Fearless Heart

I became interested in mudras about a year or two ago, when I started my yoga practice.

If you’re wondering…

Mudras are physical hand (and finger or body)  gestures or seals, used in meditation, martial arts, and in yoga, that connect us to the energy pathways of our chakras, our organs, and to our emotional states.

And while all that may sound like a bit of  “woo woo”,  mudras have been used at least since antiquity (1500 BCE) and conceivably even in prehistoric religious practice (70,000 BCE), so we can rest easily that their usefulness has been tested.

Wikipedia has this to say about mudras:

A mudra (Listeni/muˈdrɑː/; Sanskritमुद्रा, “seal”, “mark”, or “gesture”; Tibetan: ཕྱག་རྒྱ་THLchakgya) is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism.[1] While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers.[2] A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions.

One hundred and eight mudras are used in regular Tantric rituals.[3]

In yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with pranayama (yogic breathing exercises), generally while seated in Padmasana, Sukhasana or Vajrasana pose, to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana in the body.

Even if you’ve never done yoga, you are probably familiar with the chin mudra…which has become a kind of symbol for “I’m meditating”…but is actually a seal reminding the practitioner of the union of the individual soul with the universal soul.

What really began to fascinate me were the more complex mudras, particularly the ones that involve two hands…there was power, strength, and flexibility in their complexity…I, quite literally, could FEEL IT!

Most you hold for a length of time…anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes, or more…while in meditation or a yoga pose. And while nearly all are indicated for specific physical impairments, the strongest impact I feel is on my emotional state. Mudras have helped me both define and understand certain emotional states that cause discomfort…anxiety…depression. Perhaps it is actually about focus, intense inward focus…and if that’s the case…that’s cool too…all I know is that…MUDRAS WORK…ON CLEARING AND STABILIZING YOUR HEART-MIND SPACE.

And so, with that introduction…I present my first mudra to you here…fellow NymphoBrainiacs. Appropriately, it is the FEARLESS HEART mudra:

The Fearless Heart mudra, or Abhaya Hrdaya Mudra in sanskrit, is meant to engender trust in your own strength and vitality…trust in your Fearless Heart. It should be used anytime you need to tap into your inner truth…your courage, your essence and power. In times when you feel that fear has caused you to curl-in on yourself, to give up your dreams, doubt your own desires and goals…to…shut down…call on your Fearless Heart and its infinite wisdom.

A word, this mudra requires some dexterity, and may take a couple attempts before you get it right…but don’t give up…it’s worth the contortions, trust me!

Here’s the step-by-step breakdown:

  1. Raise hands in front of the chest, palms facing center.
  2. Cross the wrists at the backs of the hands touching, right hand closest to your body, palms facing to the sides.
  3. First interlock  the index, middle, and little fingers, while connecting the tips of the thumb and ring finger on both hands, forming two rings.
  4. Note: Cupcake Pastease are optional, however extremely inspirational when channeling that humor (ego-less) chakra 😉

Find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes, roll your shoulders down and back, root your seat into the floor, and pull your interlocked hands down gently to rest at the base of your sternum (or your heart). Alternately, this mudra can be done laying down, with your head carefully elevated. Take long, deep breaths. If it helps, visualize energetic light flowing in and out through the crown of your head to the base of your spine…light in…light out.

And…indulge in the power of your Fearless Heart.

Dr.NB.

Your Body. My Body.

Have you ever wondered why we seem drawn to look at other people’s bodies?

And often it’s not just looking…

It’s judging…

It’s comparing…

It’s rejecting…

It’s coveting…

But…It’s…NOT OUR BODY.

So then WHY?

Why do we feel compelled to silently (or not so silently) comment on another’s body? I’ll tell you why, it’s for the same reason we watch realityTV, it softens our own inner critic…

I’m not that bad.

I can have that too!

or…See she’s not that perfect.

But here’s the rub…here’s where the logic collapses. Engaging in this type of inner comparison doesn’t actually achieve its goal. It doesn’t make us feel better…it makes us feel worse. It makes us feel worse because it sidesteps our humanity…disabling our ability to feel compassion for ourselves; making it impossible to feel compassion for others. Funny how that works…that feedback loop of essential human-ness.

What makes us human isn’t our perfection, it’s our ability to accept, even love, our imperfection…because what I see in me, is what I see in you.

We are all mirrors.

It’s your responsibility to love you what you see.

xxx Dr.NB.

 

 

5 lbs.

“I gained 5 lbs.”

Feeling = disappointment…less than.

“I lost 5 lbs.”

Feeling = accomplishment…better than.

