Imagine, you're at work, it's a Monday, it's about half way through your day, and before you start contemplating what you'll have for lunch, you have the opportunity to change into some comfy clothes, play laughter games with coworkers, take a constructive rest, listen to awesome music, dance a little, sweat a little, relax, unwind and restore yourself for the rest of the day ( and then enjoy lunch)! This is a reality for some people and could be for you too if you had a yoga instructor come to your work place!
A growing and progressive field has been bringing yoga and meditation to the office. Western scientific research studies have been conducted over the past few decades into the subject of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. One of the questions WAS, "Could it help reduce stress and increase efficacy in the workplace?" The answer was always obvious and apparent, and yoga has become associated (in U.S. culture) with relaxation, increased flexibility, reduced stress, and an improved sense of well being.
Currently I am working with a business, the local library and an elementary school, (with a couple others in the works) where I go right to their work place to share the joys of yoga with them. It's amazing the transformation process that occurs over our hour together. People sometimes come in stiff, anxious, cold, or stressed and always leave a little warmer and lighter, usually with a smile on their face. It is a blessing being able to work and play with individuals at their work, there's something special about it for myself and for them. For them, being able to take a rest from their busy schedules and do something proactive, lighthearted, healthy, and fun, and to bring some balance and break up stagnation during their day is Huge! Participants get to share a memorable experience with their coworkers and friends, and all around feel good about themselves, without having to drive anywhere else before, after, or during work. The convenience factor is probably most appealing.
As for me, I'm just sharing what I love. It's a total win-win.
Below is a file that lists some ways you can share a few laughs with people at work, and how laughter can change your environment.
Interested in bringing the joys of yoga to your work? Contact your favorite practitioner or a local yoga studio and get on board with the largest growing field!
With Love and Laughs,
Bryan J. Nupp, RYT 200
Recently I've been certified as a Laugha Yoga Leader, and let me tell you about what a fun weekend that was! Aside from playing a lot of games, and using laughter as our main form of communication, there were several deep insights that revealed themselves to me during this time.
You know, most people wake up and don't know when or where their next laugh is going to come from. Worse still, some people can't remember the last time they laughed. They wake up, run out the door balancing a cup of coffee, cellphone on speaker, trying to slip on their shoes and get the car started, and while the very sight of this is hilarious, laughter is far from their mind as they rush to the next thing.
Fortunately, I've discovered that laughing is easy. And we don't have to wait around for it! I get up and walk over to the mirror for a good laugh every day! HAH Even better, we can laugh for no reason what so ever! That was the first big realization I had. Sometimes we spend a long time waiting for permission to laugh, waiting for a joke, a funny movie, a night out with our best friends, or some bodily function to carry us past our serious edge and into a place that seems appropriate to laugh. You can laugh right now, try it! HAH So why wait? This same principle applies to a whole array of situations, waiting for the perfect mate, waiting for the perfect job that we love, waiting for the right time to get away on that dream vacation, waiting to finish that project that's been drawn out for way too long, and the list goes on and on...but really. What's keeping us? We get this life, that we are aware of, why wait around and leave it All to chance? I want to be happy, I don't want to have to wait for some outside circumstance or rare super moon to guide me in the direction. All I have to do is be happy! Being proactive this way can really do a 180 to our current emotional state and perspective on things.
In fact, walking my dog this afternoon I realized, "I haven't really laughed yet today." Before I let this alarm me I quickly opened up a little can of chuckle, "He-He" Whew, what a relief.
And this leads into one of my new favorite realizations, "Fake it til you make it." Some of you may be all too familiar to the concept already, but that's for another time.. The brain doesn't know the difference between a real smile and a fake one, a real laugh or a fake laugh, the same "feel good" chemicals are released and increased. This is really good news, because even if we "aren't in the mood to laugh" we can easily enhance our mood and sense of well being by practicing the "fake it til you make it" principle. The fake laughter often flips into the real thing.
So anyway, there I am, with my little dog in her cute pink sweater, lighting up the fuse to a long bout of laughter. Instantaneously my mood was lifted while simultaneously affecting those around me, I could see people's faces as they slowed past the "crazy laughing man walking his little dog". Most of them cracked a smile, a few veered over the double yellow, but I like to think that I did myself and them a favor. Combine the laughter with some weird eye contact for special results haha
Laughter is great medicine, so try brewing some of your own and see what happens. I encourage you to get into some serious setting, like a grocery store line, the bank, in traffic, or while you're alone on your walk, and just start with a little inner smile, gradually build up your inner laugh til it has to leave your lips. You don't always have to force it either, you can laugh expressively of the way you feel. If you're tired, what does a tired laugh sound like? An Indifferent laugh? Angry laugh? Tense laugh? Scared laugh? Aroused laugh? Hopefully you've been trying these as I list them hahaha
Laugha Yoga gives us insight and permission to be happy everywhere, laugh anytime, and really enjoy life in a whole new way.
