The Cleansing Continues!

So, this week’s cleanse has progressed along nicely. We’ve followed our routine of a morning shot of Aloe and tall glass of water, but I’ve also added Oil Pulling to that routine the moment I wake up. Today was the first day that I noticed my teeth actually getting whiter from it. Had a similar diet these last few days mostly with Flax Flakes in the morning with either almond milk or yogurt. A salad of some sort for lunch, and a veggie dish for dinner (last night I made a Sweet Potato and Lentil soup with a whole lotta turmeric and other spices with some yummy bread). And each day we’ve either had a green smoothy or fresh juice around one of our meals. Then we take our psyllium and bentonite shakes and one capsule of charcoal in the evening. Last night I also upped the dosage to 2 tablespoons of bentonite. We’ve started to take magnesium as our downward purger to help things move through our intestines.

Yesterday I had some “Cleanse and Detox Tea” from Gaia Herbs, and wholly moley… I was peeing and pooing all day. I almost exploded with pee while Sequoia was napping on me. I didn’t want to get up and wake her, so I was holding it… and I seriously almost peed myself! I had five solid poops yesterday and I peed I don’t know HOW many times… About to, reluctantly, have some more of that tea this morning.

Minus a poor night’s sleep by all of us last night, in general my energy levels  have been great, and I’ve been feeling wonderful! My skin has been clearing up, and now that it’s been more than a week since being off coffee, I don’t have the afternoon “crash” that had become such the norm over these past few months.

This is also the longest I’ve been off any kind of meat since being on an Ayahuasca diet years ago in the Amazon. I used to take a lot more time away from meet when I was doing heavy Kriya and Kundalini Yoga practices, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve done that. While my eastern European background loves me some meet, I’m quite happy to give it a rest right now.

Next week, we’ll up the shakes to twice a day, and later in the week do a liver flush. I also plan on doing an enema next week (woo hoo!).

If anyone is currently cleansing too, I’d love to hear from you! You can always email me at ashton@virajati.com or find me on Facebook!

 

–Ashton

First official day of our spring cleanse….

cleanse

It has begun!  I tend to be a fan of a more gradual cleanse, so we’re starting off relatively mild to begin and will progressively intensify our cleanse over the next few weeks. As crazy as it even sounds to say, I can’t even think of a single day since being back in the US (11 months now) where we didn’t eat some sort of meat in at least one of our meals in a day. As such, this first week we might give ourselves one fish meal, but other than that we are removing meat and cheese from our diets (cheese will be easy for me, but that’s a killer for Kristi!). We’ll be drinking daily psyllium and bentonite shakes, making fresh juice daily, and start every morning off with a shot of aloe juice and a full glass of water the moment we wake up. We’ll also be supplementing with extra activated Charcoal, and some support for liver detoxification (although we’ll begin a proper liver flush sometime next week). We also cut out all coffee from our diet five days ago (we had been on an intense trend of daily drinking for a number of months now… parenthood… wow. Can’t even remember the last time I slept a whole night through…)

Today’s diet was pretty simple. First thing in the morning we began with a shot of Aloe juice and a glass of room temperature water. Then, we had flax flakes with raisins and a banana for breakfast, a Spinach Salad with walnuts, cranberries and carrots for lunch, and stuffed Bell Peppers (with wild rice, onions, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes inside) for dinner. We also each had a 2oz shot of wheat grass this afternoon, along with about 16oz each of fresh juice (kale, celery, apple, orange, grape).

Tonight we’ve had our Psyllium and Bentonite shake, and the liver support (separated by about 45 minutes each, otherwise the Bentonite will absorb much of the herbs before they go into the blood stream).

This program will likely continue for the next few days with little change in our diet. Next week we’ll probably drop down to two meals a day and start taking an extra psyllium and bentonite shake, a downward purger of some sort (to help move the bowels), and do a liver flush.

