Mantra Magic

When you need that extra boost in life, consider developing a mantra practice. Mantra is an amazing way to nourish yourself from the inside out.

Here are a few of the benefits:

Accept self and others. Clear thinking and focus. Brings correct faculty of thought patterns and behavior. Cures headache. Cures pain. Eliminates difficulties and brings success. Energy booster. Erases anger and fear. Gives direction. Brings joy. Promotes positive thought. Helps organization. Supports health. Overcomes depression and anxiety. Cultivates peace and protection from harm. Creates miracles.

An easy way to start your mantra practice is with SO HUM mantra. SO HUM is one of the greatest ancient mantras. It means I AM THAT (I am Divine). SO HUM is already in the breath.

On inhalation, the breath naturally makes the sound SO. On exhalation, the breath naturally makes the sound HUM. If you simply listen as you breath in and out, you are practicing mantra meditation.

 

 

REIKI

The system of Reiki is a Japanese spiritual practice from the early 1900’s that supports healing and personal development. It is a traditional method of using Qi or light and energy to heal body, mind and spirit.

Reiki is a touch healing technique that balances life energy. It can be used to heal self and others. Reiki is also a means of self-transformation and evolution.

Reiki energy is life energy. Life energy is what the entire universe is made of including you. Quantum physics defined life energy as “the consciousness that exists in everything.”

At the physical level, life energy is order and perfection. At the mental level, life energy is bliss. At the emotional level, life energy is love.

Life energy is known by many words. In Japan, it is called Ki. In China, it is known as Chi. In India, it known as Prana.

Reiki, the word, is Japanese. The literal translation in Japanese is as follows:

Rei – spiritual or sacred

Ki – energy

Reiki as we know it today originated in the early twentieth century in Japan and was brought to the United States in the late 30’s. It is now practiced worldwide.

 

REIKI FACTS

  • Once attuned, you can do Reiki healing immediately.
  • Anyone can learn Reiki.
  • You never loose Reiki energy.
  • By placing your hands on someone, the energy flows immediately.
  • Reiki energy is intelligent and goes where needed.
  • The more Reiki you do, the stronger it gets.
  • With every session you give, you receive Reiki as well.
  • You are a vessel for the Reiki energy to pass through.
  • Reiki requires no belief.

“Hands on healing” is a traditional healing method that has always existed. Since the mists of pre-historic time, indigenous shamans used life energy to heal, guide and create balance and harmony within the individual and with nature. These practices were considered sacred and were closely guarded

Buddha and Christ healed by the laying on of hands. It was performed in ancient Greece and Rome. European kings healed the sick with the “Royal Touch” which is a form of touch healing.

Every living being possesses life energy. That is what gives us natural healing ability. To comfort or ease pain, we touch. For injury, we touch. This action is instinctive.

 

LAW OF RESONANCE

Nature is the rhythm of the Divine Mind. As human beings, we are part of nature. When in resonance with nature, we experience radiant health. When this balance is broken, we experience disease in body and mind.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”                                                                            -Nikolo Tesla

“If you want to find the secrets of healing, learn Reiki. Reiki brings you into resonance with all of nature.”                                                          -Margaret Glatfelter

 

STRESS

Stress creates imbalance preventing an organism from balancing naturally. Reiki releases unnecessary stress, activating the immune system, our vast self-healing potential.

Reiki doesn’t change you; it restores your natural balance. Reiki grounds you. It brings you into balance with all of nature.

“True healing of any condition means to restore the mind, body and spirit to their natural balanced states.”                                                                                                                                              – Charaka Samhita (Ancient Ayurvedic Text on Internal Medicine)

 

HEALING

To heal, we relax. Relaxation is healing. When relaxed, sleep deficits are made up. Stress normalizes. Old patterns and bad habits are released.

Relaxation promotes a cohesive flow of life energy throughout the entire structure. This creates wholeness in body, mind and spirit.

