Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Seeds of Spiritual Growth # 3 6/15/16 Time to Uplevel our Presence

It's been a difficult week so far with facing yet another senseless and in my view a potentially preventable mass shooting in Orlando. Today and for many days and months to come there will be a massive hole of grief in the hearts of all the family and friends of the victims of this shooting . It's been a brutal reminder of the epidemic of global violence that impacts millions of people daily. For any real shift to happen we have to raise our consciousness up and out of fear and separation and grow beyond our limiting beliefs that solutions are not possible or within our reach.
We need to be proactive in daily deep self care as these times we are navigating are intense and will continue to be. Without a commitment to evolving our higher selves, life can be a brutal experience of pain and sorrow. Before we can authentically serve others, elevate others , inspire others, we have to honor our body temple daily.
Those that have guided us before in perilous times of humanity like Buddha, Ghandi, MLK, Nelson Mendela ,Thich Nhat Hanh, HH Dalai Lama, thousands of ancient and modern Yogi's and teachers that embodied and taught the path of peace and many many more that walk and talk the path of peace in our everyday lives,they have left us with paths and teachings to follow and embody.To learn how to live as optimal human beings, guided by our Spirits of the unity that we are all expressions of.
We are each called upon now in this time to UPLEVEL OUR PRESENCE. It's not enough to just pray for peace as powerful as prayer is, it requires action. Whats required is to expand our hearts not contract them. Whats required is to expand our outreach to those in need, not shrink into self serving behaviors that isolate us from other.Whats required is deep faith that we are all here to elevate each other in our thoughts, emotions, and actions.
SEVA is selfless service to others. Its COMPASSION IN ACTION. We always have a choice when faced with tragedy, shut down and numb out or recommit to hold the faith and promise of healing and resolution to our deepest challenges. What would each day look like if we truly adopted a Compassion in Action commitment to self and others?
Adopt a COMPASSION IN ACTION mantra daily . Start with honoring your own deep needs for support, rest, nourishment and connection to Spirit. Fill your cup as my mother would say. Then share, share and share! Chant the ancient breath mantra SO HUM. Mantras are ancient sound projections that attune our psyches and bodies to our higher selves. Breath is the carrier of Prana, the subtle life force that animates all. Inhale and say the sound SO exhale and say HUM . This translates into I AM . The confirmation of your true self as PRESENCE, Wholeness, Unity Consciousness. It's the vibration of your Soul.
We all have sacred gifts to share. Mine is teaching yoga and wellness. I offer myself in the service of elevating my students well being and the biggest gift one can connect to is to realize we are all Divine Beings of Light and Love . THAT is our TRUTH, our identity. That's what needs daily connection and nurturance so we can in reality " Be the Change We Want to See" as Ghandi so famously quoted.
If I can be of service to anyone in the intention to connect to that truth, please  reach out.Come to a class. Join a community that is holding the vibration of peace, love and compassion.
 I'll be holding a FREE Summer Solstice class on Monday June 20th at 7:30 pm with a crystal bowl sound healing for our hearts. A healthy snack potluck will follow. You are invited!

Many Blessings for Peace to All.
Namaste and Sat Nam
Anne ~ Lakshmi Narayan

Friday, February 5, 2016

Seeds For Spiritual Growth; Blog # 2; 2/6/16 One Key Reason We Struggle In Letting Go Of Who We Think We Are

