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“Why Meditate?”

“Why Meditate?”

by Jacqualine Haller

(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11,” The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)

Today is day 23 of my 30 day meditation challenge. There are only 7 days remaining, and I find that my mind is drifting out of the present moment as I start to realize we only have a week left together.  I’m going to miss this experience and seeing my students in this capacity each day.

If we have learnt anything through this process, it is that having our mind too much in the future takes us out of the present moment, so I let that go.  It’s 5:30 AM, and I am already at the studio setting up.  I’m inspired to write this blog before anyone arrives.

Personally, I am used to having a regular meditation practice. But I can’t help wonder if some people might be asking themselves…

Why meditate?

My questions back are very simple. Is everything in your life working out for you?  Are you happy, content and stress-free?  Are you living your dreams and the life path meant for you?

Diving into a Meditation practice usually comes out of the need for something. I surely don’t mean to project on anyone here, but that is why I started.  It was out of a place of wanting to learn more, of wanting to move out of a continuous cycle in my life and to explore what the hype was all about.

Maybe (similar to my experience), you’re tired of having the same theme in life repeat over and over again.  Possibly you’re feeling stuck, craving a more authentic human experience before its all over. Maybe you are dealing with a personal issue, a break up, or you have come to a point in life where you are deeply unhappy with the way everything turned out then from the way you invisioned it.

Meditation creates a pathway between us and what we are asking for in life.  It helps us get out of the way of ourselves, and allows us to notice where we might be creating our own road blocks.

When our minds are busy with mental chatter from our life experiences, whether that be our upbringing, experiences from childhood or our experiences as an adult (even the mental chatter from what happened yesterday), it keeps us in a circular spin in our lives. When we are able to get quiet and grounded, we begin to notice the subtleties of our thoughts and the patterns of our lives that might be holding us back.  We are able to identify them as a witness, without engaging. And through that awareness we are able to let go, clearing a pathway to new experiences in life.

It is far from boring.

Meditation is the gateway to a world of deep connectivity and knowing oneself. It is the place that we can go to when everything around us is noisy and chaotic. It is getting to know yourself in a way that most never do in a lifetime.

There is an internal world of amazingness waiting for you. And yes, sometimes you’ll achieve these incredible esoteric experiences, and sometimes your mind will be focussed on the fact that your leg fell asleep. That’s just the way it goes. It is a practice.  Each experience will be completely different from the time before.

If you have tried it and decided it was not for you, I would encourage you to come back and try again. One experience does not define all the different options that are available out there.  Keep at it until you find something that works for you.

My CDs are designed in a way where a portion of the session is seated and a portion is done laying down. I’ve created them this way as this is how I learned for myself. And if you want to sit in a lotus pose with your legs crossed for a whole class, there are courses out there that will teach you that way. But, mine won’t.

I believe that the body needs to be in a natural comfortable state for the mind to relax. And because of this, my meditations are designed in this way.

We need tools to be able to function in a healthy way, in today’s society.  Without a mindful practice to help relieve stress, we create more stress in the world by our unconscious actions and words.   Give yourself mental calm and relax, get centered, line up the left and right hemispheres of your brain so you can start to view your world differently and from that place, move forward in the world with greater self awareness.  I promise you, you will notice your world shifting.

I’ve just released my 6th Meditation CD in my Jaya Meditation Collection, titled “CALM.”  This recording features Deva Premal as my Guest chanting “OM” with me.

I invite everyone to join me for my CD Release Event on Sunday, September 30 from 7 to 8pm at Jaya Yoga Centre – Toronto. The fee is $35. Each student will leave with a copy of the CD or download, and there will be a mix and mingle following the meditation. Whether you already have an existing practice or are new to the experience, everyone is welcome.

Tickets are available in advance only at www.jayameditation.com and/or www.jayayoga.ca

I hope you will join me!  (please bring you yoga mat, as a portion of class is done laying down)

OM,

Jacqualine (Jaya!)

Link into my Youtube account to hear me read this BLOG: Jacqualine Haller

www.jayameditation.com

www.jayayoga.ca

www.devapremalmiten.com

“A Sunday Morning Reflection”

“A Sunday Morning Reflection”

by Jacqualine Haller

(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11,” The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)

It’s Sunday morning, and I have just completed day #20 of my “30 Day Meditation Challenge with my students. A few Sundays this month I decided to teach a class on Pranayama (breath work).  We spend 45 minutes diving into different breathing techniques and explore our own personal limits when it comes to breath work.  In Sanskrit, pranayama means breath control.  Prana refers to your life-force energy, your Chi, that energy that moves you through life.  The latter part of the word, “ayama” – means to draw out or extend.  We practice controlling our breath to achieve mental clarity, restore health to the body and to help us get a better handle on our scattered thoughts and impulses.  Please note, this is really a very short and somewhat lacking summary of how incredibly important pranayama is,  for the purposes of this BLOG.

