Tag Archives: Yoga

Strike a (Dream) Pose

The Yoga of Dreams

In Yoga, postures are physical poses that we practice for improved health and over all well-being.

Dreamwork, too is a practice to help us improve our health and well being. Bringing conscious awareness to our dreams means paying attention to how we go to sleep, what we dream, how we wake up, and how we respond to our dreams in our waking lives.

Posture refers not only to how we carry our body, but the word posture also refers to a spiritual attitude. In that sense, conscious dreaming is also about posture—in the sense that it’s about the position we take toward sleep and dreaming. In particular, it is a mindful approach to entering dreams in order to align with our true self and our divine aspirations.

In dreamwork we pay attention to our dreams to further our commitment to self-study and self-reflection. As a result we develop more mental flexibility, clarity, and ease.

What is your current posture—or attitude—toward your dreams? Do you believe your dreams can assist your spiritual development? Can you stretch your mind to have a more open and nonjudgmental attitude toward dreams and dreaming?

Learn more about how to develop A Mindful & Yogic way to sleep, dream, and live better at these upcoming workshops:

Weds. July 22, 6:30 p.m. at VegaYoga in Holyoke, Mass.

and November 12-15 at Sivananda Ashram and Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas.

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Long Time Gone (& back again)

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to post here. Those of you who know me know there’s been a lot going on in my waking life (almost as much as in my prolific dream life!).

But before I tell you how glad I am to be back, I’d like to put in a word for silence – or the space between words; the lacuna between one thought and the next; the dreamless sleep that hammocks us between bursts of dream.

The beautiful spring flowers that we’ve been enjoying in these past weeks remind me that the snow covered winter landscape was in fact incubating vibrant dreams of color and beauty all through those gray, icy months. In the deep darkness of silent sleep, untold wonders are sending forth shoots that we will soon see blossom.

And so, this time between blog posts has been an opportunity for me to regroup and reflect on what it is I most want to share with you about dreams.

And here it is: I want to help you see the benefits that being fluent in your own dream language can afford to you.

I’d also like to help you begin to see dreams as not just something that happens to you when you close your eyes and go to sleep—but instead, I want to help you recognize that dreaming is a state of consciousness that you can enter into and engage in mindfully, and as such, that it can help to support and sustain your intentions for integrating body, mind, and spirit in a healthy and holistic way.

In the coming days and weeks I will share some posts with you about how to make dreamwork a part of your life, in the same way that a yoga or meditation can be woven into the fabric of your daily routine.

In the meantime, it’s good to be back.

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Welcome back, dreamer: Have you been a long time gone from your dreams? Let your dreams know that you want to rekindle your relationship with them: Place a notebook beside your bed, and write down your intention to remember your dreams tonight.

 

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Enjoy a musical interlude with the Dixie Chicks as you peruse these posts: Long Time Gone.

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Learn to develop A Mindful Way to Sleep, Dream, and Live Better at one of these upcoming workshops:

Weds. May 27 Dreamasana at VegaYoga in Holyoke, Mass.

November 12-15, The Yoga of Dreams at Sivananda Ashram and Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas.

 

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(Dream) Practice Makes Perfect

Dreamwork Podcast CoverWhat would it mean to have a dream practice, the same way some people have a yoga or meditation practice? (Hint: You don’t need a sticky mat, but prepare to fluff up your pillow!)  Listen in to learn more:

IMG_4811This episode of my podcast, DreamWork, was recorded at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in Nassau, Bahamas, during my stay there in November, 2014.

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Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.

Have a Dream Question? Send it along! I’d love to hear from you.


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Q&A: Can Dreams Help Me Evolve Spiritually? (Namaste, Dreamer!)

Q: How can dreams best be used to evolve one’s spiritual being?

Signed,

Evolving

A: Maybe it’s because I just got back from my weekly yoga class at the Y, but for some reason your question makes me think of downward facing dogs and backbends. Hang in there with me for a moment, Evolving, Dear. That’s not as random as it might at first sound.

