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The Celestial Treat of Spring

The Celestial Treat of Spring

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Welcoming the return of Spring is a celestial treat for my soul. Right as the sun moves into her presentation of longer days on our side of the earth, the glorious full moon is holding her own precisely on the equinox. It is not very common for the solar and lunar calendars to converge and when they do, it is a sign of more synchronized moments to follow. It is an auspicious time to be celebrated.

This is the holding of pure balance between the opposites when dark and light, yin and yang are in perfect balance and harmony. Beginnings are once again presenting their gifts through nature as the life buds and the trees are regaining their garments, and the sounds of spring are awakening. We are witnessing what true miracles as the mystery of intelligence says I AM.

The next 30 days are a gateway for listening. A great time to redefine who you are, reinvent yourself, return to your body and decide what part of your personality or life you need to liberate in order to gain the gateway into your true self.

The ritual of Spring Cleaning is upon us. Our own divine inner self is calling to purify and let go of what is no longer serving the greater good.  Whatever has not been properly allowed to become conscious cannot be digested nor assimilated and therefore cannot be properly eliminated. We hold on to the past as a safety net of regrets covering our possibilities forward. Fear gives us hidden permission to stay stuck in our own muck! 

My teacher, Mr. TKV Desikachar, would say that the practice of yoga is 95% purification for 5% percent of awareness —that the tools of breath must be established for the lungs to help with the purifying the blood.

A breath of air is inhaled, and the oxygen from the air comes in contact with the impure blood through the thin walls of the blood vessels in the pulmonary capillaries. As oxygen comes in contact with the tissue, a form of combustion takes place. The blood takes up the oxygen and releases carbonic acid gas generated from the waste products which has been gathered up by the blood from all parts of the body.

Now the purified blood is assisted by the circulation of the heart. From the capillaries, the lymph of the blood exudes, bathes and nourishes the tissues of the body. The tissues take up the oxygen and leave the carbon dioxide. The impurities travel up the veins to the right side of the heart where the cycle begins again with every breath and heart beat.

Life is happening as the miracle of our intelligence. We take for granted the incredible working of our brilliant systems. However, the moment we consciously exhale longer and begin a slight pause after the exhale, well life has the assistance to flow in with a greater abundance of vital Heath. To actually begin a practice of breathing, we are in co-creation to our divine nature.

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But Spring is the time we are renewed with the magic of our inner wizard allowing us to wake up and connect to the miracle of life simply in saying YES. Go out, walk, and take in the beauty of the birth. Take in the fresh scent of life as we enter sweet April, which in ancient mystic teachings is considered the month of miracles.

In our hemisphere, spring means longer days and the birth of life. The full moon holds the female energy of going inward as the sun brings forth the male energy of action. The full moon equinox gives us the power to complete things we started in the past and could never muster the desire of will or energy to bring into fruition. Doors are now opening and opportunities are being presented with the return of this magical season.

I welcome Spring especially after this crazy winter polar vortex! The blessings bestowed are so appreciated as I continue our commitment to renewed health of mind, body and soul with the fires of enthusiasm at YAF as we take in another April fools day as God’s fool. That fateful beginning is the  comic joke of synchronized timing which never ceases to make me laugh. Having opened on April 1, 1998, I never doubt the pure fun of my inner mystic! 

I hope to inspire anyone that wants a deeper understanding of these ancient tools of living life with more joy to consider my teacher training that starts in September. It’s a way to go deeper and nourish that hidden unspoken place of longing to grow. It’s not the outcome, but the journey, and it’s a great opportunity for understanding how the tools of Yoga heal! The course is for those students who either want to explore teaching or just want their own practice to be more defined. Julie Pate and I will be hosting an information meeting and discussion on Saturday, May 4 from 1-2pm for those wanting to learn more. You can also visit teacher training on our website.