I’m debating trying oil pulling tomorrow. Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic technique where you swirl around oil in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes first thing in the morning. The oil draws out many of the toxins and bacteria in your mouth, and it’s said to help will all sorts of oral hygiene and health issues, as well as claims of other health issues. I have pretty sensitive gums, and being a big coffee drinker these past few years, my teeth have definitely seen whiter days. Oil pulling is said to help with both of those. In the early stages of any type of detox and cleanse, people often notice that their breath get’s pretty scary… OP is said to help with that as well 🙂

(If you’re interested, you can find out more about Oil Pulling here: Oiling Pulling,comErin Huggin’s Blog and Oil Pulling.org)

Thanks for reading, and I’ll continue to post regular updates about how the cleanse is going. Feel free to email me at ashton@virajati.com if you have any questions or comments.

Silence on the Western Front…

Hi Everyone!

 

Sorry things have been so quiet around here recently. Things have been pretty crazy around here in this new year. The whole family got sick at the New Year, and I’ve been working on all sorts of projects recently. The good news is that there are all SORTS of amazing things I have to announce coming up here in the near future. There a few  more things getting formalized, so I’m going to wait to announce them all, but it will be well worth the wait. Workshops, Live Music and Yoga Events, Charity Events, Online Courses, Collaborations, and more! Super exciting stuff! Thank you for your patience, and I promise to get more regular with the blog posts and announcements again.

 

I’ll be typing to you all again soon. Until then, you can always get regular updates from me on Facebook! Thank you all for your support!

 

–Ashton

The Face of Glory

The Face of Glory

I’ve been getting a lot of reminders in life and in my practice lately, as well as in the life of many of my students, of the importance of accepting life as it is and of actively cultivating a capacity for equanimity. Most of us are drawn to practice because we believe something is wrong or we are suffering somehow. Our hamstrings aren’t flexible enough; we’re not strong enough; our mind is too scattered; we’re too stressed, and on and on. If we come into our practice simply looking to overcome these things, then we are at risk of creating more suffering through our practice, because if our practice doesn’t meet our expectations, then we suffer. Even if it does meet our expectations, then the mind is drawn into a new cycle of striving to get to the next goal, the next place, the next pose.

When our practice becomes an exploration of what is, of where our capacities lie in the moment, rather than where we think we should be or where we would like to get to, then we open up to an entirely new realm of practice. We’re not seeking to get somewhere in a pose, but rather to explore where we are, while we place our body in all these different positions. I often use the analogy of the breath in this situation. When we bring attention to our breath, our breath naturally deepens. It doesn’t require us to forcefully deepen our breath. The simple act of attention deepens our experience and fullness of breath. The same is true of every asana (posture). By simply bringing more attention to ourselves in the pose, we have a deeper experience of the pose, without striving, without pushing…  Now of course, we must also, in this space of clear vision of what is, cultivate a space of equanimity. If we only cultivate our awareness, our ability to see, in our practice, then we are at risk of creating more suffering because what we see might not meet our expectations, or we might resist what arises in our practice. And so it is with all of this in mind that I want to share a short story about Shiva.

One day, Shiva is approached by the demon Rahu who says to Shiva, “I want your wife, Shakti, as my mistress.” Rahu is the demon who consumes the sun in the time of solar eclipses. While he represents many things in Indian theology, one of the things he represents is that force of the dark unconscious consuming the light of consciousness. This is the force of the unconscious looking to consume and take for himself Shiva’s consort Shakti, who represents all of our experience of embodied life and indeed, life itself.

Shiva is obviously insulted by this request. And in his anger he opens his third eye and a thunderbolt crashes to the earth with an explosive BANG! Once the dust settles from this massive explosion, a ravenous, starving monster appears who is created to devour the monster Rahu. Rahu sees this demon and instantly becomes afraid. He throws himself at Shiva’s feet and begs for his mercy. Now, an unspoken rule of the gods is that if someone throws him or herself on that god’s mercy, the god must grant it.

So Shiva turns to Rahu and says, “Ok, I grant you mercy.” He turns to the second monster and tells him, “You heard me grant Rahu mercy, don’t eat him.”

