connection to Self and our innate DESIRE and WILL to be healthy and happy that integral healing can be attained. All we have to do is be still and listen – make the connection – then speak into the Heart in its own beautiful language.

il_570xN.293402069Each person has a unique sound vibration, a symphony of primordial sound that cannot be replicated, like a fingerprint imprinted in the ether, but which can be heard at a subtle or astral level. That is the very essence of nāda. Nada Yoga as the original sound therapy, is especially beneficial for the nervous system (stimulating the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus) extending to the entire body, stimulating the major glands and organs which are traditionally associated with the key energy centers throughout the body known as chakras.  However, the central scope of Nāda Yoga is to expand our consciousness, awakening our superconscious state and the dormant energies of our physical, astral (subtle), and causal (soul) bodies, allowing for complete healing and integration of mind, body, spirit.  It should be noted that nāda can be experienced in the meditative ‘dhyana’state, the penultimate state of meditation before entering the deepest state of meditation where one transcends the body and merges with Infinite Spirit in the ‘samadhi’ state.

I was inspired by my Raja Yoga practice, love of devotional music, including sacred mantra chanting, and my attunement to the inner nada sound through my kriya yoga meditation, to combine movement with sound in a unique way, and bring asana and nāda together in what I call ‘meditation in motion’ – Nāda-Raja Yoga Flow. It is also a play on words in a sense – Nataraja is also Lord Shiva as the Eternal Dancer, who spins the universe through his endless dance. The ultimate goal is to tune into the sublime primordial sound using all the exponent steps of classical Raja Yoga (known as the Eight Limbs of Yoga), including pranayama (breath techniques) and asanas (poses) that awaken the chakras, to transcend beyond the limitations of the mind and body through anāhata nāda into dhyana (meditation), the penultimate gateway before dissolution into the final sate of samadhi.

“The basic premise of raja yoga is that our perception of the divine Self is obscured by the disturbances of the mind. If the mind can be made still and pure, the Self will automatically, instantaneously, shine forth. Says the Bhagavad Gita:

When, through the practice of yoga,
the mind ceases its restless movements,
and becomes still,
the aspirant realizes the Atman.”

UPCOMING WORKSHOP & RETREAT DETAILS

I will be hosting a Anāhata Nāda Yoga – Deep Healing Through The Heart 2-Day Retreat & Workshop in the coming future, inviting  you to leave the world behind and tune-in to the sound of extreme peacefulness and bliss. You will get to listen to your own inner anāhata nāda (sound of the heart) symphony, as well as get to discover the sound of your own sacred voice, to create a new and more healing and spiritual storyboard for your life. This will also be a part-silent retreat, in order that one may fully immerse himself in the practice ‘pratyahara’ – withdrawal of the senses – which is the prescribed yogic and ayurvedic treatment for clearing the mind and reprogramming our thoughts/consciousness. Journaling and painting will be used to ‘free up’ the mind, release energy and express creativity. Chanting of healing mantras and soothing healing affirmations will be a central theme of the workshop.  Hence, most of the workshop will center on emptying, stilling, and purifying the mind – immersing the senses into sublime peacefulness and connecting to the Self through the heart center to access the deepest levels of our creative and self-healing power. Pranayama breathing techniques will be interspersed with Nada Yoga to revitalize the ‘energy body,’ stimulate blood flow, and oxygenate the cells, with almost immediate effects on calming the mind and lifting and balancing the mood. At the end of the day, we will conclude with Yoga Nidra also know as Deep Yogic Sleep or Lucid Dreaming, a guided visualization and mind-body awareness mediation, where one experiences a transcendental state of higher awareness which is deeply healing and equivalent to 4 hours of sleep. Yoga Nidra is currently used clinically in the treatment of chronic stress, insomnia, and anxiety, clinically reformulated as iRest to the medical community by Dr. Richard Miller, and now officially used in the rehabilitation of war veterans from PTSD. These are very advanced yogic mind-body healing techniques as part of the Himalayan Yoga tradition, taught worldwide at renowned yoga institutes, wellness and healing centers. In short, through this workshop you will learn how you can access the deepest healing channels within yourself and experience profound inner peace, joy, and expanded consciousness beyond the physical body – being able to tune-IN through your heart thorough all the layers of consciousness to tune-OUT any physical and emotional pain  hindering your true Self from shining vibrantly through the infinite space that is Your Heart.