Seeds for Spiritual Growth:Blog # 2, 2/6/2016
 One Key Reason We Struggle In Letting Go of Who We Think We Are
Whatever  thoughts, memories, emotions or desires that are unsupportive, draining, distracting, repetitive, and maddening neural patterns may be, a shift towards awakening to what we truly are does require us to do something different than the status quo. Analyzing our limited  reactive minds with our limited minds just results in repeating old cycles.
We cannot get to a connection and a direct energetic experience of  our Higher Self through thinking. Does one ever get sick and tired of our stories of discontent and suffering? I know I do. That visceral disdain for our stagnation is Spirit calling out for us to let go of the story that's keeping us small. In order to begin to let go of very engrained patterns and perceptions of ones psyche,there has to be an energy that will catalyze us out of the momentum of our redundant and revisiting thoughts and emotional forms. In the yogic tradition this energy is embodied in practicing a daily sadhana.
The sooner we begin to honor a practice that creates a doorway to commune with our inner life as it is without judgement, rejection or clinging or grasping, the sooner those demoting patterns will begin to loosen their grip on our psyches.
Just bringing the power of stillness and awareness to these projections of the mind with a deep breath is enough to begin to untangle their hold on our consciousness and create a peek a boo moment, a doorway, a sliver, a sacred second of truly experiencing our Beingness and that to me is the beginning of the end of the story of who I " think I am" .
Our Spirit loves ritual and rhythm. A deep breath becomes a meditation and a daily meditation becomes a practice, and a practice opens a pathway and the pathway becomes a portal to our freedom from forgetting what a glorious divine being we've always been from the get go! Our minds cannot fathom the immensity of the truth of what we are, the Love essence that animates the entire universe! Are you ready and willing to take and commit to that first step?
Blessings and Namaste
Anne Townend-Duffey MA E-RYT Director
Opening Lotus Yoga

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy 2016 !Seeds for Spiritual Growth # 1 You Cannot Think Your Way to Your Soul


   Hello All and Happy 2016!

 I took a few months from writing the Seeds for Spiritual Growth blogs last fall to take a deeper step back and inward to commit more time to my daily sadhana or spiritual yoga practice. I also enrolled in a 9 month Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training program at the  Baba Siri Chand Ashram in Millis , MA. which began last Oct and will continue till June 2016.

 It's been 13 years since my last yoga certification training and after 12 years of teaching thousands of hours of Yoga and directing Opening Lotus Yoga, diving into this current training is heaven for me. To be immersed in these potent ancient yogic teachings as taught by Yogi Bhajan at this point in my life and to receive these trainings in such a high vibrational setting as the Baba Siri Chand Ashram is truly a gift. The training has been powerful, challenging, humbling and in a word precious. I feel I am in the perfect place to grow to my next level of spiritual embodiment and shed more powerfully and thoroughly the conditions of my mind that do not serve me and block my  connection to my true Self. The more I grow into my own Truth the more I can serve my dharma, the reason why I'm here in the first place. I'm so excited to be able to bring these Kundalini teachings to the studio in the near future!'

   As an individual who is quick to admit having an addictive mind, love of learning and gaining knowledge and understanding, I find myself in a unique invitation to redefine what it means to really learn from a spiritual perspective and what the difference is between the activity of the mind and intellect and the path to the soul. The key is to move into a space of NOT KNOWING by surrendering any impulse or need to know.

As smart , curious or well versed  as one's intellect may be, you cannot THINK YOUR WAY TO YOUR SOUL!. What shifts in spiritual attunement is this awareness that the energy of your true or higher Self (as opposed to your low self or ego )is a direct  energetic experience through the body. The body in its divine design is an instrument to project your mind and your mind in its divine design is an instrument to project the infinite Source of all that is. 

 The challenge is our minds are so heavily laden with thoughts, memories, feelings and emotions and data that its easy to get lost in the mind  and  believe our minds or egos are the sum total of who and what we are. Nothing could be further from the truth and being  caught in mind is the grand mass hallucination that Albert Einstein point to in his writings. Eastern systems call this illusory experience of the world as MAYA.  What we think is reality is only a projection of our thoughts. 'What we think we become' - Buddha

 In this accelerated time of the digital age, our exposure to information is at warp speed. This access to information is a double edged sword. The plus is we are only a click away from information on anything we can think of. The downside is we cannot often integrate all of this information and lots of it becomes additional mental debris that can cause overload and confusion.

 The new buzz in this era is digital detox. Its now understood that all that exposure to information overload is not good for our nervous systems and health. We need to unplug from screen time daily and nourish that meditative space of stillness which is the ONLY way we can access our True Self as the eternal energy of awareness itself and OPEN TO DIVINE INTUITIVE WISDOM  which is the natural language of our souls.