When truly relaxed, the hands, heart and mind can then work together. The entire individual is then available to succeed in life.

Reiki relaxes deeply, developing full human potential – the very best you can be.

 

            Margaret is a Usui, Gendai and Karuna Reiki Master Teacher.  She offers in person and distant Reiki lectures, consultations, treatments and trainings. 

For all inquiries, please contact Margaret directly at (717) 577-5964 or margaret@margaretglatfelter.com

So Ham Meditation

For thousands of years, people have used meditation to contact the stillness that is the source of all awareness. In this meditation, you will learn a simple practice to return to Source.

So Ham* is the greatest of all ancient mantras. You were born with it. It is in your breath. As you inhale, the natural sound of the breath is So, and as you exhale, the natural sound of the breath is Ham (pronounced hum). You repeat this mantra 21,600 times 24 hours a day without awareness. Even during sleep, the So Ham repetition continues automatically.

Breath contains oxygen and the vital life force or spiritual energy. They are inseparable. As such, breath is the connection between inner and outer worlds. So Ham can be translated as ‘I Am/That,’ identifying the individual as the Divine.

The only physiological function that is both voluntary and involuntary is breathing. Breathing can be controlled consciously by the mind or allowed to function automatically like other physiological functions, like digestion, under the control of the body.

During this meditation, conscious breathing and mantra repetition are combined. This type of mantra repetition is termed Ajapa-Mantra because it is done without moving the lips along with the breath.

To begin, find yourself in a comfortable seated position. Allow the body to become still. Direct your full awareness to the breath. Don’t try to control or change it. Just breathe. Spend some time here.

Take a few cleansing breaths. On inhalation, mentally breathe in coolness and light. On exhalation, feel all your cares and worries drifting away.

Mentally repeat So as you inhale, mentally repeat Ham as you exhale. Breathe with feeling and focus. Concentrate on the meaning behind the mantra. See yourself as ‘That’ with emotion. This deepens the impression.

At times, the mantra will reverse itself; So Ham will become Ham Sah. We say ‘God is Love – Love is God.’ Repetition of So Ham – Ham Sah and Ham Sah – So Ham’ becomes more powerful, and strengthens the practice when you combine the two.

Grow this technique gently over time. When beginning, breathe for a few minutes twice a day – preferably dusk and dawn. If you simply concentrate on the breath, if you simply watch the breath, if you simply listen to the breath, that is enough.

A Simple Meditation for Anxiety & Overwhelm

The next time you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, try this simple technique.

  • Find yourself in a comfortable posture. Gently close your eyes and begin breathing in and out through your nose.
  • As you inhale, breathe in relaxation; as you exhale, release all tension. Allow the breath to smooth and soften.
  • Now imagine a compassionate entity – your higher self, God, the universe – whatever best suits your beliefs. Give them your fear and anxiety. All responsibility for the results is now in their hands.
  • You continue to work towards your goals but are no longer responsible for the outcome.
  • Notice how this feels in your body, mind and emotions. Carry this feeling with you throughout your day.

With regular practice, anxiety dissolves and performance increases. Be persistent. In time, even the impossible becomes possible.Blue Stones

 

 

 

 

The Healing Power of Breath: Stress, Anxiety and Depression

With the endless demands of modern life, we go beyond our capacity to give and then give even more. In this all consuming quest for survival, we sacrifice our health, happiness and peace of mind.

Stress has exploded into an invisible, $1 trillion health epidemic. That’s more expensive than the cost of cancer, smoking, diabetes, and heart disease combined.

The Facts

The National Institute of Health reports that emotional stress is a major contributing factor to the six leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.

An estimated 75 to 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related issues.

fb blog article crazy stressed womanFurthermore, The federal government’s health statisticians figure that about one in every 10 Americans takes an antidepressant — and among women in their 40s and 50s, that number is one in four.

Chronic stress can even be a trigger for the onset of serious auto-immune diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease.

