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Yoga Has to Be Good For You - Awakening Alchemy

If you’ve previously read any of my articles, you’ll be well aware I am a firm believer in the “holistic” approach to health and wellbeing. There are so many ways to achieve peace and enlightenment and what I like to do is expose my readers to some of the options out there that they may not have considered previously. Yoga is something that for many seems too hard, too physical, and perhaps too time-consuming for them but, in reality, you only need do as much as you feel comfortable with.

Where Did Yoga Come From?

As with so many of the practices we have adopted in the West, yoga came out of the practices of the peoples of ancient India. There is much debate, in the academic world, about the actual origins of the practice but there is consensus that it originated in India probably around 3000BCE. Carved figures, picturing practitioners in various poses have been dated to this period. It was developed as part of the overall purpose of life – achieving enlightenment.

Yoga From History - Awakening Alchemy

The Pushupati Seal

Although most scholars are agreed that the principles of Yoga probably developed during the Vedic period of Indian history, there is some evidence that it may even be earlier. The Pashupati Seal discovered in an earlier Indus Valley civilization, excavation site, depicts a figure in a position that resembles an asana (a Hatha Yoga body posture) used in meditation. Yoga aimed to achieve harmony between the heart and the soul. Incidental to the practice of yoga came the realization that is was especially useful in controlling certain illnesses and diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and chronic pain.

Backward Stretch Yoga Pose - Awakening Alchemy It is precisely these benefits, perhaps, rather than the search for enlightenment that saw yoga begin to take off in Western civilization toward the middle of the nineteenth century. One of the results of this rise in popularity of yoga in the western world has been the many differing offshoots and schools of practice that have developed. It is important to understand there is no right or wrong way to practice yoga, just different methods and sometimes different sought outcomes from the practice.      

Why is Yoga Useful to Us? 

Yoga can be beautifully dovetailed into a regime of meditation which I believe is an essential part of wellbeing and centering ourselves. I’ve recently had an article on meditation published in the exceptionally fine, FREE Emagazine, called Mom’s Favorite Reads. You can access the magazine and my article on meditation here from SmashWords. Yoga and meditation are intrinsically linked – one complements the other perfectly. But why do yoga at all?

For most people the idea they would have of yoga is that it is (a) physical and therefore helps with your general level of fitness and (b) mental, in that it helps you relax and gain peace of mind as well as allowing you to zone out from the worries of life, at least for a short period.

Group Yoga Benefits - Awakening Alchemy The experts, however, paint a different picture of the benefits of yoga. They would argue that the aim of yoga is to actually transcend those things of the world, meaning to move your consciousness away from the day to day hassles of life and actually discover a higher, more spiritual plane of thinking. They would suggest that other forms of exercise can achieve fitness and mental wellbeing, like running, the spin-bike or lifting weights, whereas yoga is seen as food and exercise for the soul. Whatever the reason for doing Yoga there are definitely some real benefits to be had from it:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Stress relief
  • Circulation improvement
  • A general feeling of wellbeing
  • Physical fitness

Yoga is Great During Pregnancy - Awakening Alchemy Medical reviews, such as one published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology have shown that practicing yoga will reduce the risk of heart disease as much as any of the conventional forms of exercise. On average, people taking part in yoga regularly (weekly) lost five pounds, decreased their blood pressure, and lowered their LDL (Low-density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol – also known as “bad cholesterol” by 12 points. Research is now starting to show many more health benefits of practicing this ancient art, including: controlling obesity, reducing chronic pain, asthma relief, minimizing fatigue and aiding irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition to these findings, neuroscience, using MRI’s (magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain have shown yoga reduces the decline in gray matter brain volume, especially apparent in older people. Interestingly enough, most of this brain protection appears to occur in the left hemisphere, which is the side of the brain most associated with positive emotions and the rest and relaxation response. Perhaps we have finally found the true cause of “grumpy old man and grumpy old woman syndrome”?

It certainly appears there is little to no downside to practicing yoga.         

Yoga's Spiritual Experience - Awakening Alchemy One of the interesting things that Yoga instructors and most students who progress further in the practice have noticed is that their reasons for doing yoga, change over time. What started out initially as a physical activity slowly morphs into a more spiritual and mental activity – a journey of self-discovery, self-actualisation, self-fulfillment, and reflection along with a greater capacity to care for themselves and practice self-love. By reaching back to the very spiritual roots of yoga, people, it seems, actually begin to discover the true purpose for which the practice was developed.

How Do I Get Started on Yoga?

The first thing to remember is it DOES NOT MATTER what age you are or what fitness level you currently have. Clearly, if you are in a major city or town, there may well be a yoga studio available for you to consult and join. If this is not an option, or you feel uncomfortable or shy, training initially with others, you can totally start to learn on your own.

