Teachings of Mother India

 

India trips

 

 

 
With a one-way ticket and a lot of trust, I traveled to India for the first time in 2007. I headed there alone, in pursuit of rock climbing and the mysterious world of Yoga. Before arriving, I had visions of Yoga in the Himalayas, spiritual enlightenment, delicious curries, and dancing Goddess Princesses. The life lessons and transformation that India offered (and continues to offer me) was beyond anything I could have dreamt of.Yoga in Rajasthan Jaislamer Desert

India is a country in which the distances between yin and yang are vast and colored with spice, infinite mystery, Bollywood hits, and pure potential. These wonderful and exciting extremes offer the possibility of deeply learning about one’s self and moving more fully into the center. As we learn to deeply meditate and flow in asana in India, this practice of meditation soon begins to move into all aspects of our daily life.

With presDesert Woman of Rajasthanence, we seamlessly move through chaos and silence with the grace of a butterfly’s wings. With centered observation of India’s extreme opposites, we may expand our world and move to places within ourselves never thought possible. Mother India shakes us up and then ever so sweetly puts us back together brighter, expanded, and happier.
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Rock Climbing to Tame the Monkey Mind

 

Chris Henson Rock Climbing

 

Monkey Rishikesh Yoga Retreat

 

For most people, when we say “meditation”, we think of sitting very still, in a quiet place, cross legged, with some sort of intention in clearing our mind and observing our thoughts.  Maybe we focus on the breath or chant OM or listen to some beautiful music. Although these are imperative and wonderful practices, it can be greatly challenging for many people to sit still and find any space between that seemingly never-ending stream of thoughts.

I have often experienced this frustration of “so many thoughts”… the monkey mind dancing all over the place. I sit to meditate and that little apelike creature starts doing all kinds of flips, and pulls out a bunch of other monkey friends from its barrel to play in my head creating all kinds of a mess.  Before I know it, I have a whole family spinning thoughts through my meditation.

So what to do?

I say… “Take a breath and let this monkey mind do what monkeys do best….send it for a climb up a giant rock face!” Continue reading

Who says giving up is a bad thing?

Pushkar Mistful Sunrise Meditation

In my life I have wandered the world in search of spirituality and truth. I delved into countless mystery schools in hopes of finding answers to the deeper questions that stirred within my heart. As I sit still in this moment, and reflect upon all that I have discovered… I once again come back to the seeming realization that I really know nothing. Truths that I once thought discovered are lies just the same. Every grain of sand I grasp falls through my clenched fists to be lost once again into the abyss.  Every concept, idea, belief, swirls into another mist of uncertainty.

I know not who I truly am, for it has been lost in the whirling winds of the great illusion.  I know not where I am going, yet I continue onward just the same.  My mind is filled with echoing Words of “you should be: …this …that …happy …spiritual …kind …loving …trusting …strong …loving …open …discerning …humble …present….

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FSJ evolving, transforming, and expanding

It has been some time since last reaching out .  Just like how in each one of our lives, we sometimes need to take a break from the normal, retreat within, and make some adjustments… business also sometimes need to do the same.  FSJ have been taking a bit of time to dig a little deeper, discover some new dimensions of itself, and explore some new amazing places in which to share with you.

Our journeys took us from the ocean & jungles of Thailand, to Shamanic Plants & Incan ruins of Peru, to retreats & spiritual communities in Brazil, to silence & Yoga in the Himalayas of India, to medieval villages & rock climbing in Spain, and finally to retreat into our home in the mountains of Washington State.

Some awesome photos and  insights through our Spiritual Travel:

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Travel Well by Packing Light

StreetsofRishikeshSo you have just booked your spot for a yoga and meditation retreat to Peru!  Or maybe you stopped toying with whether you are ready for a deeply spiritual trip to India and put down your deposit!  What’s next?  The questions and thoughts will creep in.  What if I do not speak the language?  What if I am not as experienced in yoga as the others?  Our thoughts can flow to more material concerns like how many outfits and bags should I bring?  Should I bring my meditation implements and mat with me?  Questions asked that will keep you in your comfort zone, but will they lead to an impactful journey?

Though these are all valid, they may or may not be important to your journey, they may cause one to overthink and skew the true intentions of your travel.  So, what is the solution?  PACK LIGHT!!!  Yes, this cliché term that we all know, however more than likely use in a physical context.  It does however have a second facet.  Today and on your journey challenge yourself to accept this as a mantra to how you move, act, feel, and respond.   Focus beyond your bags, and look inward to YOU! Continue reading

Slowing Down Thailand Island Style

Beautiful View from southern thailand island paradise

Namaste World Family….
I greet you this time from the beautiful Southern Thailand Paradise of Koh Yao Noi.  It is a mostly unexplored island located between Phuket and Krabi… and my current Winter home. The ocean landscape is painted with Limestone towers sprouting from all direction, pristine abundant nature, and hidden beach paradises.

southern thailand local experienceThrough our Yoga and Outdoor Adventure (especially rock climbing), we are currently co-creating a beautiful bubble of yoga, light, and goodness! People visit from all over the world and many new connections are being created.

There really isn’t so much to “do” here other than teach/practice yoga, rock climb, read, connect with beautiful people, enjoy the ocean…and just BE. This environment gives visitors a great opportunity to reflect, make some changes in their lives, and retreat into peace.

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Invasion of Thoughts

Sitting at a coffee shop this morning, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with how many thoughts were able to enter my mind within a very short span.  Joining me for the cup of coffee, as most mornings, was my to-do list, a book, my cell phone, and of course the source of more information overload than anything in my possession, my laptop.  I couldn’t help but ask, why do I have all of these, and more importantly why are they all in my stream of consciousness at once?

Now, technology has wonderful qualities that I certainly take advantage of, however can certainly challenge the mindful lifestyle.  Being aware of what is around you and bringing ultimate focus to what is in the present is a practice that I have talked about before that is honed over time, however, it is tested as you sit with so many potential distractions around you.  It is all too easy to be working on one project while thinking about the next. Continue reading

Shifting Into a New Paradigm

I have one more week in the sacred land of India, and as I prepare for the return to the USA, I begin to reflect on the last few months of inner and outer journey. Spiritual festivals, enlightened masters, FSJ Journeys, synchronistic encounters, profound transformation….. I feel like lifetimes have passed and time is speeding up …. yet at the same time, I feel like it is possible to live an eternity in one single moment. Continue reading

Learning to Observe Your Meditation

MudrasMeditation is a practice that offers several benefits, not the least of which is fostering a life of mindfulness.  Why is mindfulness desirable?  When in a mindful state we are present and aware of thoughts and emotions that arise, and we are able to address them without judgement or a need for rationalization.  Often, early practitioners of meditation jump to judging their practice, such as the “correctness” of their posture, the ability to silence thoughts, and to calm the mind.  The ability to accept without judgement is a quality that can be developed through regular sittings and is essential to achieving a mindful position of an observer to your practice as opposed to driving it.  Continue reading

No Time For Meditation!?!?

The above is often brought to me in various forms as either a statement or a question. I have heard and of course used all of the popular lines……”I just don’t have the time to meditate”, “Meditation doesn’t seem to work for me”, “How do you find the time to meditate?”

Life often pulls us away from practice, no matter how dedicated we feel we are or how much we can see the benefit starting to cultivate and grow within us. Meditation is just that, a practice honed over time with patience being its strongest catalyst. The statement that it doesn’t work in and of itself is a conscious thought and observation which means it IS working on some level as you have put focus into coming to this conclusion.  Realization of a busy mind is the first observation you need to springboard future growth.  Continue reading