It's quite the paradox to be living in this Aquarian age where all the former paradigms of duality and separation are crumbling at the edges and eventually will disintegrate as more of us wake up to the next level of our spiritual evolutionary journey , to be an embodied, super illuminated  and conscious  human being. One term for this evolutionary shift is described as moving from homospaiens to homoluminous beings.
 So what does that mean for you and I on the yogic path? It means the importance of committing to your daily, spiritual yoga practice known as sadhana  is critical to anchor us in the stillness of our being on a daily basis and to continue to release and cleanse the daily build up of mental debris that promises to keep accelerating. Daily meditation is becoming a powerful tool for not just destressing but being able to navigate and thrive in our modern culture. Meditation needs to be taught to everyone including children. It will be as necessary for our wellbeing and fundamental health as brushing your teeth daily!

  So my invitation is always, give yourself the gift of meditation. If you do not know how to start , consider taking a course We have a 6 week Course Meditation for Beginners starting Jan. 25,. or investigate the multitude of excellent online meditation sources or books readily available to guide you. Take some yoga classes. Bar none YOGA is the most integrative practice that addresses all aspects of our health, body, mind and spirit and through the thousands of years these sacred teachings have existed and been continuously taught, Yoga is a proven methodology of  cultivating  vibrant health, peace and wellbeing.

 Your two most powerful tools in your transformation from ego- centered to intuitive heart, higher Self- centered is your daily meditation and yoga practice and your willingness to let go of what is blocking you from living as an embodied , conscious, illuminated and loving Being~  
 Begin today~ Be a part of the shift that is being ushered in at this time.  I am deeply honored to support you in that growth!

If you found this post useful, please share with your family ,friends and colleagues.

 Beyond belief lies knowledge and understanding and beyond knowledge lies wisdom which is                 the innate language of your Soul. You cannot think your way to your soul.

Namaste and Blessings for a Beautiful New Year ~
 Anne Townend-Duffey  MA. E-RYT  Director
Opening Lotus Yoga

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Seeds for Spiritual Growth # 21 Post Lunar Eclipse Self Care Tips

SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH # 21 Post Eclipse Self Care
Namaste All and welcome back! I've been off the posts for a few months , enjoying the summer and using daily sadhana practice to connect to what is most nourishing and important.
We just went through an amazing astronomical event on Sunday, the full blood moon plus a full lunar eclipse. It was clear and starry skies here in central MA . to view this celestial dance unfold. Many folks reported in the days leading up to the eclipse and now afterwards feeling energetically unsettled, restless, difficulty sleeping or old unuseful egoic patterns of thoughts arising.
This eclipse ushered in a higher vibrational transmission of what basically is an evolutionary invitation to grow beyond our small self imposed limitations of identity as defined by what we see with our eyes in the material world vs. what we feel and sense in our hearts . It's a call for a deeper integration of the primary pranic currents within us, our inner Divine Masculine energy (fire,male) and our Inner Divine Feminine energy(Water,earth, moon, intuition) . Whatever is imbalanced within us we tend to project outside of us and often onto other people. So seeing faults in others, blaming others for perceived shortcomings, judging others, getting triggered by others. This eclipse cycle is fundamentally inviting  us to turn that mirror around and take a deeper,more honest look inside at our own energetic integrity.
The yogis often said the longest journey we will ever take is from the head to the heart or from the ego to the soul. Physically, that measures in inches but energetically can be measured in lifetimes.
Here is what can support you so these seeds of growth that are germinating now can root, sprout and take hold in the coming weeks:
- Recommit to your daily yoga and meditation practice whether that's 5 min a day or 2 hours a day. The time is not important, the daily consistency is.
- Recommit to carving out time in silence and solitude daily. Silence is honey for your souls journey. It is within the sacred silence we will be guided to whatever needs to be done or not done.We will gain clarity about what we are inviting in and what we are willing to release that no longer serves us.
- Recommit to feeling ok with not needing to know how everything works out. Embrace that sacred mystery exists.Needing to know is an ego agenda and often driven by fear. Your soul is whole and Divinely sourced.If we can trust the sacred life force intelligence that rotates the planets, beats our hearts and lifts birds to fly, surely we can trust that whatever needs to unfold WILL and whatever needs to leave will, in its own divine timing..
-Recommit to honor your vulnerability, those shadow aspects of your psyche that just beg for the embrace of the light of day. The judgements, fears, angers, resentments that keep our sacred soul locked up. On the other side of any shadow (as in the eclipse) is brilliant light just waiting to be released.
- Fall is a powerful time to do a detox or whole food cleanse. Give your body temple what it craves. Organic fruits and veggies, clean proteins, healthy fats, lots of filtered water,soothing herbal teas.
Eliminate for a few weeks inflammatory things like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, animal proteins, wheat and any processed foods that come out of a box or can. Even a week of clean simple eating can do wonders for your pranic energy. Simple guideline: eat foods that are alive with prana!
-Recommit to honoring your sleep. Unplug from wifi devices at least one hour before bedtime and ayurvedically its advised to get in bed by 10 pm and up by 6am. When we encourage our bodies to return to nature's rhythms, all systems vastly improve.
-Recommit this fall to some inner work, take a yoga class, meditation, reading spiritual texts or inspiring poetry,art or music. This is food for your soul. Even better, let your creative spirit express itself in some art form.
-Recommit to daily detoxification habits: tongue scraping, oil pulling, lemon water, dry brushing, abhyanga self massage, detox baths , cold showers (yes it wakes up and gets all your pranic channels humming!) use of essential oils in your home to clear and harmonize , triphala to support healthy bowel function. If you need some guidance on this, check out our Fall Seasonal detox course beginning Oct. 13 or email me for more specific tips!
- Last but not least- Recommit to a daily dose of gratitude. Be grateful for each and every day .Its blessings, its challenges, its joys, its heartbreaks. Bless it all! The more we can practice (and yes it is a practice!) gratitude the more we open our intuitive heart channels and that's when the real magic begins to happen.
Many blessings to you all. It continues to be my highest privilege and humble honor to teach the amazing gifts of yoga to anyone interested in aligning with the deeper truth of their Beings. We are all Divine Lights here to Shine our unique gifts in this world. Get ready for a beautiful fall season here in New England and wherever you are!

Namaste~ Anne Christine

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH # 20 Keepin' It REAL A Blogpost from Anne Townend-Duffey


I'm all about embracing the dark/shadows, the deep recesses of our psyches and unconscious mind as a path of liberation.  I always felt somewhat repulsed by the happy slogan ,positive thinking,bumper sticker, smiley face, new agey tendency to keep it ' in the light '. Keep in the light like some desperate mantra to avoid one's very truth of your present experience. If just slapping a smiley face on our pain was truly effective... why are opiate addiction rates skyrocketing? Why does the level of violence and abuse in our society continue? Why do we entertain ourselves with violent media?
We've all been conditioned with lessons on social niceties. Smile when you feel lousy. Say 'I'm Fine " ,when folks ask how you are doing and you're not feeling fine. Dismiss, distract or disown as strategies to survive. Most addictions are rooted in distancing one's consciousness from pain. Fear of pain is real. These practices of denial and distraction are non-sustainable and over time very corrosive to our inner sense of truth and well being. You may indeed get some temporary relief from distracting, denying or suppressing your authentic feelings with use of food, TV, sex, drugs, alcohol etc but the underlying pain or fear never goes away. It just gets more potent the longer you avoid it.
What we will do to avoid fear is never ending and one of the slickest tickets is wallpapering our hearts with spiritual sloganisms. (not sure thats a word) I will always admire those that are willing and scared shitless to feel the depths of their souls anyway. So yes, go there. Be real, feel it all, express it all, and miraculously when our former death grip of avoidance relaxes a bit, we realize by embracing that which terrifies us , we open. We open to the light of our divinity that is even more brilliant than any positive thinking slogan could even touch. Why settle for Light lite? Be brilliant and embrace your dark edges. A lot of raw beauty lives and pulses there.
Love to you all.
Namaste & Blessings for Keepin it Real!
Anne Christine