40 minutes of meditation, 45 minutes of breathing and I get the opportunity to mingle with some students that I don’t get to see very often.  It has been an extremely rewarding morning so far, and it’s only 08:30am.  I leave the studio in the hands of the next teacher, and I find myself sitting in a park that is roughly between the studio and my home, with a warm cup of coffee.  I am enjoying basking in the Sunday morning sun, with the fresh air that has a slightly cool note to it.  I think to myself, if God, the Universe or whatever you believe in is anywhere on a Sunday, it is surely in this park.

There are a couple ladies by the swing sets doing what looks like a morning movement routine. There’s a new mom sitting on the merry-go-round with her brand new infant.  There are three athletes a little further off doing moves I’ve never seen before.  Either way, it is a beautiful start to a Sunday.  Everyone and everything seems to be in harmony.

It’s not often that my day organizes itself in a way where sitting in a park in the sunshine with a coffee, makes the most effective use of my time. Different than what most of us are used to, I’m sure.  But I need to head back later to open for a workshop, so this makes the most sense, amazingly enough.

The state of mind you start your day with, and how you spend the first hour of any morning, sets the tone for the rest of your day. Waking up early to start the day in a grounding quiet way, followed by flooding the body with fresh oxygen, oxygenating your blood…. Well, I’m not sure I can think of a better way.  Fresh air, focused rhythmic breathing, and arriving into this moment is really all it takes.

So wake up early, why not!

Go for a walk before anyone is up. Get to your local yoga studio and stretch it out. Or grab a coffee and sit in the park and watch the sun rise. Choose to start your day in a completely different way then what you’re used to, and see what happens. And if there’s no mind blowing revelation, don’t worry about it. That experience along with how you experience your day, will shift.

It will be well worth it.

Every part of our day is filled with noise.  Noise from the street, noise from our family and from interaction. Noise from work and what we need to deliver on.  Some noise is pleasant to hear too, of course.  But there is something about leaving ourselves time to be quiet and still.  It is this time of alone-ness that makes the human experience rich.

I get it.  5am is not everyone’s favorite time of the day.  And, yet it is for many.  As I walk to the studio each morning, people are out with their dogs, some are already sitting in coffee shops and some are out for fresh air and exercise.  There is a magic this time of day, and there is something about taking in the quiet solitude of the city before the world wakes up and it becomes noisy again.

Change it up!  There is so much of life waiting to be explored outside of routine.

Have a beautiful day, everyone!

OM,

Jacqualine (Jaya!)

Link into my Youtube account to hear me read this BLOG = Jacqualine Haller

www.jayameditation.com

www.jayayoga.ca

“My thank you, to Deva Premal”

“My thank you to Deva Premal” ~ by Jacqualine Haller

(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11,” The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)

As most of you know by now, I am the visionary behind “The AUM Project.”   I collect “aum’s” from notable people from around the world who understand and appreciate the benefits of meditation in their lives, and have an active practice in some form.  The contribution of their “aum”s” are attached to one of my meditation CDs in an effort to highlight the importance and benefits of mindful behavior in the world; our global community.

Each time I ask someone for an “aum” and each time it has been gifted to me, my gift back includes multiple things, but most importantly, it includes a physical copy of the CD they contributed to.  Something, I personally like to hand-deliver to them.  I have been lucky enough to do that with each contributor so far.

I want to share with you what it was like for me when I gave Deva Premal her copy.

Deva Premal contributed an “aum” to my Guided Meditation CD titled “Calm.”  This is the 6th album in my Jaya Meditation Collection, and was released this week.  Deva understood the project right away.  She offered up her OM with all her love and momentum, and the freedom to do what I felt I needed to do with it. I remember receiving it, like it was yesterday.  I had just flown home from a week in Costa Rica to celebrate my 44th birthday and as I am about to end my evening, her response came through. Imagine trying to fall asleep after that!

The CD was produced a few months after that, and I told her that I would be coming to her performance in Toronto to thank her in person and give her a copy.

With a thank you note intact, the CD and a small gift, I made my way to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto Canada.

When I got through the front door, I discover that I had purchased two tickets by accident.  I was just a few rows away from the front. The lovely lady who was in the seat next to the spare seat was also quite elated as we were able to put our elbows, purses and bags between us.

Business Class, Kirtan style.

The evening performance ended.  Some people stay and some leave.

Do I go up to the front? I don’t see her there, should I give it time?

