Happy #YogaMonday: Mantra Magazine Inspiration


Happy #YogaMonday!

Today I read an interview featuring Erykah Badu in Mantra Magazine. Erykah’s comments about her newfound love of yoga and mantras inspired me. Here’s what she said:

“I love yoga. I started taking yoga at a gym and I met the most wonderful instructor who teaches you in Sanskrit as well as in English. She repeats everything in Sanskrit. There’s something about the vibration of this language that really resonates with me and helps me to focus more on the breathing and not so much on the stretching.”

Her words made me think about some of my favorite mantras and how they have helped me strengthen my meditation, Reiki healing, and yoga practices. Click here to listen to Krishna Das chant Om Namah Shivaya which means “I bow to my inner self.” This sacred mantra helps me to surrender my ego to my highest self. It helps me live in the present moment. It opens my heart to Creator’s wisdom and blessings for my life.

Do you have any favorite mantras? How do they impact you?

Happy Yoga Monday: The Spirit of Mantra

Photo Credit: http://devapremalmiten.com/
Photo Credit: http://devapremalmiten.com/

Happy Yoga Monday!

Mantras have been a part of my yoga practice for the past 10 years. Mantra is a Sanskrit word that means mind protection. It is  a sacred word, sound or chant repeated during meditation to promote inner peace and facilitate transformation of your consciousness. Last week, I started Deva Premal & Miten’s 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey to continue the work I have been doing to strengthen my meditation practice. The 21-Day Mantra Journey started on May 14 and offers a free, daily guided session. Click here to learn more.

Do you use mantras in your meditation and yoga practice?

Happy Yoga Monday: The Focus of My Spring Yoga Practice


Happy Yoga Monday!

For the past two weeks, I’ve been using Oprah & Deepak’s Finding Your Flow 21-Day Meditation Experience. Click here to join the Meditation Experience (it’s free)! Thus far, it has helped me develop a better understanding of my third chakra which governs the solar plexus, digestion, power, courage, and determination. Yesterday, I made a Spring collage series I plan to use to stay focused on my third chakra and yoga practice (see photo above).

What are you using to help focus your yoga practice this spring?

Happy Yoga Monday: My 21 Day Spring Yoga & Meditation Practice

Photo Credit: chopracentermeditation.com
Photo Credit: chopracentermeditation.com

Happy Yoga Monday!

Today I started my morning yoga practice with Oprah & Deepak’s Finding Your Flow 21-Day Meditation Experience. I am using the 21-Day Meditation Experience to deepen my home yoga and meditation practice. It will help me  connect with the flow of my Shakti energy (also known as prana, chi or life force) in my body, mind, spirit, heart, and breath. Click here to join the Meditation Experience (it’s free)!

Photo Credit: chopracentermeditation.com
Photo Credit: chopracentermeditation.com

The theme for Day #1 of the Meditation Experience is “Finding Security.” While standing in the Mountain or Tadasana pose, I used today’s affirmation as a mantra: “My security and peace are within.” It stayed with me all day!

What is the focus of your Spring yoga and meditation practice?


Happy Yoga Monday: My Winter Solstice Weekend

Photo Credit: http://hdwallpapersfan.blogspot.com/2013/04/winter-solstice-pictures.html
Photo Credit: http://hdwallpapersfan.blogspot.com/2013/04/winter-solstice-pictures.html

Happy Yoga Monday!

The Winter Solstice is the first day of winter which happens when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees or the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. It is the shortest day of the year. It is also one of my favorite times a year because it reminds me to SLOW DOWN for rest and relaxation, and TURN INWARD for reflection with more yoga, meditation, mantra chanting, journaling, walks in nature, collage making, and reading.