  • Wear comfortable and lose clothing (yoga pants are absolutely not a requirement)
  • Get yourself a non-slip yoga mat
  • Enter the process with an open mind and be prepared to be patient – it takes a little determination but you can do it.
  • Get yourself a quality “beginners” DVD or view a “beginner’s class” on the internet. (YouTube is great for this).  

Some Beginner’s Poses You Can Try: 

  • Yoga Stretching Down - Awakening Alchemy Initially, the key to success is breathing and determination. Don’t give up just because you can’t make the pose shown on your video instruction. Do as much of the pose as your body feels capable of and breathe, always breathe, through the nose, filling your belly and keeping your body relaxed and controlled. 
  • Sit on the floor in a relaxed, easy position with your legs crossed and your back and neck straight.
  • Concentrate on your breathing – regular, slow, peaceful breaths. 
  • Once you are relaxed, stand up straight and stretch your arms as high above your head as you feel able to comfortably – breathing evenly all the time.
  • Exhale as you reach down to the ground. (Don’t get discouraged if you can’t touch the ground initially – just go as far as you feel comfortable without straining yourself).  

Once you feel good with this, you’re ready to move onto a few beginner exercises which will be on your DVD or your YouTube Channel you are watching. 

One thing that is known to put off newcomers is when they see an expert twisted into some “pretzel-like” shape and they immediately say: “OMG! I can’t ever do anything like that – what’s the point of trying?” Like I said earlier – patience and determination and who knows what you can achieve in the future.

Finally, a couple of beginner poses for you to try that absolutely will not send you running to a chiropractor or requiring your partner to call an ambulance to take you off to the emergency room to be untangled.    

Cat-Cow:

A great pose for stretching the back and abdomen.

  • Cat-Cow On Your Knees - Awakening Alchemy Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.
  • Keep your spine flat, like a table – the neutral spine.
  • Keep your neck in line with your spine. Don’t lift it up or drop it down.
  • As you inhale, drop your belly toward the floor and look up. Curl your toes under if this helps you reach the stretch.
  • As you exhale, pull your spine toward the ceiling, rounding your back. Your head will drop down and you can focus on your navel. The tops of your feet will lay flat against the floor.
  • Repeat this action as you continue inhaling and exhaling, working on your breath.

Downward-Facing Dog:

Another really easy yoga pose, to start with.

  • Yogas's Downward Facing Dog - Awakening Alchemy Begin on your knees, as with the Cat-Cow pose, your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • As you breathe in, push your hips toward the ceiling, straighten your legs and place your feet flat on the ground.
  • When your legs are straight, spread out your fingers and let your head hang down between your arms. Use your quadriceps (thigh muscles) to take the pressure off your arms.
  • Once you are in position, continue working on keeping your breathing steady and rhythmical.

 

So, there we have the basics of yoga. I hope I’ve excited you enough to give it a try. Always remember two things:

  1. Nobody (and I mean nobody) cares what you look like at the moment. It’s none of their business, anyway and they, like you, all started somewhere. Everyone will be impressed with one thing – that you are giving it a go. So, don’t be afraid to try.
  2. Like everything worth having in life, it takes time, practice, and determination to achieve the tangible results you are looking for, so don’t be discouraged. I can promise you, though, if you try yoga and apply it diligently, you will start to see the incremental benefits very quickly.

Yoga Takes You Out Of This World - Awakening Alchemy There are a ton of resources out there to help you (thank goodness for the internet!) so don’t be afraid to look and if you join a structured yoga class – don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re all ultimately seeking the same thing.

If you are interested in all things spiritual and esoteric then please do visit my website and sign up to receive my regular blogs which cover many aspects of spirituality, alternative lifestyle, other esoteric topics and fascinating insights into the world of science and the paranormal. You can join here:

If you liked what you read here, please do check out our previous blogs. The last four can be found here:

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Finally, today, please do pop on over to the section of my website that highlights my Visionary Fiction “whodunit” mystery, Spirit of Prophecy, which incorporates many of the ideas and philosophies discussed in my blog into a fast-paced, fictional, thriller. I know you’ll enjoy it. You can find that here:

Spirit of Prophecy is Magical - Awakening Alchemy

Till Next Time I’m Sending: Peace and Light

 

 

Crystal Collection in a Healing Crystals Banner

As we have seen over the last couple of weeks, crystals, in all their many and varied hues can have a beneficial impact on many areas of our lives. Traditionally, crystals have primarily been seen as promoting our physical and mental health, through their amazing vibrational abilities that can free up the energy flows within our bodies.