The evening was progressing, and I had to be up at 5am to teach my 30 Day Meditation Challenge class. Everyone is mingling with friends and catching up.  I’m standing there feeling slightly awkward and we are getting closer to midnight.  I see the crew cleaning up, and I start to think that I should pass my gift bag to them and ask them to deliver it to her.

Then my eye catches one of my teachers that used to teach at Jaya Yoga Centre. She too was waiting to speak with Deva. I tell her that I’m not sure I can wait much longer and that I was thinking of giving the gift bag to one of the volunteers.

And then, she points out that Deva is already off the stage and amongst our little crowd.

While I have been to many of Deva’s performances, I have never met her in person.  She has been that soft voice playing in the background of my yoga and meditation classes, and her version of the Mantra “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” was my morning chant during a challenging time recently.

But in person, this was a first.

There are two people in front of me. Through them I can see her face, and all the ideas and images that I had created about her in my mind from the last 13 years were manifesting in physical form.  Goodness, I had so much mental chatter going on. What should I say?  What shouldn’t I say?

I am sure my words won’t do this justice, as sometimes words aren’t enough to describe someone.  But, I will give it a try. She was glowing.  Now, I don’t see aura’s, but if I could see them, hers would have been bright.  But if you think about it, what would you look like after repeating Mantra for over three hours?

Is there anything left, other than the glow of pure consciousness available to us at that point?

It’s finally my turn. I manage to mumble out something about my thank you and that I am Jacqualine from our exchange.  There was no grace about it.  As I stumble to find what I want to say, she simply comes towards me and hugs me. No need for words.

We stood there for what felt like a long beautiful moment. I felt she felt my thank you.  A language that only words could destroy. Nothing more needed than a simple moment in time.

When I attend a kirtan for me personally, it is not to chant, but to meditate in the ocean of voices around me. It is one of my most favorite things.  That vibration gets me there every single time. But I think it’s important for me to write this BLOG because I want people to understand the actual result of Mantra.  Deva, in her space of consciousness and something we refer to in Meditation as “no-mind”, well that is what happens when you chant for three hours straight, or your whole life for that matter.

It was a visual display of the vibration of pure consciousness.

I am deeply grateful to Deva Premal.  I am also thankful to George and Wendy, two of my long time students for being there with me and for me.  And thank you to Karen who was perfectly available at that moment to guide me away from leaving prematurely.

Deva is about to release a brand new Album titled “Deva ~by Deva Premal” on October 12th.  It is currently available for pre-order through her website at www.devapremalmiten.com or Itunes.  I would recommend purchasing any of her Albums though.  Each is uniquely incredible.

My 6th Guided Meditation CD titled “Calm” features Deva Premal as my guest. It has just been released. You can download it at www.jayameditation.com or ITunes: Jacqualine Haller.  Here, you can also learn more on “The AUM Project” and previous contributors.

What is the meaning of the Mantra “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”

“May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all”

OM,

Jacqualine (Jaya)

“OSHO, Netflix and a gentle punch in the stomach”

“OSHO, Netflix and a gentle punch in the stomach”

by Jacqualine Haller

(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11,” The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)

I have been teaching yoga and meditation classes for almost 8 years at Jaya Yoga Centre in Toronto and other studios I’m invited to around the city.  My classes have a philosophical spiritual element to them, and I don’t shy away from this.   Yoga isn’t just about having the best butt in town, although that can be a nice side-effect of a regular practice.  Yoga is about the union of the mind, the body and the soul.  So yes, I share a philosophical reading at every class that I teach.

For my regular students, they know that I’ve been reading OSHO quotes to them since day one.

I discovered OSHO while I was in India in 2005.  Not for anything, but I liked the way that his name looked on his many many books, so I bought a few and brought them home.  That may sound like an extremely trivial beginning, I realize.  However, when you’re in a book store where they only sell the work of great Yogi’s, where there are hundreds of books to choose from on the topic and you are completely new and naive to the world of yogic philosophy, you might have done the same.

If any of you have ever read OSHO, you know that it’s equivalent to a gentle punch in the stomach, a wakeup call of the very best kind. His teachings are real, solid and have an undeniable ring of truth to them.  Through that realness, they may miss out on an element of softness that you get from many other great teachers, but sometimes softness doesn’t wake you up.  Sometimes softness keeps us in that warm fuzzy feeling place about the current state of affairs.  Now please understand that I believe there is definitely a place for softness in this world, a very large place for it in my opinion. But typically I like a healthy wakeup call once in awhile, and so it has worked for me.  When I first began to explore Meditation with a consistent practice (something I will share about another time), it was OSHO’s Meditations read by the beautiful voice of Anando Heffley, that I connected with most.  As I started out on my meditation journey, I bought everything I could find on the subject from OSHO to angel cards, to the sweetest music out there. Whatever was available on the topic online, I purchased it to see what I connected with most.  I always connected with OSHO.