“Well,” says the second monster, “I’m hungry… and I don’t see anything else to eat.”

“I do,” says Shiva. “I see you. Why don’t you eat yourself?”

So the monster starts eating himself. Starting with his feet, he continues to gobble up his entire body, even his lower jaw, until nothing is left but his upper face. This image is the perfect image of the nature of life, the nature of which is to consume and eat itself. This is the image of the ferocity of life itself.

Shiva is so pleased when he sees this, he says, “You are wonderful! I will name you Kirtimukha, the Face of Glory, and I will place you over my shrines. No one who does not say, ‘Yes’ to you is worthy to come to me.” This same figure is used in Buddhist shrines to represent the whole realm of the world and its consumption of itself. One must move through this threshold to enter the realm of transcendence. This signifies absolute affirmation of the world as it is. The invitation of Shiva and of Tantra is to put yourself into accord with the world as it is, not as you think it ought to be. If you cannot accept that life consumes itself, that life is transient, messy, confusing, mysterious and ferocious, then you will not be able to enter the realm of Shiva, of supreme consciousness.

One is not able to truly see with the vision of Shiva, of transcendent consciousness, unless one can fully accept the experience of life as it is. Cultivating our capacity for equanimity is just as important in the practice of yoga (and indeed the experience of life) as our ability to see into the very nature of life itself.  This can often lie in stark contrast to how you see yoga being practiced in the West. People look to control their bodies, control their minds, impose their own will on themselves and the world to manifest and create the world the way they think it should be. It comes from a basic rejection of the way the world is. People are disturbed by the way their bodies are, the way their mind is, the way the world is.

We return to the idea of Rahu, the demon, as the force of the unconscious, seeking to take life, Shakti, for himself. It’s the power of fully accepting life that allows the light to come into our lives. If we don’t accept the intensity of life, with all of its challenges, contradictions, ups and downs, pains and pleasures, then we will never actually see the world as it is and we will be stuck seeing it only as we’d like it to be. Every time the world we see is out of alignment with how we think it ought to be, we will suffer.  It’s through our capacity to be equanimous in every situation in life that allows us to enter the realm of Shiva and move beyond suffering.

So next time you engage your practice, remember Kirtimukha, and remember the importance of accepting life as it is, of cultivating a capacity of equanimity, acceptance, evenness and compassion in your practice, otherwise you’ll never truly be able to enter into the realm of ultimate sight, of ultimate consciousness. You can never truly be free.

 

 

(Image of Kirtimukha created by Ekabhumi Ellik, www.oneearthsacredarts.com)

Gratitude

Guest House

by MJ Rumi

(translation by Coleman Barks)

 

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all.

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

Still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

All New Tracks

Hey Everyone! Here are some new tracks I created as per requests from many of you. The background sounds are created from a mix of stock sounds from NP3, free source audio files, and/or ambient-mixer.com. If you haven’t signed up for my mailing list yet, please do and stay in touch with all my latest offerings. And PLEASE, email me at ashton@virajati.com or post on my facebook page to tell me what you think about these tracks. I’ve been loving the feedback!

As always, these tracks are free for you to use, but they are not to be resold, reedited, etc. And do not drive or operate heavy machinery while listening to any of these tracks. They are best listened to with your eyes closed, but you can still have them on in the background while doing other things (Especially the anxiety/stress and healing tracks). Headphones are great, but not necessary as the tracks use isochronic beats.

Hope you enjoy!

 

Reduce Stress and Anxiety (1 hour)

A track to help reduce stress and anxiety. The background music comes from layering in some ambient sounds to a jungle track I created on ambient-mixer.com. This track tends to stay in the Alpha and Theta ranges.

Right Click to Download (and Save As): AnxietyReduction.mp3

Healing and Recovery (1 hour)

An hour long track that can be listened to as you go to sleep, put on repeat to play while you sleep throughout the night, or just used as a nice long healing session. This track has music from the jungle track I created on ambient-mixer.com, and takes you on a slowly progressing downward journey to deep levels of Delta.