 

The Science

When in constant motion without time for adequate rest and rejuvenation, our natural stress  response goes haywire. Adrenaline and cortisol levels remain high; heart rate and blood pressure remain elevated.

The long-term activation of the stress-response system – and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones – can disrupt almost all of your body’s processes.

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Over time, sympathetic overdrive results in chronic fatigue, lack of focus, sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression and ultimately stress related illness. That’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with the stressors in your life.

 

The Healing Power of Breath

Breath is your natural tool for healing and transformation. When controlled, it becomes a catalyst for healing, vitality and joy.

Our breath is the only part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) that can be automatic or conscious. Three part yogic breath, deergha swasam, serves as an introduction to conscious breathing. With regular practice over time, this practice will promote positive health on all levels of your being.

Conscious deep breathing as a form of meditation elicits the relaxation response. The relaxation response, a phrase coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, Professor Emeritus of Mind Body Medicine Harvard University, is our ability to stimulate relaxation of our muscles, organs, glands, mind and nervous system naturally.
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Breath is a direct reflection of mind. Externalized awareness elicits the stress response – fight or flight. Rapid, shallow breathing is a reflection of this physiological state. Unbroken internalized awareness elicits the relaxation response – rest and repair. Slow deep breathing is a reflection of this psychosomatic state.

Three Part Yogic Breath – Deergha Swasam

Breath is life. It allows us to heal and become whole.

Within the breath is oxygen and energy; they are inextricably intertwined. Through specialized yogic breathing, stress dissolves and vitality increases. Body and mind gain deep rest.

During Three Part Breath, deergha swasam, research indicates we take in up to 7 times more oxygen than in normal, shallow breathing. Although Three Part Breath is a preparatory technique and technically not a pranayama or yogic breathing practices, it is the beginning of the practices. According to Sri Pantanjali, breath is the transition between inner and outer practices – relaxation and stress – consciousness and life. Through pranayama, we enter into the higher or inner yogic techniques.

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Prana means ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force’ and ayama means ‘to expand’. Pranayama is expansion of the vital energy. This vital energy supports and enlivens all of life’s experiences including physical and spiritual.

Practice Instructions

In the Three Part Breath, we breathe sequentially into the lungs – abdomen, chest and upper chest – inhaling fully and exhaling completely.

I have divided the practice into systematic steps to facilitate understanding. Remain at each phase until you can practice naturally with ease. Only then proceed.

Pranayama, yogic breathing, is one of the most subtle and powerful of all yogic practices. You must never strain.

The Practice

Step 1: Find yourself in a comfortable posture. Nose breathing yields best results. Eyes may remain slightly open or lightly closed.

Step 2: We will begin with a few cleansing breathes. Gently focus your full awareness on the incoming and outgoing breath. On inhalation, breathe in energy and light. On exhalation, release all toxins.

Step 3: On a long slow inhalation, direct the breath to the base of the diaphragm. The belly fills, ribs expand and collarbones to rise gently.
On a long slow exhalation, collarbones fall, ribs contract and abdomen empties.

Step 4: On inhalation, the entire circumference of the torso expands. As you inhale, belly, side waist and low back expand. This wave of expansion rises up the torso during the entire inhalation.

On exhalation, the entire circumference of the torso contracts. Collar bones fall, ribs contract and belly empties. This wave of contraction descends unbroken throughout the entire exhalation.

Remain here for a while. Don’t try to control the breath. Allow it to smooth and deepen naturally.

Step 5: You may experience a slight pause between inhalation and exhalation. This is natural. To unlock the breath, gently expand the inhalation and exhalation.

When you’ve inhaled fully, inhale just a bit more. When you’ve exhaled completely, exhale just a bit more.

Deep breathing gradually increases the tidal capacity of the lungs. The more oxygen you can breathe, the healthier you become.

Step 6: After the breath has smoothed, begin to develop equal length of inhalation and exhalation. Count the breaths using the mantra OM – OM1, OM2, OM3, etc. Mantra adds a spiritual dimension. Be here for a while counting the breaths.