No fuss.  Just the truth, whether you want to hear it or not.

As many of you have seen on Netflix, the documentary “Wild Wild Country” came out with a bang!  I knew OSHO had an ashram in India, which I’ve always wanted to visit.  However, I had no idea that he had built a community in Wasco County, Oregon in the United States.  If you have seen it, yes, it appears a lot had gone on.  I binge watched it. I couldn’t believe that as much as I thought I knew about him, I really didn’t know a large part of his life. I remember finishing the series feeling confused and a bit shocked that all of this went on to some degree or another.  I did not know about Sheila, I did not know about any of it.  And then I thought to myself, what have I been reading to my students?  Was I off on this the whole time?  It took me a few days to sort it out for myself and come to terms with what I saw.

However, I did come to terms with it.

As my students know, I still continue to read OSHO to them in my classes.  I wasn’t there, I wasn’t in Wasco County Oregon in 1981.  I was 7 years old and in grade 2.  It is because of that, that I really cannot say.  In fact, unless any of us were there, we cannot say either.  Yes, documentaries are meant to educate and for those who know me well, I love a good documentary. But let’s be clear, if we were to count the people who were there personally or the number of people who watched the Netflix series, there are equally as many individual perspectives on what happened.  And so I can only go back to what I know, which is the validity of his teachings, his books and material and his message.

After all, that is where the gold nugget is. (no pun intended)

I think we all have seen the human distortion of sacred teachings.  The reality is, all interpretations come from a human being.  That means that the human experience always follows and influences.  You can’t get away from it completely, and we have seen that over and over again happening within our communities.  What is shown in the documentary may or may not have happened exactly the way it is portrayed.  So I can only go back to the teachings and his undeniable message.  And for that reason alone, I continue to read OSHO in my classes.  Namaste

Jacqualine (Jaya)

“When you change, everything changes”

“When you change, everything changes”

by Jacqualine Haller

(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11,” The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)

Today, we completed Day 5 of the 30 Day Meditation Challenge.  It’s Saturday morning, and while students have the choice to attend in person at 06:30 or link into the LIVE feed, more students showed up in person today since we started; A lovely way to start the weekend.  And let’s be real, it is not that easy to do as it means most alarms are going off around 5am.  Especially not that easy to do since most people wake up to an alarm during the week, and use their weekend mornings to catch up on rest.  But these students are committed to this challenge, which is evident.  Conversations around how going to bed early is now necessary to make it for class, some students experimenting with biking to the studio from home and someone even brought in their morning tea in a mug.  I love it all, and it is nice to see our lives are shifting around this.  I have enjoyed being witness to an intimate community being born, as people share in this experience together.

During class, my mind starts to wonder how everyone is doing.  We get together each morning, share in a 40 minute meditation and then go about our day.  I feel like I am personally shifting inside from this daily experience, and I wonder if they feel a shift to.  When you immerse yourself in a higher vibration experience, your personal vibration begins to match it.  It would be impossible for it not to.  When you create internal change, the world and how you experience it, changes around you.  Slowly, slowly and then what feels like ‘almost suddenly,’ the vibration of other things, situations, people, experiences and conversation, sometimes no longer lines up with us.  Tolerance for negativity, ignorance, hatred, ego and self serving behavior naturally dissipates.  Even the social networking we have created around us, isn’t enough to hold us in place and we simply get up and walk away, graciously leave the conversation or turn off the news;  Anything necessary to get back to that good feeling place we have created.

You start to notice a new standard has been set.

When you allow yourself to become quiet and still, and give yourself a break from the relentless chatter in the mind (we all have it), you learn incredible subtleties about yourself.  The bonus is that you are now quiet enough to notice them.  You now have an awareness of how you have been contributing (vibrating) in the world, and what you have been participating in and contributing to.  And it’s not to say that we need to come down hard on ourselves for it, but once we know better we do better.

Look, we have all been in a state of ego.  We have all acted and reacted from a place of our personal identity.  We are human beings, and we need our ego for certain things. After all, our ego is also that thing that makes sure we don’t cross the street into oncoming traffic. So there is never any reason to come down hard on yourself. However, transformation is when we wake up to what’s been going on and our unconscious behavior.  Through transformation, we begin to become aware of the mind and start to use it as the servant it is meant to be.

We need more consciousness as a global community.