Blessings,
Laura Jane

Practice Mindfulness by Going Deeper into the State of Yoga

Practice Mindfulness by Going Deeper into the State of Yoga

Laura Jane Mellencamp and friends at YAF’s Mexico Yoga Retreat February 2019

Laura Jane Mellencamp and friends at YAF’s Mexico Yoga Retreat February 2019

My little voice keeps playing out, “I have so much to do”, “I am so busy.” Hearing the constant chatter of thoughts brings my heart to racing, and my nervous system once again kicks into overdrive. This habit repeats itself until I exhaust myself with the pull of resistance, creating an even greater struggle and suffering.  

The trickster of my mind is telling me that there is never enough time, never enough energy to DO. How did I learn to DO life—instead of feeling my aliveness and just BEing present to life itself?  Where did I collude with my little self and identify with my list of activities (and outer need to be seen) by needing to do all this stuff!? What is the quality of my doing—Driving to work, speaking with students, writing this newsletter, running errands, and dealing with all the countless other things that make up my daily life?

AM I  actually present to what I am feeling in the moment? The effort here implies my stress and strain, the need to reach a certain point in the future or accomplish a certain result so I will reach a state of happiness. Oh, how the little mind plays such tricks!

My joy arises when I surrender into a state of balance or yoga. In consciousness, I am able to step out of my habit of doing, and be still to the listening of my greater self. This is what determines my joy in life, not how much effort I make in getting it done.

Years ago, I used to call my little self the “elf.” I took away the “s” and found this elf self. The elf self tricked me into my false identity of holding on to my various roles and brought my mind into constant movement between thoughts of past and projections of future. The elf was running the show.

Not until I fell into my deepest heartbreak and asked for help, did the wisdom of something different and more subtle began to awaken. The greater Self began to emerge from those hidden places, deep in dark corners of my hidden shame. Grief began to flow, and the churning began. I let go of patterns and habits that no longer were leading me forward. Yoga was my gateway to a sweeter, gentler place of acceptance of all of myself. It was the merging the elf self into my TRUE SELF that left me with a new sensation of being in the NOW. 

Being in the NOW is a practice of which I am constantly committed to living. And when I catch my mind moving into the words of abuse, its witness arises and moves me back to the breath. In that split second of thought, I choose to move in another direction by sitting in the awkward confusion of not doing—and by feeling the tension (or the release)—as I slowly feel myself physically shift. 

It’s taken a daily practice to forgive myself for being so human. I go back to the floor and surrender into it. I guide my little self to observe where my body meets the floor. My body softens as I feel myself loosening, dropping, and melting into the floor. I can feel a profound sense of heaviness as I experience the quality of lightness around me and inside the space of my breathing.

I need to let go of doing and making anything happen and allow life to unfold naturally. I need to be mindful of my physical body, where my body parts actually touch and not touch as the space unfolds around me. I can have two opposing feelings at the same time. I need to witness these thoughts, these sounds, and choose to stay aware of these feelings in the presence of the experience.

How do I practice this mindfulness in my daily life? Can I be mindful of how I get in and out of the car, walk up and down the stairs, wait in line, talk to my daughter? Can I witness the pause between reactive little habits and the space of the pause as the complete observer at the same time? Can I choose to be more kind, practice more patience, and be more tolerant as I feel my elf self want to take over and run away?

Living with consciousness takes practice and yet, I feel we are at a point in history where we must slow down, go inward, and learn to be more loving to ourselves. At times even teaching yoga has made the experience just another “to do list” objective, a daily task master of feeding the abuse of self loathing. Effort to get the results diminishes the true desire to surrender all outcome and be present to what is being presented NOW. 

Mexico yoga retreat - February 2019

Mexico yoga retreat - February 2019

That’s why each year I relish the opportunity to host retreats. It is a true opportunity to gather people together to go deeper into the state of yoga. I am always amazed at how much effort it takes to unplug from our daily habits and roles and let go of our awkward places of hiding in our outer boxes or personalities of learned behavior. We all come feeling uncomfortable in our skin.

My love of teaching is to remove the fear and embrace each person in love. My joy comes from creating a safe space to drop the outer box. I want to know who is inside, the welcome guest at the dinner party of life. I want each person to find a welcoming to belong and be seen in the inner light and to feel enough.