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Step 7: At the top of the inhalation, hold the breath for a second or two and then exhale. This facilitates the exchange of gases – the release of impurities and absorption of energy and life.

Step 8: Allow the exhalation to become just slightly longer than the inhalation.

Step 9: To slow and refine the breath, use ujjayi breathing or ocean breath throughout. To perform ujjayi, gently closing the epiglottis down over the windpipe. This throat contraction occurs naturally when we whisper out loud. Some people refer to ujjayi as ocean breathing.

Step 10: Build the counts as your capacity develops. Gradually increase one second at a time. Eventually, stop at 12:24 ratio (12 seconds on inhale, 24 seconds on exhale).

Benefits and Use

Three Part Breath can be used as a stand-alone practice. It relaxes, develops breath control, reduces stress and anxiety, quiets the mind, increases tidal capacity, facilitates exchange of gases, provides greater oxygenation of the brain and enhances vitality.

You may use this technique any time you need to unplug and rejuvenate or feel you can’t make it through your day.

 

Margaret Glatfelter, Founder of the Lalitha Institute, is a Professor of Yoga and Energy Healing. She is one of a few Americans offering a traditional practice that has been handed down from teacher to student for literally thousands of years. Margaret offers classes, lectures and trainings internationally.

For more information on this and other topics, Margaret can be reached directly at (717) 577-5964. Call for your free consultation.

 

Chakra Meditation

We will now clear, balance and charge the chakras, centers of energy and light located along the spine. Awareness will ride on the breath.

Assume a comfortable posture.  Nose breathing as possible.

Focus your awareness where the passage begins – just below the base of the spine, in the perineum in men, midway between the anus and scrotum and in women at the posterior (back) side of the cervix.

Visualize here a point of bright light.

On the next inhalation, draw your awareness up the front body to the pubic bone. Visualize here a point of shimmering light. Breathe naturally.

Concentrate your awareness at the navel. Visualize here a point of shining light.

Move your awareness to the breastbone – center of the chest.   Visualize here a point of gleaming light. Breathe fully.

Concentrate your awareness to the pit of your throat.   Visualize here a point of light – radiant light.

Gently gather your awareness at the eyebrow center.   Visualize here a point of beaming light. Breathe into this point.

Finally, take the awareness to the crown of the head. Visualize here a point of luminous light. Relax into the breath.

Exhale awareness descends:

Crown

Eyebrow center

Throat

Center of the chest

Navel

Pubic bone

Pelvic floor

 

Yet again.

Focus your awareness where the passage begins – just below the base of the spine, in the perineum in men, midway between the anus and scrotum and in women at the posterior (back) side of the cervix.

Visualize here a point of bright light.

On the next inhalation, draw your awareness up the front body to the pubic bone. Visualize here a point of shimmering light.

Concentrate your awareness at the navel. Visualize here a point of shining light.

Move your awareness to the breastbone – center of the chest.   Visualize here a point of gleaming light. Breathe fully.

Concentrate your awareness to the pit of your throat.   Visualize here a point of light – radiant light.

Gently gather your awareness at the eyebrow center.   Visualize here a point of beaming light. Breathe into this point.

Finally, take the awareness to the crown of the head. Visualize here a point of luminous light. Relax into the breath.

Exhale awareness descends.

 

Crown

Eyebrow center

Throat

Center of the chest

Navel

Pubic bone

Pelvic floor

Candle Gazing Meditation

The purpose of this meditation is to calm the mind, increase concentration and enhance intuitive abilities.  You will need a white candle made of organic materials and a clean, quiet space.

The candle should be placed eye level one arm’s length distance away. You may be seated in a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor.

Breathe naturally for a few moments with eyes closed. When ready to begin, open your eyes and gaze at the steady flame with a soft, continuous focus. Do not to blink. Your eyes may water; this is natural.  These are impurities being released.