They say that none of us are evolved or enlightened until the very last one of us is evolved and enlightened.  We are so connected to each other whether we believe that or not, that we cannot move forward until the very last one of us has reached that place.  And so, it is up to each one of us to work towards that, in whatever form it comes in.  We have been told so much from government, our church, our social make up, the news.  I remember my favourite political science professor in University lecturing our class to never believe anything that we are told in life until we can validate it on our own to be truth.  I admired her and who she was, and took that lesson to heart. And while I absolutely respect everyone and their belief system, I hope that people are believing because they have discovered it to be their truth, and aren’t down a road of blind faith.  We can’t afford blind faith anymore, and I think that goes without explanation. As a global community, we can no longer sit back comfortably and rely on what others tell us is going on in the world, what is right or wrong, good or bad. We must in the core of our gracious ‘being-ness’ determine that for ourselves and act accordingly.

Be responsible to awaken, take responsibility for your enlightenment. Live your truth, and you will be an example. When people see you living a higher vibration and not giving attention to drama, they will know that there is a better way and will mirror that for themselves.  At the end of class today, I asked my students to think of something they are grateful for and sit for a minute in the feeling of its vibration.  I participated too. I write this today as a thank you to each of my students who are on this 30 Day Meditation Journey with me, who are moving through their stuff as I move through mine.  They have all become my teachers and for that, I am truly thankful.

Jacqualine (Jaya)

The “AUM” Project

“The AUM Project”

by Jacqualine Haller

(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11,” The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)

First of all, what is an “aum?” (OM). This is typically the first question I get asked when I explain my project to people.  And for the corporate financial minds out there, no – it does not stand for assets under management. (Although, a yogi might make an argument for that.)

Most people who have been to a yoga class are familiar with chanting ‘aum’ at the beginning and at the end of the class.  It carries a very grounding quality to the sound of it.  Yoga teachers will start and/or end their class chanting AUM with their students.  This sound helps ground energy before they begin an asana (posture) class and then again at the end of class before students head out into the busy-ness of the world and their personal lives.

AUM is the original sound of creation and therefore the most sacred sound.  It is in everything that exists.  It is the vibrational undercurrent that holds everything together, from the heavens to the earth and beyond. And while the vibration of AUM is in all of us, it belongs to none of us.  No one can own an AUM, or owns their AUM (for that matter).  It is a part of the collective, and from the collective and this sound vibration, the world manifested.

So, what is The “AUM” project?

I have been collecting AUM’s from recognizable names in the industry who have a meditation practice and understand, appreciate and have witnessed the benefits in their lives.  Each of these AUM’s are dedicated to one of my meditation CD’s to draw awareness around the importance of a mindful practice in life.

The AUM Project is meant to highlight that people from all over the world are meditating or have some sort of spiritual practice, regardless of the form in comes in.  And just when everyone thinks nobody is meditating and it’s the least ‘cool’ thing to or might be perceived as ‘boring, the reality is that most people are already meditating in some way or another (whether they realize it or not).  After all, the mind naturally needs a break from the relentless chatter and takes it whether you sit down to do it as a practice, or not. The interesting part of this is that those considered well-known or famous who are living their truth, their path, their darma (what you are meant to do in life), have this practice.  A consistent meditation practice brings so many benefits to life, sharing the importance of it, is what The “AUM” Project is all about.

So far, I have produced 6 Guided Meditation CD’s (ITunes search: Jacqualine Haller).  The first 3 were the amazing beginnings.

My 4th CD has my original teacher from India, Yogrishi Vishvketu chanting AUM with me.  Visha is an incredible teacher who has built a Global Yoga Teacher training program and a beautiful Ashram and school in Rishikesh, India.  Having him contribute an AUM first to my project is extremely meaningful to me.  He represents the beginning of my learning and is where my foundation was built. To learn more about Vishva and his meaningful life’s work, visit www.akhandayoga.com

My 5th CD has Grammy nominated and warmly known as the ‘Godfather of Kirtan’  Krishna Das chanting AUM with me.  Krishna Das has recorded 15 albums to date and has changed the landscape of Kirtan in North America.  His voice is grounding, non-dramatic and powerful. I have spend over 10 years attending workshops and retreats with Krishna Das, and my meditation’s during his Kirtan’s are something very meaningful to me.  Having him contribute an AUM to this project is significant. To learn more about Krishna Das and his incredible life’s work, visit www.krishnadas.com

My 6th CD has Deva Premal as my guest chanting AUM with me.  Deva has sold over a million CD’s and her albums have topped the New Age charts throughout the world.  The first time I ever heard Deva Premal’s voice was in 2005 on the streets of Rishikesh India, where they played her everywhere!  If you can imagine, her voice carried into the streets like a dream.  I remember feeling I had heard the voice of an angel.  I purchased everything she had created up until that point, and brought her home to Canada with me to play to my students.  She is an incredible talent who lends her voice to kirtan, and I am honored to have her contribute an AUM to my project.  To learn more about Deva Premal and the significant impact she has had on the lives of others, visit www.devapremalmiten.com

Many more AUM contributions are on their way, and I look forward to growing the project even further.  These AUM’s will be added to the next CD’s, and their contributions will continue to highlight the importance of meditation, the benefits of it and show the world that even well-known artists, politicians, musicians, and actors use this practice while they are working to achieve their life purpose.  It is available to all of us because it is simply a tool to reconnect with who we truly are inside; the magnificent manifestor’s and creators, each of us with a divine purpose in life.