*THE RETREAT DATES ARE STILL TO BE DETERMINED – Please send an email if you’d like to participate, get an early registration discount, and to be added to the mailing list.

 


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THE HEALING SCIENCE OF RAJA YOGA: PRANA & THE EIGHT LIMBS OF YOGA

Claudia Ghetu is certified Holistic Health Coach (HHC) specializing in Vedic Yoga Therapy and Holistic Nutrition, Yoga Instructor (RYT-500) trained by Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman in the Raja Yoga and Iyengar methods, the basis for Urban Zen Integrative Yoga Therapy; LifeForce Yoga Therapy for Mood & Stress Management practitioner, and a Kriya Yoga Meditation practitioner. IMG_1629

It is common knowledge by now that the practice of yoga leaves one feeling good both mentally and physically, with the added bonus of an expanded sense of wellbeing and centeredness. Even in its most diluted and derivative form, as is often taught and presented in the West, yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system, due to the combination of sequenced poses or asanas, in combination with regulated, calm, even breathing. The parasympathetic system is part of the nervous system inducing our mind and body to slow down, and is responsible for sending the message to the muscles to relax, also boosting immunity, improving digestion, assimilation, and helping us sleep. It also normalizes blood pressure and lowers the heart rate. The parasympathetic nervous system also counteracts many stress related symptoms and the toxic overload of the cumulative negative by-products of our modern lives – primarily manifesting in the body as severe stress, culminating in disease and mental imbalances. Unfortunately, the type of yoga being practiced widely these days doesn’t do very much for the parasympathetic nervous system, nor does its fulfill its original purpose as an integrative therapeutic practice, as it has been diluted and removed from its proper context.

Yoga has digressed so much from its original form and scope, that it is often misunderstood and unfortunately taught as a form of exercise, to encourage weight loss, tone and strengthen the body, which of course has its own benefits. According to the  ancient precepts of Raja Yoga, the asana practice, which is only one of eight teachings or branches of yoga proper, encompassing: yamas, niyamas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, and samadhi. The asana yoga component follows the yamas and niyamas (the moral and spiritual lifestyle precepts which one is encouraged to practice) and precedes pranayama. This integral holistic mind-body wellness system made up of eight branches, which are to be practiced in the aforementioned sequence, is known as The Eight Limbs of Yoga. Hatha yoga focuses on physical component of the practice, the emphasis being on detoxing and purification techniques which free up the flow of Prana or lifefoce energy, which ultimately culminates in the ultimate sense of unification and expanded consciousness, conquering and transcending the physical body into Samadhi. To omit one of the eight branches, and practice just one is like expecting a car to run with only 2 wheels. Sure, a car can be redesigned to operate on 2 wheels, but that’s not how it was tested and intended to run best, or how it was originally designed as a utility vehicle. Also, just as a car or any device we depend on cannot run without having all its parts, so yoga, if not applied in its entirety as in integral system, cannot fulfill it’s true scope.

The primary function and scope of yoga is to promote and increase the flow of vital energy to every living cell in the body, balancing and supporting the physiological functions of the human mind-body. The spiritual component of yoga is also part of the holistic system, as it is believed that mental, physical, and spiritual disease or ignorance are the root causes of imbalance or illness. The vital energy, also known as life-force-energy, is called prana in Sanskrit, and is considered the unifying universal energetic force pervading all of life and nature. In living beings, this underlying life-force-energy is considered responsible for all bodily functions. It is acknowledged more or less in every tradition under different names: the Chinese call it chi, the Polynesians mana, the Amerindians orenda, and so forth. Regulating, expanding, and directing the flow of prana is the very foundation of yoga and ayurveda, the two sister sciences rooted in the ancient Vedic tradition, originating in India over 8,000 years ago. Yoga and Ayurveda are known as the oldest sciences, together comprising perhaps the most elaborate and scientifically accurate integrative mind-body healthcare system. Ayurveda is the science of treating and mapping out the entire system at a sub-atomic, molecular level, and yoga is the multi-layered integrated practice of the ayurvedic science through the practice of the Eight Limbs of Yoga – aimed to keep the body and mind functioning at optimal levels.