It takes great courage to reveal our deepest longings to be enough and to move forward through the heart. The heart will guide us forward while the head goes kicking and screaming into our deepest fears. I know from my daily humble practice, I am not getting it perfect, but I have made a commitment to keep growing.

I have been hosting retreats for 20 years, and they always given more than I give.  I am hosting a gathering at on Saturday, March, 16 at 1:00pm for anyone curious to learn more about my upcoming trip to Ireland this October. I want to host this gathering to invite your soul to come forward and be curious. There is profound calling in each of us to awaken our soul and life is our playground. Let’s ignite the flame of passion to be enough, do less, but live more!!

Much Love,

Laura Jane


FREE Yoga & Meditation Retreat Information Session

SATURDAY MARCH 16, 1–2pm

Join Laura Jane Mellencamp-Murphy for a FREE sneak peek about her upcoming fall yoga retreat in Co. Clare, Ireland. Laura will share details of retreat and optional site seeing excursions while answering any questions that you may have.

Laura Jane will be hosting a like minded community on her retreat, Embracing the Mystic—An Irish Retreat Exploring the Journey Inward, October 11-18, 2019. Be sure to register and benefit from the $300 savings. Early bird pricing ends on April 1, so don’t miss out!  The discount drops to $200 off on April 2. Full price starts June 2.

Interested, but can't make the meeting...  No worries! Contact Laura to get your questions answered. 

"Attention is the Beginning of Devotion"

"Attention is the Beginning of Devotion"

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In deep respect to the brilliance of this quote (from my poet hero, Mary Oliver), I have spent the last few weeks watching how upside down and right side up our world presents itself as pure confusion and how quickly we shift perspectives. Years ago, I had a close student and friend who struggled with her embarrassment.

Attention is the beginning of devotion.
— Mary Oliver, 1935-2019

She was nervous to share that she worked for the branch of government called the TSA. She was ashamed and carried a belief that people were judging her for this job. She assumed she was a nuisance to the public as she endured endless long days of abuse and frustration from the many travelers annoyed with her required duties. I would listen to her and try and shift this perspective by helping her see the value in what she was doing for those many years of hard work.

Today, because of the government shutdown, the role of TSA is now seen as an unsung hero. There were cheers of gratitude and exchanges of “thank you” as I waited through the long and tedious lines back from California during the shutdown. I marveled at how public opinion can change and how our learned bias opinions are simply a perspective that can be shifted by holding the opposite.  

Yoga is a system of tools that help the mind hold balance in opposites. A state of yoga is a mind that is balanced. If I follow only what I like, it will without doubt lead to future pain. All addictive behavior starts with pleasure seeking, until the pleasure turns to pain.  If I avoid what I don’t like, I will remain in my pain and actually create more pain.

If the mind actually moves into attention of its habits, it allows for a space of grace for me to reveal a discerned choice. This glimmer of consciousness is the beginning of devotion. To be able to witness and hold opposites, and move in the direction that is going to serve the highest good for all, is the beginning of devotion to something greater.

Avoiding fear and discomfort is the path of a mind unwilling to let go and expand its consciousness. By making an effort to move into another thought and actually experience a shift of habit, is the practice of yoga. The ability to see from another perspective, and with compassion, is the opening of LOVE.

Love is not a striving (or a doing) of my constant desire to get love. It is a willingness to BE LOVE.  The pure action of love is opening, expanding and the willingness to let go of judgement, bias opinion, and the fear of not getting love. Survival is fear. Thriving in life is the gift of feeling the profound joy of being love.

I only know that to use fear as a manipulative vehicle is not in the integrity of this vibrational Truth. For example, trying to inspire health, by promoting fear of disease, is not going to change the mind to move to respect for life. To teach yoga as an outcome to win, or to be better than someone else, is also not in holding respect for the tools.

 I can only smile more, hug more. Let’s just commit to attention for a practice of being kinder to ourselves and see how little it takes to be the kindness you want to experience in the world. Attention to this vibration is the beginning of something that words cannot explain or understand. The intelligence of life is love and it is felt. Live, laugh, love and let go as you move forward through the heart. Thank you, dear Mary Oliver, for being this voice of devotion for me.