Meditation is very simple to do and available to everyone.  My recordings are non-denominational and easy to follow along. They are available for download at www.jayameditation.com; www.jayayoga.ca and ITUNES: Jacqualine Haller

I hope you enjoy them!

OM,

Jacqualine (Jaya)

Link into my AUDIO BLOG by clicking HERE!

“This is where this began”

“This is where this began

by Jacqualine Haller

(Founder & Director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11,” The “AUM” Project and the Inflight Base Manager for YYZ)

It’s 5am and the alarm goes off. Time to get up and ready for Day 2 of my 30 Day Meditation Challenge.  I am prepared from the night before, with a theme of intuition and inner guidance.  My OSHO inspirational quote has been chosen, the intent for the class decided, and this time is just about getting ready.

Class goes great, and as we are about to finish I find I am caught up in a moment to myself, contemplating everything that has happened in my life that has led to this exact moment with my students.  Like most of us, I typically spend my day multitasking and going from one thing to the next.  One moment I am coming up with plans to move KPI’s (key performance indicators) in the right direction, then joining a conference call to discuss OTP (on time performance) to then switching gears and nurturing an issue amongst my Managers . Fast forward to now being in a room with my students leading a meditation on letting one’s intuition guide them in life and asking my students to commit the next 30 days (well, 29…) of their lives to explore where their personal stream of guidance might take them.

And out of nowhere, a thought surfaces.  How did I get here?  The studio has been up and running for almost 8 years and I have been leading meditation classes for almost 8 years.  My mind drifts to the very beginning when I went to Rishikesh India in 2005 to train with my teachers Yogrishi Vishvektu (Vishva) and Chetana (Jessica).

This is where this began.

I used to live in Calgary before my company moved me to Toronto to spearhead our growth out here. A friend of mine, a colleague that I worked with, invited me to a yoga class that took place in a heated room.   This was my first introduction to yoga of any kind. And as most of us experience, I got attached pretty quickly and fell in love with how it made me feel.  However, the yoga I was practicing was quite limited in pranayam (breathing) and asana (posture), and I wanted to learn more then what was being offered.

I considered going to California and being trained in the style that studio offered, but one of the teachers told me about World Conscious Yoga Family, now Akhanda Yoga.  She had trained with Vishva and Chetana, and said that if I wanted to have the full experience of a yoga teacher training program, with the authenticity that comes with that (or should come with that), I should connect with them and go to India.

And that is what I did.

I remember both of them coming to Calgary and we agreed to meet up for tea one morning before I went to work.  There I am in my office attire and there they are in their beautiful traditional clothes.  I remember feeling super self-conscious, but after all, I was who I was and they were who they were and all of it was okay.  A life lesson in personal acceptance, but that is for another time.

We connected instantly and I registered.

Lucky for me, we happened to be on the same flight to Delhi that fall which was a blessing in disguise.  It made it comfortable for me to have them with me on that journey, assist me through the Delhi experience, onto the train and into Rishikesh. A month of training began and while India was a struggle for me, the training was not. They offered an authentic honest experience of yoga.

No ego.  No drama.

Chetana (Jessica), Program Coordinator for Akhanda Yoga has almost 15 years of experience in designing the curricula and manuals for continuing education and YTT programs. I have appreciated learning from her and am in awe with how she helped build a strong and successful foundation for Akhanda Yoga. She’s an incredible writer, Yogi and mother, and I value her friendship deeply.  She is now an Advisor to the Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Trainer Qualifications Working Group as part of the Yoga Alliance Standards Review Project.  Incredibly passionate about the pursuit of excellence in ethics and standards within the yoga community, they are lucky to have her.  To learn more about Chetana (Jessica) and her work, visit www.holdingtheinvisiblestring.com

My deepest gratitude to Vishva, for all that he has taught me.  I have only taken a 200HR YTT course with him, and everything that I have built has started from his teaching. The foundation he has provided me has changed my life and has helped guide me as I guide my students.   I’m deeply grateful for him and his dedication to yoga.  As people in the Western world we have ability to change careers as we wish, and enter into different fields should we want to.  In fact, in the corporate world, moving around is encouraged.  But this is Vishva’s life work.  It is a true passion for him. You won’t get the flash, you won’t get the sales pitch, you won’t get the inauthenticity that sometimes comes from the world of yoga. You will get humility, truth, a man living the path, passionate about the success of his teachers and the healing of the planet.