Right Click to Download (and Save As): HourLongHealing.mp3

Beach Meditation (1 hour)

As many of you know… I spent almost seven years living on a tropical island in south east Thailand. I also grew up surfing in Southern California… this relaxing beach track brings the beach to you, when you can’t bring yourself to the beach. This track also doesn’t go as deep into delta as some of the other meditation tracks I’ve made. It instead stays closer to the 7hz frequencies experienced by Zen meditators (although it doesn’t solely stay in that range).

Right Click to Download (and Save As): HourLongBeachMeditation.mp3

Beach Meditation (1/2 hour)

This is simply a half hour version of the same track. It moves through the same progression of brain waves, but it is all scaled for half the time.

Right Click to Download (and Save As): 30minBeachMeditation.mp3

Concentration Assistance…

So, I’ve made a brain wave entrainment (BWE) track that will help with your concentration and focus when doing activities like reading, studying, etc. The track never goes into high beta waves, so that you don’t finish your session feeling mentally drained. The thirty minute track ends in alpha to help you end your session feeling refreshed.

Again, I’m offering all of this for free, but I’d really love your feedback! So please, if you try out the tracks, email me at ashton@virajati.com and tell me what you think. And if you like the track, please join my mailing list and stay up to date with everything I’m up to!

This track was made with Neuroprogrammer 3 and using a sound file from .

Here’s the track:

30 Minute Concentration Track

This track will work on speakers or headphones.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to tell me what you think! 🙂

 

–Ashton Szabo

Two Week Meditation Invitation

I’ve been seeing lots of 30 day yoga “challenges” all over the place since moving back to the states, and it got me thinking about a meditation “challenge”. Challenge doesn’t seem like the appropriate word though, so I opted for invitation. So what I am proposing is a Two Week Meditation Invitation. I have lots of students that tell me three things 1) they don’t have time to meditate. To which I reply, “Just practice for five minutes every day, that’s it.” After which I usually get 2) will five minutes a day REALLY help at all? The answer is yes! Studies show that even just a few minutes a day spent in meditation is enough to start to feel its beneficial effects. And lastly I hear 3) I don’t know how to meditate. Well, here’s the thing, there are countless meditation techniques out there. Some might help you more than others. But let’s walk before we run. If you’re starting out, all you’re going to be doing is focusing on your breath. Focusing on your inhale, focusing on your exhale. Every time your mind wanders, that’s ok. No internal dialog. No “Doh, I’m supposed to be focusing on my breath.” Just instantly bring your attention back to your breath. Repeatedly, over and over again. Eventually, you’ll find that your mind stays more easily focused and will wander less. For right now anyway, it really is that simple.

So Here’s the plan. Week One, you take 5 minutes out of your day. Every day. For one week. No cell phones. No computer. No interruptions. No thinking about your day and everything you have to do. Just five minutes. You and your breath. Just five minutes of focusing on your in breath and out breath. Then, week two, you take 10 minutes out of your day for meditation. Every day. For one more week. That’s it! At the end of it all, if you want to talk to me about your experience, or start to develop a deeper meditation practice and learn some new meditations, then send me an email at ashton@virajati.com. I’d love to hear your story, and share my own experiences in meditation and the practices that I have learned over the years.

If you’ve never had a consistent meditation practice before, I’d really love for you to be able to experience it’s effects. And all it will take is five minutes a day, then by the end of week one you’ll be happy to move onto ten minutes. For those that don’t have a regular meditation practice already and/or who are living a hectic life style, 5-10 minutes is a totally realistic goal. I find that people often start off their meditation with lots of enthusiasm, but they think that to have a “good” meditation session that must be doing it for at least a half hour, hour, or more. And yes, the longer you do it, the more wonderful it can become, but it’s ok to start slow. On day’s that we are motivated, a half hour might be easy…. but on a day when we’re busy, stressed, and don’t feel like we have any time, a half hour can feel quite daunting. So stick with the five and ten minutes plan. Just to prove to yourself that you can do it and STICK TO IT!