You see, we’re supposed to do yoga to become enlightened, right? We know there’s gotta be deep wisdom scrawled in Sanskrit somewhere between all those forward folds and cobra poses. But face it. We also love yoga because it’s a great excuse to buy fabulous form-fitting flared-at-the-knee Capris and pretty little Spandex tops. (Or is that just me and some elephant-headed god is going to toss a bolt of lightning at me for my blasphemous remarks? No worries. I’m willing to risk it for you, Evolving One).

The point is that just as some yoginis (yes, I’m guilty as charged) can turn this deep spiritual practice into an excuse to get a little fashion-crazy, so with dreaming too it’s easy to get lost in the metaphorical bling of the exercise. For example, some dreamers–(yup, I’m guilty as charged once more), can get so caught up in amassing closets full of dream journals, or flaunting their lucid dreaming prowess–that they seem to forget what we’re doing dreamwork for anyway.

But, Evolving one, as you seem to suspect, dreams are about more than just consciousness aerobics. In fact, as much as I love showing off my knowledge of Greek mythology as I delve into a dream’s archetypes and allusions, the real reason I’m hooked on them is that in dreams I get to slip into state of being in which consciousness is as detached from my physical body as it can get without me breaking any laws or checking out for good.

Dreams are in fact a nightly invitation to a spiritual training ground that’s as rigorous and profound as any master yoga class. It’s up to us to accept the challenge and deepen our experience.

But how?

Let’s go back to the sticky mat for a moment. In yoga class the teacher cheerfully invites us to bend our bodies into seemingly impossible contortions. Then, in the face of our burning muscles and shrieking joints she offers breezy instructions like: “Notice your body’s resistance, bring your breath to that area, and simply soften and release.”

At first you think she’s some kind of saccharine sweet sadist, but you go ahead and do what she says and next thing you know you can touch your toes, arc up into a backbend, or sit in full lotus position.

Let’s apply this same instructions to dreams and watch our spirits evolve. Try it: When you find yourself face to face with a monster, an enemy, or a dream character you have nothing but scorn for … soften and release. Consider the possibility that perhaps the character who represents you in the dream is wrong, and that the toothless old woman or the axe-wielding wild man in your nightmare is right. Where can you soften your resistance to a dream scenario? Where can you release a habitual judgments or attitudes and open to new points of view? Apply this principle to even the most mundane dream and the results can be soul-shaking and supremely growthful.

For me, a terrifying dream of being chased by a band of killers while I sped past a student from my poetry class, literally woke me up to the fact that if I didn’t start honoring my inner artist, I’d be murdering a precious part of myself.

A client I recently worked with found that the repulsive man who stormed into her home in her dream was really asking her to accept her own imperfections and embrace a more laissez faire attitude, rather than clinging to her impossible-to-meet joy-crushing standards.

Look into your dream, find the point of conflict, then breathe, soften, and release.

Yeah, I know, that’s more difficult than enduring the burn of chair pose. Ever hear of growing pains? Uh huh. Spiritual and emotional growth is uncomfortable, too, but if you breathe into the discomfort you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly (spiritually) flexible. You’re softening your identification with your ego and starting to align with your deep, divine, core. You’re taking an evolved stance, Evolving One, which is expansive, nonjudgmental, curious, and joyful.

Downward facing dog, anyone?

Dreamily yours,

Tz …

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Learn more about how to develop A Mindful & Yogic way to sleep, dream, and live better at these upcoming workshops:Weds. July 22, 6:30 p.m. at VegaYoga in Holyoke, Mass.and November 12-15 at Sivananda Ashram and Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas.

Want to learn more about your dreams? Contact me to find out about upcoming dream groups in western Massachusetts, or individual dream sessions by phone, Skype, or in person.

Have a Dream Question? Send it along! I’d love to hear from you.

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Look But Don’t Touch … Part II

On a recent visit to Kripalu, a yoga center in western Massachusetts, my sister and I took a late afternoon walk before attending a dance class. But before we went inside, we stood gazing at the sunset. Snow covered the sloping hill side, and bare trees showed off their elegant architecture in fading light that seemed to have been infused with fairy dust.

Silently we took all of this in. And silently I spoke to the exquisite landscape, which seemed to be shimmering with meaning: What have you come to tell me? I asked.