As I finished my meditation class this morning, I end the class the way I always do; chanting “aum, followed by 3 “shanti, shanti, shanti” which means peace. I am filled with a sense of gratitude for the knowledge, the understanding and the gift of sharing that with my students, as it was shared with me.

Thinking about taking a yoga teacher training course in India and looking for authentic knowledge and experience? Visit www.akhandayoga.com.  In 20 years of working with my company, I have only referred one person, as I rarely put my name behind what I don’t fully know to be true.  But I put my name behind Vishva, Chetana (Jessica) and Akhanda Yoga.  With the deepest gratitude and appreciation, I put my name behind it.

OM,

Jacqualine Haller (Jaya)

Listen to my AUDIO BLOG by clicking HERE!

www.jayameditation.com

www.jayayoga.ca

“Letting the Moment Decide”

“Letting the Moment Decide”

by Jacqualine Haller

(founder & director of Jaya Yoga Centre and voice/creator of Jaya Meditation, “List of 11” and The “AUM” Project)

As I begin my 4 month leave of absence, I decided to use September as a transition month and take the gift of time given to me, to commit to my meditation practice in a different way, re-connect with my yoga studio and my truly inspiring students who I love dearly.  I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time and help with my transition.  After all, I am going from a 24/7 corporate operation to my little boutique yoga studio and meditation practice.  A different feel to the day, entirely!

Many people signed up, as far west as BC and as far south as Australia, and as close as my beautiful students who have been with me from the beginning of opening my studio (or relatively close to that time).  New students signed up too, people I am excited to share this journey with.  I truly feel that I am in love with all beautiful souls that are with me.  Souls , who, when it’s time to offer one moment of gratitude during the class, are offering gratitude for me as I am quietly offering gratitude for them, their presence and participation.  A moment like this is connectivity with the collective in a way that surpasses culture, ethnicity and religious preferences.  Any perceived differences we may have been taught exist, have no place here.

We are all one, sharing in the quiet calming energy of the space we are all holding for each other.

All my worries about the sound quality for the live link quickly dissipate.  We can start to hear the birds chirp in the large tree outside the window, and the morning traffic start to spool up with the rush of cars going by.  The sun starts to rise and the room fills will the warm morning sun.  And there we are together, observing, noticing, enjoying.  40 minutes went by so quickly and we were finished when it just felt like we started.  It went by faster than anyone expected and it was over before we knew it.  40 minutes in a meditative state is not a very long period of time, and the only way to know that truth is to experience it.  Typically my classes run for an hour and sometimes students comment even that is too short, so 40 minutes was quick by comparison.

And as I walked back home, for what will turn out to be day 4 of my leave, I am in a state of joy, calm and happiness about what the day will bring.  The area of Toronto that I live in is full of business people and small families.  I encounter women and men in suits heading to the subway, a car alarm is going off somewhere loudly and since it’s the first day of school, there are children everywhere waiting for their bus and their first day with new friends and experiences.

This is the exact morning vibration that I have participated in for at least 20 years of my life.

Except for today.

Today I am open and remain available to a different experience; I will let the moment decide. Today, unlike any other day, instead of planning and organizing my day to the point that I am on auto-pilot, I will let the moment decide.

These are simple morning guided meditation that anyone can do.  Students can join anytime  Register and receive the LIVE links and join me from the comfort of your own home or wherever you are, in any time zone.  Registration at www.jayameditation.com or www.jayayoga.ca

OM,

Jacqualine (Jaya!)

Listen to my AUDIO BLOG by clicking HERE!

“List of 11” ~ a global social experiment

On January 1st of 2018, I sat down in my favourite part of my home where I’m always most inspired (famously known as “my perch” to close friends and colleagues).  And while on my perch, I wrote an email to myself. I listed 11 things, experiences or energies that I wanted to happen or have cleared up, feelings I wanted to have manifested and just in general what I wanted to see happen by the end of this year. Before I go to sleep each night, with purpose, feeling and mindfulness, I read each of the 11 points to myself and feel what it would feel like to have all 11 come true.

Why 11? Well, when you add up the numbers of 2018 (2+0+1+8) it equals 11. And without getting into too much numerology, 1’s carry a powerful vibration.

The idea and experiement being, that our thoughts manifest into reality.

If we were to choose our thoughts more wisely and with purpose and intent, and only spend a short minute reading them to ourselves each night before we fall asleep (or whenever you get a moment to yourself), what could potentially happen in 365 days? We are going to find out!