When you can no longer hold the eyes open, close them.  You will see the reverse image of the candle.  As the image drifts, keep it centered to the best of your ability.

When the image has faded, open your eyes and repeat.  Remember to breathe deeply and fully through your nose during the entire meditation.

Continue this candle meditation for ten minutes initially.  Adjust the meditation time as your schedule and capacity allow.

Pure Water

TO YOUR HEALTH

Everyone has heard how important it is to drink enough water. This is especially true in the hot summer months. This nutrient is vital to your health in numerous ways, and the health benefits of drinking water cannot be underestimated. Benefits of drinking water include: maintaining body temperature, metabolizing body fat, helping with digestion, lubricating and cushioning organs, moving nutrients and flushing toxins from your system.

Roughly 70-75% of your total body weight is made up of water and your blood is approximately 90% water. The body requires water to stay hydrated and function properly. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

THE FACTS

Drinking water improves digestion and metabolism. One of the definite benefits of drinking water is proper digestion and metabolism. Even mild dehydration can slow down metabolism and cause you to work harder to burn the same number of calories.

Drinking water enhances fat loss. Water is an essential nutrient. All chemical reactions in the body depend upon it. If you’re trying to lose weight, water is required to flush out the by-products of fat breakdown.

Drinking water is a natural appetite suppressant. Try drinking water before your regular meals and see if it helps you cut down on the amount of food you eat. Drinking water between meals cuts down on snacking.

Drinking water enhances workouts. Another of the more tangible benefits of drinking water is more focused and intense workouts. Only missing a few ounces of water each day can mean a 20-30% drop in performance.

Drinking water combats ailments. In many cases, fatigue, headaches, back pain and muscle spasms may be caused by dehydration. Drinking water facilitates removal of toxins: Drinking adequate amounts of water is crucial to facilitating the removal of wastes from the body. It also promotes regularity.

Drinking water makes you look younger. Proper hydration can reduce your ‘real age’. When the skin is properly hydrated, it looks plump and more radiant. Muscles need to have enough water to make them look full too. So juice things up with water.

Experts now recommend drinking at least eight 8 ounce glasses of pure water a day. Although this recommendation is not scientifically based, this 8 x 8 rule works as a general guideline. This means drinking at least 64 ounces a day. Find a 32 ounce water bottle—preferably glass. Fill it once in the morning and again in the afternoon with the best quality water available and sip throughout the day. When you drink enough, you’ll look and feel better.

You may need to modify your total fluid intake. Proper fluid intake can vary from person to person. This depends on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. If you suffer from any illnesses or health conditions, consult your physician to determine proper hydration.

 

AS MOTHER NATURE INTENDED

Drink water. We are all seeking peace of mind; its foundation is based on physical and mental health. Proper functioning of the body and mind depend on water. So make water your beverage of choice. The purer the water is the better the hydration.

When thinking of health and balance, realize this must be accomplished from the inside out. Remember to keep it simple, keep it pure and keep it water.

Yoga & Ayurveda: An Autumn Yoga Practice

The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of Autumn.  With the arrival of Autumn, Vata dosha comes into prominence. Margaret Glatfelter, Ayurvedic Specialist and Yoga Therapist, suggests some Ayurvedic tips for an Autumn yoga practice for optimal wellness and balanced living.

The Ayurvedic term for humor is dosha, meaning that which spoils or causes decay.  When out of balance, the doshas cause disease. Treating dosha imbalance can cut off the disease process at the root.

Regular asanas are essential to long term health. The purpose of asana practice is to keep the doshas in their proper flow; to sustain them as forces of health and vitality.  Asana is the main physical exercise for balancing doshas. It calms Vata, cools Pitta and releases Kapha.

In a Yoga and Ayurveda session, Margaret sequences Yoga asanas to treat doshic imbalance, realigning and sustaining them as forces of health and vitality.

Autumn is predominantly a cool, dry, windy season. Vata is predominant in the elements air and space, giving it cold, light, dry, subtle, rough, and mobile qualities.