YogaPrana is harnessed through the instrument of breath, through inhalation, retention and exhalation techniques and sequences, which comprise the practice of pranayama, an inextricable part of the practice and science of yoga and the Eight Limbs. Through the practice of pranayama, also known as the ‘yoga of breath,’ prana is supplied to every atom and cell in the body, oxygenating and re-fueling the energy channels, known as nadis, throughout the body, and balancing the nervous system. Yoga literally means ‘union’ from the root word ‘yuj’, which means to yoke or bring together. It is the union of the mind, body, and spirit, through the flow of PRANA, which allows us to move beyond physical and psychological obstructions, allowing for transformation and healing, and ultimately higher consciousness. Another major component of yoga is dhyana, which literally translates as meditation. It has to be practices after pranayama, and is preceded by pratyahara and dharana – which are interiorization and deep concentration techniques.

In light of the above information, one begins to realize that the ubiquitous yoga practice, which is the basic yoga asana mainly taught in the West today, offers a fragment of the health benefits that the ancient integrated Vedic system of the Eight Limbs of Yoga offers. Of course you get the high you would naturally get from exercise with the release of endorphins and dopamine, but the therapeutic interlinked mind-body-spirit benefits are nominal. A fast paced vinyasa style class is NOT yoga, nor is it how yoga was physiologically intended or designed to benefit the body, omitting pranayama and the other integral critical components, replacing the slow and prolonged asana postures – which were designed to calm the nervous system and to strengthen and stretch the body before the meditative stages (dhyana and samadhi) – for a fast competitive form of pseudo-yoga. Vigorous vinyasa, or other types of yoga incorporating or focusing on backbends, handstands, and arm balances can be strengthening and beneficial, but they hardly stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, not to mention that the chances of injury are very high. Plus, as Ayurveda highlights, due to everyone’s unique doshic mind-body type constitutions, most yoga asana styles ad classes are a one-fit-all, not taking into consideration that certain poses and sequences can be counterproductive if not damaging for some. Not to mention the effects on the nervous system, which can be overly stimulating for someone who already is prone to anxiety, high blood pressure, or suffers from adrenal dysfunctions, etc. To activate and properly stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and open up the body and energy channels so that healing can begin, you need a specific series of poses that encourage deep relaxation: forward bends and hip openers, poses that emphasize restoring mobility and aligning the spine, more sitting or supine poses as opposed to standing ones, as well as safe inversions supported by props and supervised by a highly trained instructor. You also need to engage and ignite the flow of prana, and end the practice with pranayama and meditation. The Iyengar Yoga method is by far the safest and most refined classically rooted (Hatha) yoga style, taught and designed by the late legendary yoga authority B.K. S. Iyengar, founder of Iyengar Institute worldwide. Iyengar not only incorporated all of the branches of yoga within his asana practice, stressing pranayama and meditation, but he designed and encouraged the use of specific props for optimal support and functionality, to induce highly therapeutic restorative results and avoiding injury. Vedic Hatha Yoga Therapy incorporates props for the asana practice in the Iynegar tradition, with the addition of other traditional Vedic practices, such as sound therapy (mantras and bijas), advanced pranayama techniques, and yoga nidra, also knows as ‘deep yogic sleep,’ which is a very deep state of shivasana with guided meditation, similar to hypnosis. The results of Vedic Yoga Therapy are remarkable in terms of integral healing for the mind and body, expediting recovery from injuries, chronic pain management, mental and emotional healing. Yoga after all is meant to be medicine for the body and mind; its very purpose being to preserve and transform – and furthermore help us transcend to highest levels of consciousness and self-awareness.

UPCOMING WORKSHOP ON SELF-HEALING WITH VEDIC HATHA YOGA THERAPY:

MAY 14, AT THE SUMMIT CLUB IN PACIFIC PALISADES & OTHER LOCATIONS TBD

In this workshop you will learn about:

  1. The original scope and traditional application of Yoga, as a complete and integrative therapeutic mind-body holistic system dating over 8,000 years ago.
  2. The definitive meaning of ‘Yug” or Yoga, comprised of 8 branches, known as THE EIGHT LIMBS OF YOGA, and its application; yoga asana (exercises and postures) being only one of the 8 practiced in the West.
  3. Advanced techniques of harnessing your own body’s subtle energy force and directing PRANA into the body to purify, oxygenate the tissues and blood, and revitalize the limbs and internal organs.
  4. Restorative and energizing Prana building daily exercises or practices, in conjunction with Dharana and Pratyahara (deep concentration techniques), Dhyana (meditation), and Pranayama purification and breathing techniques.
  5. The importance of developing self-awareness to tune into your own body’s intelligence; and self-care tools as a pathway to long-term health and wellness, working with your body’s own energy system to self-heal and transform.