It can certainly be argued that all crystals are, in fact, healing crystals. If we take a holistic approach to our overall wellbeing, crystals that help bring us peace, abundance, wealth, are all contributing to our wants and desires and therefore, ultimately, our wellbeing. That having been said there are some crystals that are renowned for their healing properties and those are the ones I want to focus on in this blog.

How Do Healing Crystals Work?

Healing Crystals C hart - Awakening Alchemy The basic theory behind healing crystals is the idea that they harness the life-giving elements of both the Earth, in particular, and the Universe in general. The crystals harness the energy and vibrations of the sun, the moon, the oceans, and all living things. This energy is passed on to us through contact with the crystals. As discussed in previous articles there has to be this willingness to connect, this requires an open mind, on our part to receive the true benefits of the crystals. There is limited scientific analysis of the curative properties of crystals, but the anecdotal evidence is wide-spread and substantial. Our forebears used crystals as indeed they used natural herbs and plants to assist them in curing disease and promoting health. Most of these ancient remedies have since been proven through modern medicine, to be valid and viable healthy alternatives. Remember, almost all of our modern pills and prescriptions, although often mass-produced synthetically, originally came from the plants and animals in our world. Given that, would it not be presumptuous of us to assume the ancients were right about herbs and plants, but wrong about crystals? I think so. We need to approach crystals with the same holistic approach we used to determine the efficacy of herbal and plant remedies – with an open mind and a willing heart.

At the bottom of this post, there are some links to some beautiful free Soundcloud tracks called Crystal Keys – where my Irish friend Lia Scallion captures the vibration of crystals in her sacred healing songs: my favorites are Emerald and Pearl – which are yours?

There is certainly some scientific evidence that crystals are linked to our thoughts and our beliefs. IBM Scientist Marcel Vogel, noted, while watching crystals grow under a microscope that their shape took the form of whatever he was thinking about. He also performed some tests on the metaphysical properties of quartz crystal and showed that rocks can indeed store thoughts, in much the same way that music can be stored on tapes, using magnetic energy. Arguably the greatest scientist the world has ever seen, Albert Einstein stated that everything in life is vibration and just like sound waves, your thoughts match the vibrations of everything that manifests in your life. Therefore, if you think crystals have healing potential, the positive vibrations of the stones will magnify that thought. Remember our discussion in a previous article about the “placebo effect”.

Crystals Specifically Known for Their Healing Properties:

  1. Amethyst: For those of us known to overindulge in the liquid libation from time to time, Amethyst may be just the cure for you. It is known to be useful to cure hangovers and to limit the effects of alcohol. It is also said to be useful for connecting with your spirituality and enhancing your psychic abilities.
    • Purple Amethyst Crystal - Awakening Alchemy Enhances intuition;
    • Encourages tranquility and stability;
    • Aids meditation;
    • Good for headaches and hangovers;
    • Calms the mind;
    • Third-eye chakra connection, and;
    • Promotes peace, healing and intuition.
  1. Rose Quartz: Known as the “love crystal” it is often used to attract and keep the “love of your life” or your “soulmate”. It is said to protect relationships but conversely can also be used to heal the pain of a broken heart.
    • Pink Rose Quartz Crystal - Awakening Alchemy Promotes self-love;
    • Heals your heart;
    • Helps attract love;
    • Protects relationships;
    • Balances your heart chakra;
    • Raises your self-confidence; and
    • Promotes, forgiveness, love and self-esteem.
  1. Iron Pyrite: Iron Pyrite can be used as a defense against negative energy or physical danger. It is also said to help activate your intellect and improve memory.
    • Silver Iron Pyrite Crystal - Awakening Alchemy Deters negative energy;
    • Activates your intellect;
    • Helps memory;
    • Boosts your self-worth;
    • Strengthens your willpower;
    • Promotes positive thinking, and;
    • Promotes prosperity, confidence and protection. 
  1. Tiger Eye: Tiger Eye is especially useful in helping you improve your understanding and awareness. It is particularly useful at calming and de-stressing you.   
    • Orange Tiger-Eye Crystal - Awakening Alchemy Assists awareness;
    • Boosts wealth;
    • Reduces stress;
    • Raises your confidence levels, and;
    • Brings you good fortune.
  1. Celestine: Celestine, sometimes called the divinity stone is wonderful for promoting calm and balance in your life. It is also believed to help people remember their dreams better, when they awaken. Generally, it brings an overall feeling of balance and peace to your entire body.
    • Yellow Celestine Crystal - Awakening Alchemy The Divine Stone;
    • Assists physical and mental peace within your body;
    • Enhances your spiritual connection;
    • Helps with your natural intuition, and;
    • Balances your Crown Chakra.
  1. Flourite: Flourite is known as the protector gemstone for its ability to fight off negative energy, especially that which comes from others. Coming in a variety of colours, Flourite can be especially useful in meditation and gives the wearer a feeling of tranquility.
    • Blue Flourite Crystal - Awakening Alchemy The protector stone;
    • Fights negativity;
    • Protects you from other’s comments;
    • Useful in meditating, and;
    • Promotes peace and tranquility within your whole being.
  1. Onyx: Onyx is considered to be a wonderful stone for conquering fear. It is said to provide the wearer with support, strength, stamina and protection. It is especially useful for anyone going through a period of transition that is frightened of change. It is also used to help with various skin issues, especially infection and inflammation. It is important to keep Onyx clean, and recharged by washing it regularly with salt-water or using incense smoke.
    • Black Onyx Crystal - Awakening Alchemy Helps us conquer our fears;
    • Assists us when we are stressed;
    • Soothes and alleviates worries;
    • Helps us to make smart decisions, and;
    • Can aid in minor skin infections and inflammations.
  1. Rubies: Rubies are also known as the energy stones. They can dramatically increase our vitality and zest for life. They are an especially good gift for someone who is insecure or depressed as they work specifically in these areas.
    • Blood Red Ruby Crystal - Awakening Alchemy A symbol of vitality, contentment, energy and the zest for life;
    • They encourage and promote passion and self-love;
    • Improves our motivation;
    • Restores our life-force, stimulating the heart and reproductive organs, and;
    • Physically works to cleanse and detoxify, especially our blood and lymph system.
  1. Crystal Quartz: This crystal takes the symbol of purity. It is considered to be a pure and powerful energy source that makes you more aware and alert, stimulating your brain.
    • White Crystal Quartz - Awakening Alchemy  Is the symbol of purity;
    • Helps us be more aware and living in the present;
    • Stimulates our brain and our immune system;
    • Increases our mental acuity and perception;
    • Relaxes us and enhances the benefits of other crystals, and;
    • Brings us healing, clarity and cleansing.
  1. Blue Topaz: I’ve included Blue topaz in this list because it is said to be specifically intended for the creative ones amongst us, especially the writers. It is also considered to be the perfect gift for saying; “I’m Sorry”.
    • A Blue Topaz Crystal - Awakening Alchemy The bringer of good fortune;
    • Enhances our communication skills;
    • The purveyor of truth, wisdom and honesty;
    • Promotes total body relaxation, and;
    • Brings forgiveness.

So, there we have a selection of crystals that are considered “healing” crystals. As discussed previously, all crystals can be categorized as “healing” crystals simply because of our beliefs that they all promote overall health and wellbeing, in a holistic way. Although I’ve only summarized ten crystals here, there are many more examples that you may want to research on your own. Some other crystals that are said to have “healing” qualities, include: turquoise, moonstone, citrine, amazonite, desert rose, raw emerald, hematite, and many, many more.

Crystals Gathered in a Circle around a Heart-Shaped Rock - Awakening Alchemy If nothing else, I hope I’ve piqued your interest in this fascinating world of crystals to make you want to do some further research on the subject and maybe, just maybe, dip your toes into the waters of the wonderful world of crystals. Just start with one and see what effects it has on your life. Remember, though, approach all of this with an open, receptive and inquiring mind and you cannot go wrong.

I wish you luck on your continuing journey of self-discovery. If you want some specific advice on crystals or on anything else spiritual or metaphysical, please do comment on this blog or email me direct. I’d love to hear from you and assist you in any way I can.

As mentioned earlier you can listen to the vibratory songs of Crystal Keys by Lia Scallion here:

If you enjoyed this Blog as much as I enjoyed writing it, and would like to hear more about spiritual and metaphysical issues, plus prosperity keys – I’m working on a book to reveal the Universal Laws of flow and plentitude, please do join our website and you will receive a notice whenever a new blog is posted, as well as special promotions and the opportunity to win prizes. We will never spam you, though. You can join here:

If you would immediately like to get your life turned around to a life of prosperity and abundance then please do download my FREE report; 3 Proven Ways To Pull More Prosperity to You in 30 Days.

A Pile of US Currency Bills - Awakening Alchemy If you liked what you read here, please do check out our previous blogs. The last four can be found here:

Finally, today, please do pop on over to the section of my website that highlights my Visionary Fiction “whodunit” mystery, Spirit of Prophecy, which incorporates many of the ideas and philosophies discussed in my blog into a fast-paced, fictional, thriller. I know you’ll enjoy it. You can find that here:


A Mystiucal, Magical, Spirit of Prophecy Banner - Awakening Alchemy

Till Next Time I’m Sending: Peace and Light