Our skin may start to feel dry, tight and even a little rough. Vata imbalance can also leave you feeling ungrounded, spaced out, fidgety or unable to focus properly.

Other signs of Vata aggravation include constipation, bloating, or feelings of anxiety and insomnia. You may also experience joint pain or back ache.

The following asanas are recommended for Vata imbalance. Perform them slowly, gently and steadily.

  1. Surya Namaskar (sun salutes): Practice mindfully with complete awareness on the breath.
  2. Standing poses: Tadasana (mountain), Vrikshasana (tree), Trikonasana (triangle), Virabhadrasana  (warrior poses).  Focus gently on full extension. Relax and  breathe in the pose.
  3. Sitting poses: Virasana (Hero), Siddhasana (easy seat), Padmasana (lotus pose), Vajrasana (thunderbolt).  Seated asanas balance the mind, increase powers of concentration inducing physical and mental relaxation quickly.
  4. Inversions: Vipareeta Karani (shoulder stand), Sirshasana (headstand).  Inversions stop the aging process.
  5. Back bends: Bhujangasana (Cobra), Salabhasana (locust), and Dhanurasana (bow pose).  Backbends opens the flow of vital energy to the heart and increase flexibility of the spine.
  6. Forward Bends: Vajrasana (child’s pose), Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Paschimottananasana (sitting forward bend). These postures quickly remove excess Vata, managing constipation and gas. Lower back tightness is released and stiff spines regain suppleness.
  7. Spinal twists:   Supta Parivartanasana I & II (reclining twist).  Spinal twists purify the internal organs and balance the entire nervous system.  Breathe deeply and relax into the posture.
  8. Yoga Mudra:  This full body mudra seals in all the energy gained during the yoga asana practice.
  9. Yoga Nidra (conscious sleep). This profound yet simple form of guided meditation is performed in shavasana (corpse pose).  It is deeply rejuvenating. Relaxation releases impurities and integrates energy gained during practice.  Allow at least 20 minutes. For insomnia, practice at bedtime.

To balance Vata, a restorative practice is best.

  • Maintain a slow, smooth and steady pace.
  • Stretch moderately.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Use small, gentle movements with multiple repetitions.
  • Focus on stability and grounding while in the pose.

Restoring wholeness in body, mind and spirit is what we are all seeking, both individually and collectively. Following these practice guidelines will assist in maintaining balance and wellness as we transition into Autumn.

 

 

Woodstock Turns 43

Sri Swami Satchidananda opened the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival  in Bethel, New York  on August 15, 1969 addressing a crowd of approximately 500,000. In this time of great social and political change, it is said that Swami Satchidananda “…shaped the destiny of an entire generation.”

“My beloved Brothers and Sisters, I am overwhelmed with joy to see the entire youth of America gathered here in the name of the fine art, music. In fact, through music we can work wonders. Music is the celestial sound, and it is sound that controls the whole universe, not atomic vibrations. Sound energy, sound power is much, much greater than any other power in this world…..I am honored for having been given the opportunity of opening this great, great music festival.

America leads the world in several ways. Very recently when I was in the east, the grandson of Mahatma Ghandi asked me, “What’s happening in America?” I said, “America is becoming a whole. America is helping everybody in the material field, but the time has come for America to help the whole world with spirituality also.”

That’s why across the length and breadth, we see people, thousands and thousands of people, yoga minded, spiritual minded. So let all our actions and all our arts express yoga. Through the sacred art of music let us find peace that that will pervade all over the globe. Often people shout, “We are going to fight for peace!” I still do not understand how they are going to fight  and then find peace. Therefore let us not fight for peace, but let us find peace within ourselves first.

The future of the world is in your hands…..I, with all my heart, wish a great, great success to this music festival. Let it pave the way for many more festivals in other parts of the country….The entire world is going to know what the America youth can do for humanity….”

~ Sri Swami Satchidananda