Photo Credit: www.tranquilspace.com
Photo Credit: http://www.tranquilspace.com

In preparation for this year’s Winter Solstice, I planned a weekend of yoga and meditation that started with a wonderful yin yoga and yoga nidra workshop taught by my yoga teacher, Danielle Polen at Tranquil Space on December 20. Danielle’s class was exactly what I needed to open my heart to the Winter Solstice season.
Photo Credit: www.wisdom-books.com/ProductPic.asp?PID=16675
Photo Credit: http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductPic.asp?PID=16675

On Saturday afternoon, I attended the monthly Buddhist meditation circle for my People of Color Sangha. It felt really good to sit for 30 minutes in silence with my Buddhist sisters and brothers. After the sit, we listened to a dharma talk on the emotions that occur during the holiday season given by our meditation teacher, La Sarmiento. We also shared our thoughts with each other in a mindful discussion.

Photo Credit: www.embracedc.com
Photo Credit: http://www.embracedc.com

On Sunday morning, I listened to a Winter Solstice sermon on stillness given by Reverend Rob Hardies at my church, All Souls Unitarian. Rob’s sermon reminded me how important it is to take time out to be quiet. Later that day, I treated myself to a restorative yoga class at Embrace Yoga Studio.

How did you celebrate the Winter Solstice?

Happy Yoga Monday: Yoga As Transformation

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Museum's Yoga: The Art of Transformation
Photo Credit: Smithsonian Museum’s Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Happy Yoga Monday!

This month, I am participating in the 21 Day Meditation series led by Oprah Winifrey and Deepak Chopra. Today’s meditation focused on getting in touch with my heart’s desires. One of my heart’s desires is to deepen my connection and understanding of yoga. So I am headed to the Smithsonian Museum’s Sackler Gallery to see the Yoga: The Art of Transformation exhibition. I am really excited to see the groundbreaking exhibit. It is the world’s first exhibition on yoga. I will write about my visit next week.

How does yoga transform your life?

Happy Yoga Monday – Yoga Wisdom Quotes & Yoga-Inspired Poem About Yoga & Meditation

Happy Yoga Monday!

Here’s some yoga wisdom from some of my favorite yoginis and a yoga-inspired poem from my OM soul and heart! Enjoy!

Yoga Wisdom from Some of My Favorite Yoginis:

“I did not come to yoga to stretch. I came to live.” Maya Breuer, African American yoga teacher and entrepreneur“

“Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart.” Nischala Joy Devi, American yoga teacher and author

“Yoga serves as my catalyst, my core, that place I turn to when my world is spinning.”  Kimberly Wilson, American yoga teacher, author, activist, entrepreneur, and designer

Ananda at the London Buddhist Meditation Centre, 2007
Ananda at the London Buddhist Meditation Centre, 2007

My Yoga Poem:

yoga and meditation in the morning (from That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery)

morning comes.

with it a host of thoughts begging for attention.

i take a deep breath and release them into open space.

they magically file themselves away in my cerebral

how sweet they are to make room for my meditation and yoga practice.

i wink and wave a quick goodbye.

they wink back and remind me they never ever say goodbye.

i return the wink with a grateful smile for having been granted a reprieve from
their chatter.

one thought escapes and attaches itself to my conscience.

she dances meringue style through my meditation.

i try to detach.

she dances harder.

i relax and allow her some space.

she quiets down.

i breathe in and out allowing my breath to travel out of my mouth.

she hears me breathing a series of audible “hahs” and joins me.

we merge and marry ourselves in the moment.

me and my thoughts exit stage left into a slow style salsa step.

our beat is harmony.

together we float into the morning silence making way for yoga to begin.

Open Your Heart to Haiti with Yoga and Meditation on January 12 at 7 AM ET


009, originally uploaded by anandaleeke. Photo Credit:  Foto Week DC

Last year I became a Heart of Haiti ambassador because I wanted to give back to Haiti and her people.  This year I am using the energy I stirred up within myself as a Heart of Haiti ambassador to teach an online yoga and meditation class on January 12 from 7:00 am to 7:15 am ET that will encourage you to open your heart to helping the people of Haiti as they rebuild their lives and country after the earthquake that happened on January 12, 2010. Click on the link to participate in the class: http://stickam.com/anandaleeke. If you miss the live class, check out the video on the same site.