“Oh, it’s JUST 5 POUNDS,” you say. But, if you’re a woman…that 5 pounds has followed you around your entire life. That 5 pounds is often the gauge with which you calculate, compare, and evaluate your worth. We brush it off. It’s meaningless.

IT’S JUST 5 POUNDS.

waist

Then why do we care?

And let’s be honest…we DO CARE.

If we didn’t, then why would we talk about it? Why does it act as cultural currency with other women? Why is it the “tie that binds us” in some way?

When I say, “I gained (or lost) 5 lbs.” You know exactly what I mean. It’s like superficial code for my mood:

If I gained weight, you might soothe me,

“No! I can’t even tell! You still look good, though…”

If I lost weight, you work to encourage me,

“Yes! I knew something was different! You look fantastic!”

But you and I both know, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE 5 POUNDS.

It’s about a feeling.

It’s about a feeling of failure.

Or.

It’s about a feeling of accomplishment.

Why do we allow these feelings, which are inarguably essential components to the human experience, to be inextricably tied to those damned 5 pounds?  I’ll tell you why,

Because we are women.

Because a large part of our identity is enmeshed with our physical appearance.

Because we’ve bought into whatever media has sold us about what we should look like.

Because that 5 pounds is what stands between us and ___(insert desire/goal/feeling here)___.

Are you comfortable with that? Because I’m not.

Now…Go throw away your scale.

Happy International Women’s Day.

-Dr.NB.

 

 

Why Naked Yoga?

Yeah…Why in the hell am I going to NAKED YOGA?!

Let me start out by saying that I love being naked…in my own home.

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Let me also say that the purpose of being a nudist (kind of) alludes me…mostly because the activities that they engage in while nude, are activities with no place in their daily life.

Case in point: 50+ year old man hula hooping…amid a mass of equally naked bodies doing a multitude of extra-bouncy activities.

Let’s just say, based on observation, the nude beach is about 80% more active than the non-nude version.

I mean part of me gets it…you feel FREE…why get all into it, it’s a childlike freedom…It’s totally understandable.

However, for me, the novelty and perhaps the opportunity to engage in a nude game of say, “horseshoes” is just not enough of a draw. When I’m nude, it’s nothing special, I’m engaging in the same activities I would do not-nude. Well mostly…except THAT…but, you get what I mean…Then again, maybe I’m doing it wrong…

I remember being at the nude beach and rather than feeling underdressed, I felt under active…I wanted to do the same thing I do at the semi-clothed beach: Go into the water and lay in the sun. The flurry of activity around me was…honestly, a little distressing. I quickly realized the issue with being a nudist for me isn’t that I am nude, it’s that everyone else is. I hadn’t been socialized to process this, meaningfully. And Damnit, I couldn’t take my eyes off all the MOVING parts!

So, knowing this about myself, why in the world am I taking a NAKED YOGA class?

Well for one, yoga is something I actually do, unlike hula hoop or badminton or croquet or lawn darts…or whatever 70’s throwback activities I experienced on the nude beach that day.

I DO YOGA DAILY and…topless, at times, or scantily clad…depending on the heat or the mood…but never have I done yoga NAKED or with OTHER…NAKED PEOPLE…

But, I didn’t answer the question, did I.

Why NAKED YOGA?

Honestly, I have no idea…which is 90% why I feel compelled to do it; the other 10% is quite simply that I love to do things that make me uncomfortable, that I am terrible at…things that generally push my boundaries…and this time…this time, I am scared as shit.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Dr.NB.

Cheers to the ‘Rebels’…especially, TODAY.

As we move into a more…”conservative time”….to occupy a social-political space that is “less than open”…

Remember that it is this very (seemingly constrictive) environment that gives rise to energized movements of expression, freedom, and great creativity…which some will label “rebellion,” and others will, more correctly, call: SURVIVAL.

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Cheers to the “rebels”…while our actions may seem disruptive, our hearts are actually…aligned.

xxx

Dr.NB

(Pasties by Pastease)

Shine Bright Like a…

VAGINA!
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Yes…that’s right:

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A VAGINA!

shine

Last night I shared some time with a woman who I have simultaneously  admired and been inspired by for more than a decade and who, incidentally, took the photo above: NYC Photographer Michelle Wild.

Through the years she’s built quite a reputation in boudoir photography (Shutterbug Boudoir) as a woman who shoots women not as objects, rather as complete, complex, highly individual, sensual beings…GODDESSES, basically.

Yes, I imagine one could chalk this up to angles and lighting…but, my heart tells me it’s more than that…it’s about raising a woman’s awareness of her own deep and personal sensual power…showing her… HER SHINE!

And so, with that…I leave you to your weekend with a funny vid’…and the wish that each and every one of you:

SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A VAGINA!

xxx, Dr. NymphoBrainiac