I’ve got one more thing to help you in all of this. It’s actually what got me thinking to do this invitation in the first place. As many of you know, I’ve finally gotten around to creating lots of Brain Wave Entrainment tracks for savasana, meditation, etc. Making my own tracks and posting a few, I noticed how many people here interested in this as something to supplement their practice. I know that BWE stuff has really helped me over the years, and using it in my lead shamanic journeys and on workshops over the years, students have always really seemed to like it as well. So, I’ve decided to create some tracks to help assist you with your meditation practice.

You’ll have two options, the first option is a track that I mixed together from different chant and instrumental sounds that I got via the creative commons license, and it’s all been layered into a track that quickly takes you down to 7hz (mid/high theta), which is the brain wave frequency produced by experienced zen meditators. The second track is mixed from a recording I made a few years ago while in a big storm in Bangkok, Thailand. This track progressively takes you from alpha, down through theta and into the mid delta range. Delta is where our body does the most  healing and regeneration. About half way through, you’ll begin the climb back up to Alpha so you end your meditation feeling refreshed and not groggy. Try one, try both. Email me and let me know what you think!

For those that already have a meditation practice and would like to start off using more time, I will also post two thirty minute versions as well. But I really only suggest these for those who already have an established practice. Again, we are looking for consistency here. So stick with a manageable time so you can do it every day!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me any time at ashton@virajati.com.

All of this is for free. I’m not asking anything other than perhaps sharing your story with me… and I just would love to see more people meditating. 🙂

Here is the link to start your journey!

Two Week Meditation Invitation with Ashton Szabo

–Ashton

And for those that have no desire to do a two week meditation invitation, but you want to check out the tracks anyway, go for it! These files are free for your personal use.  Click on the same link to find the downloads. And please, still email me to tell me what you think! 🙂

Brain Wave Entrainment Enhanced Savasana!

Brain Wave Entrainment Enhanced Savasana

 

About six years ago, while diving deeper into my shamanic practices and studies, I found something explained in physics called entrainment. The idea actually started back in the 1600s, when a Dutch physicist by the name of Christian Huygens invented the pendulum clock. He noticed that if he connected two pendulum clocks on the same base board, that the two pendulums would synchronize. Not long after Alpha Brain waves were “discovered” in the 1930s by Hans Berger (the same man that invented the EEG machine), the phenomenon of brainwave entrainment was discovered. Scientists noticed that they could alter the strength of the brain wave by the use of flickering lights.

Scientists later discovered that the brain will synchronize it’s wave frequency to other external stimuli like vibration (sound). So the brain picks up signals from, let’s say, a drum or a rattle, and it will start to synchronize the pulses of it’s waves to the pulses of the vibration (sound and touch) put out by the instrument. This is obviously a technique that has been used for countless thousands of years by shamans all over the world to induce altered states of consciousness in themselves and other people.

Three different types of beats were discovered: binaural, monaural, and isochronic. And all three have been used in our modern culture to alter brain wave frequencies. Binaural beats only work with headphones, but any sound will do with a mononaural or isochronic (although not ANY sound, as it has to be appropriately altered to attain the desired brain frequency).

There are five primary brain waves that scientists know about, but only four that they really know much about: beta, alpha, theta and delta. Beta is a very externalized, concentrated state, but also holds with it lots of stress (we naturally produce more beta and less alpha as we age). Alpha is the beginning state of relaxation where one might still be engaged in the external world, but one’s focus is starting to draw inward. They call this being in the “zone” in sports, or we might relate it to “day dreaming” during an activity we are doing. The next waves are the theta waves. These are the waves of dreams and dream states of consciousness. These states are typically produced during sleep or deep meditation (and very active during shamanic journeys). The next down from these are delta waves. Delta waves are typically only produced in deep sleep or states of relaxation and when they are produced is when our body does most of it’s best healing and regeneration. The fifth wave, called Gamma (it’s on the higher end of Beta) is little understood, but they link it to certain ecstatic states.