PLEASE GO TO THE CONTACT PAGE TO BOOK A PRIVATE CONSULTATION OR SIGN UP TO RECEIVE AN EMAIL WITH INFORMATION ON THE MAY 14 EVENT OR OTHER  UPCOMING WORKSHOP. SPACE IS LIMITED.

 

 


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Ayurvedic Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Winter

ayurvedic_pulse-diagnosis-artLiving in the modern world we have lost sight of the fact that everything we need to stay healthy is readily provided to us by Mother Nature, with a seasonal bounty of delicious and healing foods. The ancient Rishis of India, understood long ago that we are intrinsically connected to the Cosmos and the Earth and to its natural cycles. We are part of nature, so we are composed of its very elements! Through their advanced studies and intrinsic understanding of life – Ayurveda literally means The Science of Life – and how everything is connected, it made perfect sense not to eat cold or drying Vata aggravating foods in the winter, when the body needs to be insulated from the cold and drying effects of the weather. Long before blood types were discovered, the yogis and Vedic doctors already had an advanced system of preventative natural medicine based on the three blood types, which they called the three doshas: Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. The latter body constitution types also correspond accordingly to the seasons Kapha – Spring (Earth Element), Pitta – Summer (Fire Element), and Vata – Winter (Wind Element), so  each person’s body type more or less corresponds to the dominant characteristic of one of the three elements and seasons. For example, Vata types are prone to dry skin and sensitivity to the  cold, and and Pittas have fiery temperaments and get hot easily. Regardless of wether one knows his specific or dominating dosha (an Ayurvedic physician can identify one’s type or combination, although one can also deduce his own type by taking a survey of his dominating traits and tastes), one foul proof way to stay balanced and maintain good health is to adhere to the Ayurvedic lifestyle prescriptions for each of the seasons. Here are my Top  3 Ayurvedic Health  Tips for the Winter Season:

Walnuts-and-hot-drink1 – Eat less raw foods, and increase warm and moist cooked dishes, and warm beverages. Try to stick to seasonal vegetables, as Mother Nature intelligently supplied us with specific foods which are harvested during colder months. You want to prevent more Vata accumulating in your body, characteristic for its ‘windy’ effects in the winter, so avoid foods that produce wind like beans. If you must have beans, neutralize their gassy effects by adding cumin. Also, anything that is drying or lacking in moisture – like cold cereals, or cold foods should be avoided. Drink more warm or hot beverages, and especially avoid icey drinks. In Ayurveda all cold beverages should be drunk at room temperature, and milk in particular is never drunk cold, unless it is a lassi yogurt beverage, which is usually enjoyed in the Summer for its cooling effect!

2- Increase healthy fat in your diet. Since everything hardens and gets dried up in the cold months, you want to make sure that you keep your body lubricated and warm, including your sinuses and internal organs. Amping the intake of such healthy fats as nuts, seeds, and oils is imperative. For meat eaters, this is the best time of year to enjoy hearty stews, although meat should be consumed in moderation for its overall toxic effects and saturated fat. Best oils and nuts recommended come from walnuts, avocado, olive, grape seed, cashew, sunflower seed, sesame, and almond. You can even take it one step further, and treat yourself to a nightly ‘Abyangha’ or gentle self-administered full body massage, using  the traditional sesame or almond oil. Remember, healthy fat is absolutely necessary for the body to function properly, process and digest food. As a matter of fact, the body needs fat to be able to emulsify and flush excess fat out of the body. People have been known to gain weight on a fat-free diet, because they deprive their body of this major dietary component.

3- Avoid or cut down on all dairy, and make sure you only consume raw or unhomogenized milk products if you do so. Also, do not drink cold milk! Milk, in India and in other cultures, is traditionally drunk warm before bed, with cardamon, cinnamon and ginger, to further aid digestion. In India yogurt, ghee, and milk have very therapeutic qualities, however their dairy products are not pasteurized, homogenized, and laden with antibiotics and hormones. Our dairy products have been stripped of all the digestive enzymes and essential nutrients in the process of homogenization, when the milk is shaken and pushed through tiny seeves at very high speeds and temperature to prevent separation. It is no wonder that most people today are lactose intolerant. Invariably dairy congests our system and creates extra mucous in the body, which creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. If you don’t want your kids catching colds this winter, don’t give them cold milk – and skip the cold and sugary cereal in the morning!

For a complimentary Dosha Type consultation, or Holistic Health Evaluation, contact me via ClaudiaGhetuWEllness.com/Contact.