All Is Love,
Bryan Josiah Nupp, RYT 200
Sometimes, people are "turned off" by chanting in a yoga class. And if people even a yoga class can't seem to get it, what does everyone else think? Recently during a webinar training I asked Amanda Correa, E-RYT 500 about how she deals with introducing mantra to an all levels class. She replied that she briefly explains what a mantra or sound vibration is, what kind of a frequency/feeling it produces for her, and that if someone isn't comfortable saying it with the class, just to silently observe the effects of the powerful sound immersion. Just take the opportunity to notice what arises, and this is where the real practice of yoga begins.
I have had many people ask me the same question about one sound in particular, "OM", probably the most universally recognized (and trendy) of all mantras and symbols. My intention here is to hopefully clear up some misconceptions about"OM", and share from my own direct experience. This will be brief compared to the nature of the subject... but as Buddha said, "The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step."
You see, mantras don't always have a direct translation, rather they are the experience of something. OM can be broken down intellectually, analyzed, and written about, yes, there's value to that but it's a limiting approach in my experience, compared to the depth available when you take the time to be present with and feel into the mantra.
Wait a second, what is a mantra exactly? Webster puts it like this,
Mantra- (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
Chanting could be considered an invocation of a very special frequency. One tuned in to a "spiritual station", one that will connect us with our Highest Self, with our Highest Nature. From this space we become good instruments to serve others selflessly and realize our own innate Wisdom.
I remember as a kid, seeing one of my friends close his eyes and in a very stoic and focused way begin to hum, "OMMMMMM". I guarantee you that we were never exposed to this sort of thing at the private school we attended but still somehow knew about this sacred sound and its calming, balancing properties.
OM is a mantra, or sound vibration, which is very powerful, and is also used to initiate other mantras. OM is used in a yoga class setting, most often, to bring an uplifting vibration to the room, unite participants with that space of Love and Peace within, and on a physiological level, brings balance to the hemispheres of the brain. It is everywhere and it is within everything. If you were to sit very quietly, with a stillness penetrating deep beyond even the internal sounds, you would reach a vibration within that is OM. All of the Saints and Sages, from different parts of the world have accounted for and verified similar experiences.
OM, according to "Sutras of Patanjali" Book 1:27, is the mystic sound that is the embodiment, experience, and fullness which is God. In Swami Satchidananda's commentary he says,
"There are hundreds and thousands of names for God, but none convey the exact idea of God. They may help us picture or conceptualize one aspect of God, but not the Fullness, the Limitless Nature of God. God is, was and always will be- infinite and omnipresent. Such a Great One should have a great name, that through even repeating the very name manifests God in you. The name "chair" may remind you of a chair, but you can't sit in it. "Sugar" reminds you of something sweet, but you can't taste it. God's name should denote the Fullness, represent God and also bring God to you." Sounding out OM is one way of achieving this union.
Repetition of a mantra (or positive affirmation) can be a great aid in developing concentration, and clearing obstacles on your path during meditation and other breath-body practices.
At first I wasn't so sure about all this mantra business, but I tried it and stuck with it. I continued to research and practice it. Slowly, as I nourished this seed that had been planted, beautiful things began to happen, I would find a little peace, some respite in between thoughts. Other times, profound experiences arose working with the mantra. Now it's become less about me focusing on or "forcing" the mantra, rather, it finds me! I'll be doing some kind "mundane" activity or task, landscaping, painting, chopping vegetables, going for a walk, doing laundry, driving, etc. and that sound or short phrase will start up again. The mantra always finds me when I need it most, and it is a magnificent tool for training the mind.
I hope this text finds you well, and full of Love.
Blessings of Peace and Love,
OM Shanthi -Peace-
Bryan Josiah Nupp, RYT 200
It is easy, with spring fast approaching and that entails, to get caught up in future plans and obligations. The beauty of yoga, is that it is a practice of the present moment. Right Here, Right Now, Being with what is and accepting that with grace. Things happen outside of our understanding of why and they happen at their own pace, it's the nature of things in this life. So, without getting caught up in the story of "why?", or letting the river of thoughts that the mind generates sweep you downstream, start right here, by taking a deep breath and anchoring yourself in the moment at hand.
Remind yourself, All Is Well, and then refocus in to the task at hand, coming to it with full attention and awareness.
Not only will life become a bit more peaceful, but being present opens up all kind of possibilities that we couldn't see before when we were stuck in our inner melodrama!
I encourage you, as I encourage myself every day, from moment to moment, do your best, take a deep breath and relax, All is Well. You Are Beautiful!
"The past has flown away...
Future Weeks and Years Do Not Yet Exist..........
All that we have is right here, in this tiny point in the present moment."
-A Wise Man