No answer.

Then, I heard my sister, say, “Embrace me!”

I turned to look at her. “Excuse me?” I asked.

“Well, I felt like the landscape was saying that, ‘Embrace me!’ ” she explained a bit sheepishly, “so I just said it out loud.”

What a funny way the world has of talking to us! I asked the question silently, my sister heard the answer in her head and gave it voice.

We stood and looked some more. After all, we could only embrace this wonder with our eyes.

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p.s. My sister (who also happens to be a prolific blogger)  is visiting from her home in Japan. She is without her computer and without her camera, so she was not able to post on her own blog this week. She asked me to blog about our shared experience for her, so she could participate in Corner View even while she was “unplugged.” I hope you will visit her blog, too, and read some of her touching posts!

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p.s.s. Asking a question of an inanimate object, symbol, or image, is a dreamwork technique called Active Imagination. It is often useful to dialogue with dream symbols in this way to engage the sub conscious and the conscious mind to find meaning in a dream or waking experience (such as an illness, accident, or encounter with nature). I write about it elsewhere on this blog.

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(not) Just a Box of Hearts

Heart

Image via Wikipedia

What I like best about dreams is that after paying so much attention to the symbols generated by the mind asleep, I start to see symbols everywhere in the world awake.

View from the dream -- or from the glass elevator in Brussels (or are they the same thing?)

Case in point. In yoga class the teacher told the students that we should focus on our hearts. She said: “Soften your heart.” I said, “How do you do that?” She touched my back between my shoulder blades and said, “Soften here.” I said, “How do I do that?” She paused and said, “You’ll find a way.”

All week I tried to soften the back of my heart.

I never really thought about the back of my heart before.

But as I tried to soften the back of my heart, I felt the front of my heart open and lift.

Then suddenly, hearts began appearing as if out of the blue … or out of a dream:

At work, one of my students handed me a present. No occasion. She said she noticed the pink heart I wear sometimes around my neck, and so she thought I’d like these. She then handed me a box of heart pendants.

Box of Hearts

I was so moved by her generosity I barely noticed the poetry of the moment. A few days of breathing into my back heart, and opening my front heart, and now I was gifted with a box of hearts!

A week after that I was on vacation. While in Belgium, I met a friend I’d only met before on the Internet. After spending a magical day of flea markets, glass elevators, beautiful views, charming streets and a real Belgian waffle (with whipped cream and cherries) … she pulled out a little gift for me:

A hand-knit heart.

Hand Knit Heart

I am going to keep breathing into mine, front and back, to see what other hearts I might attract and where else the symbols might appear and where the metaphors might take me.

Brussels Flea Market

❤ ❤ ❤

With thanks to Kritzia, Nadine and the Yoga Teacher, whose name I don’t know!

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Crescent Moon Pose: A journey into the night sky (CV)

2006.6.30 - Half Moon

Image by MisEntropy via Flickr

Crescent Moon Pose

A dream poem

by Tzivia

Between my bones,

Planets sing their melodies.

Every vein—a Milky Way.

And in my rib cage,

Creation rises, inhaling

The secrets wrapped in every star.

A crescent of clouds at sunset, fall 2009

ZzZ This poem is based on a lucid dream, and a waking moment … In the dream I was in yoga class standing in a balance pose and suddenly I felt myself growing so large that I was part of the night sky and constellations. Some time later during a yoga close I had a similar felling of blissful expansiveness while standing in crescent moon pose.

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Tour the evening sky at these Corner View Blogs: ianbonniejoycekimkaytrinschritvafrancescastate of bliss cabrizetteisabellejaniskarijgylisecateotlidortebsophiemcgillicuttysunnymamadaanibbpienduzzkelleynninjasammi – – cherry bjulietteshokoofehcolegrey lemonlucylainelynnskywritingannadoritconnyl´atelierkamanaanne marierosamaríavictoriatikjewitjuniperannabelandreavaleriemerel soissesmlle paradiscacahuetewander chowbarbaraemilytallynadinematildadon flowtopssusannatania – – ingridtzivia mezza lollipopmari

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