When I found out about all this stuff, I was introduced to Tom Kenyon, who was the only guy I knew at the time that was releasing audio tracks that made use of this technology. I started using them in my meditations all the time and absolutely loved them. A few years ago I found out about a program called Neuro-programmer that actually allows you to customize your own audio tracks for any sort of brain wave alteration you want. I purchased the program and began experimenting with different frequencies for myself. As I started to learn more about brain waves, I began to expand how, why and when I would use these audio tracks. I started to layer them into dance music that I would play while exploring ecstatic movement and dance on my own. Living on a tropical island in Thailand, we’d have lots of dance parties all the time and I started to play those tracks with other people joining in as well. I started to play the frequencies on loud speakers while I beat the drum during shamanic journeys. I started to notice people were having deeper, more profound experiences when I layered in the isochronic and/or monaural beats during the journeys.  I also began layering the beats into music that I would play during savasana at the end of yoga classes. Instantly, I noticed people were fidgeting less and seeming to have much deeper, relaxed experiences.

Since being back in the states, I’ve noticed that the fast passed, high stressed life style here in the west means a lot of people have a hard time relaxing in savasana. In some classes, people even leave when it’s time for savasana cause, well, there’s just so much to do, who has time to lie around on the floor and relax? It’s those people you see fidgeting the most before they get up. While I am totally sympathetic to people having bodily discomfort in savasana (but if we do, hopefully we’ve started to use props to help with that!) that makes it challenging to stay in the pose, for the vast majority of people it seems to be a restless mind keeps them moving in both mind and body, not allowing them to relax. (And hey, I get that sometimes people just have somewhere to be, too)

Just in the last few weeks of including these beats into classes, I’ve noticed people have been going much deeper into their savasanas at the end of class. Without the beats, students often start to fidget after 5-10 minutes (let alone a good proper 15 minute savasana), but with them, I’ve been doing lots more 15 minute savasanas and I don’t even get a peep or a wiggle out of anyone! It’s been super awesome and people really seem to be enjoying it.

So… it totally inspired me to get really down and into making some awesome new tracks for my yoga classes and meditations. I’m experimenting with adding alpha wave beats into sitar music and other music to drop people into “the zone” during our flows and sun salutes, as well as explored other types of journeys for savasana. When I’ve posted about it on Facebook, a lot of people have asked me about it, so I wanted to not only write a blog, but also offer a few tracks online that people could download for free. Whether you are a student or a teacher, you can use these for your savasana or a meditation.

The two tracks that you can access here are both for deep relaxation and take you all the way from the high alpha, down through theta and into delta, eventually leading back up through to a low alpha state by the end. Taking you into deep states of relaxation and healing, but bringing you back up to alpha concentrated and refreshed. I plan on posting more free tracks later, some for healing chronic pain, insomnia, concentration, creativity, and more. Some for meditation, some for savasana, and some just to play while doing something that requires concentration or creativity. But I just wanted to offer these and get them up now so people can explore and play with them

All you have to do is fill out the form at the bottom of this blog, enter your  name and email, and whether or not you’d like to be added to my mailing list; then you will be directed to a page where you can download them. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll be notified when I post new tracks on the website as well as get information about the latest stuff I’m up to with yoga offerings, classes, workshops and events, shamanic journeys, and more.

For more information on brain waves and brain wave entrainment follow these links below:

http://www.transparentcorp.com/products/np/?c=3553684

http://web-us.com/thescience.htm

http://www.mindpowernews.com/RetrainYourBrain.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainwave_entrainment

 

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Shamanic Yoga!

Hey everyone! This week we will NOT be having our Shamanic Yoga, BUT the first thursday of November (the day AFTER  Halloween) we are going to rock it out at the Nest is Solana Beach. It will be the last Shamanic Yoga practice offered in San Diego in 2012, so if you’ve been wanting to get to one, THIS WILL BE IT! Mark your calendar! 🙂

 

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