“The ability to hold Light is directly proportional to the courage to see darkness. Choosing to see just one creates distortions and illusions. It amazes me that something so simple and common sense can be so difficult to even discuss with ‘spiritual’ people who insist on remaining ‘positive’. Actually, this avoidance is based on unacknowledged fear that their inner light might be somewhat ‘dispersed’ by seeing darkness and therefore not giving the light much credit at all. I think there’s also fear that they might somehow become ‘tainted’ or the darkness might ‘manifest’ in some form in their lives. But the opposite is true; it is the fear, especially unacknowledged, that has much more chance to manifest than darkness exposed to daylight and investigation. Just like we must be fearless about our own inner shadow, we must also be fearless about seeing this huge shadow of humanity. Or we will have the power to transform precisely nothing, within or without.”
~ Anis Springate

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH- It's Summertime, Slow Down & Take Your Time

A Blog Post by Anne Townend-Duffey
Director of Opening Lotus Yoga


Blessings All. As we enter the Full Capricorn moon today the celestial skies are busy aligning in patterns to invite another layer of balance and integration within us. That ever present task of balancing our inner emotional, self care and our outer responsibilities in the world.
Often this can feel like a ping pong match in which neither focus is optimal. We are either burning out getting all our 'To Dos' done or we might be neglecting our outer responsibilities with procrastination as an excuse to find time to attend to our
innermost needs. How many times do we say " I don't have time to relax".
Here's the problem. Its not an either/ or proposition. Its a joint venture and one that requires us to be guided by our inner truth that speaks to us in our quieter moments of stillness. When we can slow down, tune in and tap into our intuitive energy which is the master of prioritizing what actually needs our attention, we enter the flow state of being in synchrony with the life force. Life then becomes more of a dance than a march.
It can feel like a radical act to actually slow down when in the midsts of many external things that need our decisions or actions, but I have found over and over again, that taking that step inward to connect to your inner wisdom actually results in a sense of expanding time. Its well documented that having a daily meditation practice actually expands your capacity to be more effective and productive with what's at hand as you are not wasting energy by distracting or indecision. Clarity creates efficiency.
You tap into your inner flow and find clarity on what is the most inspired step to take next if any. Sometimes in a very paradoxical way, the most inspired step is to do nothing. Its the 'doing of non-doing', to allow a sacred resting period for all the energies competing for one's attention to settle . Our culture looks askance of the 'doing of non-doing' . It falsely celebrates overextending oneself and exhausting oneself as signs of living a positive or successful life. Being busy, wired and tired is not the same as being fulfilled and often a sign of inner disconnect. Inner Peace matters.
Slowing down is often the powerful gateway to clarity and we can't access it by pushing and demanding. We access this clarity by settling, breathing deeply, feeling and Being present to what is right in front of us without judgement.
Summertime is a perfect season to slow down. Take time. Be still and absorb the energies of your inner and outer domains.Listen to the birds sing in the early morning. Feel the summer sun on your skin or the evening breeze across your face. Bask in the sea water that rushes to meet your feet. Walk in the beauty of the trees, flowers and fields abundant with life. Play with some creative expression, journaling, painting, dance or music. Ask yourself on a regular basis, what needs my attention in this moment and then listen deeply for a sensation through your body that will guide you to exactly what is needed in any given moment.
When I feel aligned with my intuition, I always feel an expanded sense of openness in my heart center, the center of my chest. When I don't feel that, I know my mind is commanding more of my awareness and its a sign for me to slow down, tune in, breathe deeply, inhabit my body more which naturally eases the minds contractions. A tightly wound mind creates a tightly bound heart.
May you find space today and everyday to slow down, breathe deeply, feel the energies within you and around you with an open heart and invite a deeper level of beingness to express itself through you.
Namaste & Blessings for a beautiful full moon !
Anne Christine

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SEEDS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH # 18 The Pranic Power of Summer Solstice