Now, why the social experiment?

One evening I was having dinner with some dear friends, and I invited them to participate in this with me. We would not share with each other what we had written, as that somehow removes its power and the energy behind it. But that we would agree at the end of this year to come together again, and read out what we had written to ourselves, to each other, checking off what had actually manifested.

I mean after all, if we aren’t manifesting, what are we really doing with our time and our lives?

I then shared it with my yogic friends and also brought it to my office team as a social experiment for those who wanted to participate. Their #listofeleven now safely tucked away in a private container in my office.

Very different from making a New Year’s resolution!

I am sharing this social experiment with everyone here. Possibly you would like to participate, possibly not. It is completely a personal choice. However, to some degree we are all living the lives that we have thought or dreamed for ourselves in some capacity or another, and so if that is possible in the now, I can’t help but wonder what is possible when we actually make it a daily practice.

It is simple. Write an email to yourself or put it down on a piece of paper and list 11 things you want and the way those things are going to feel when they arrive, or possibly why you want them. Then spend a short minute a day reading and feeling those things you wrote. At the end of this year, let’s see what happens!

After all, why not? What else are we doing with our thoughts and our lives if not making our deepest dreams come true.

Join me and share your stories at #listofeleven and #globalsocialexperiment

~ Jacqualine (Jaya)

Listen to my AUDIO BLOG by clicking HERE!

Instagram: jaya_meditation

Facebook: Jaya Meditation by Jacqualine Haller

www.jayameditation.com

www.jayayoga.ca

“Meditation in silence is luxury;  Meditation in the presence of noise, is the lesson”

It’s the year 2010.  One of my dear yogic friends and I decide it’s time to escape the city, shake off the busy-ness of our lives and head off to a Krishna Das retreat at the Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge Massachusetts.  We are mostly there for retreat, for rest and relaxation.  There is no one needing anything from us, no ‘should’s’ and ‘should not’s,’ …..no ‘ought to’ and ‘ought not to’s.’  Just a special part of the world to disconnect for a little while and immerse ourselves in the space of a place, providing us space.   

The retreat itself is set up where there is personal free time, time for workshop dialogue, a question and answer period, and then time for sweet Kirtan.  Kirtan, for those that might be new to it is really another way to get into a meditative state.  A Kirtan Wallah (in this case, Krishna Das), will sing or chant sacred Sanskrit words, and those in attendance repeat what he sings.  This happens over and over again, and one song can last up to 20 – 30 minutes, possibly longer.  Each word carries a sound vibration and helps to steady the mind, bringing it into a state of stillness or deep meditation. 

Now for me, I’ve never been much of a singer.  While I have spent many years attending retreats, I go for one purpose only.  I attend so I can be surrounded by the vibration of the environment. I go so I can sit and meditate while beautiful voices around me sing sacred words.  I go so I can be surrounded by conversation of a higher vibration, where people are searching and open to learning about themselves and possibly a newer way of being.  To me it is special and sacred, and my most favorite way to unwind when my work and life balance, becomes off balance.

It was Saturday and we had all gathered into the main hall for our scheduled afternoon time together.  We had a few hours with Krishna Das where he opened up the floor for questions.  I had settled in next to my friend off to the side of the large group somewhere against a wall.  I closed my eyes and started to tap into my breathing. 

The questions and dialogue began. 

While questions are being asked and answers shared, there happened to be this couple who were creating a fair bit of noise and distraction.  They were a few people away from us, but their whispers and giggles could still be heard.  It must have been a fairly new relationship.  You could hear the man scoffing at some answers, trying to show to his new love that he possibly knew more or better then the answer provided.  It’s funny how ego shows up, even in the delicate yoga world.  I suppose we are all just human beings, wanting love and attention and to feel like we have something meaningful to contribute.   You could sense the energy of the large group shift in dissatisfaction with the distraction they were creating.  And so there I am, meditating – but equally aware of the sounds of their voices.  At some point, it’s starting to pull me out of my space. 

After some time, it dawns on me that since I have no control over the situation, I would try a different approach.  Instead of trying to control my environment, instead of trying to push the sound away, instead of trying to block it out and focusing on something else…

I invite it in. 

I started to welcome into my meditation, the sound of their voices.  I started to welcome the sound of their giggles.  I started to welcome the sounds of their workshops judgements and whispers on the topic they thought they knew so much more about.  To start, not so easy.  I was trying to experiment with taking a sound I found bothersome, and asking to hear more of it;  inviting myself to go deeper with it.  I don’t know about you, but this was definitely not something I had tried before.  I was in essence, trying to experiment with myself to feel and believe that I couldn’t wait for the next giggle to happen, the next judgement to come from their mouths.  And then, something really magical happened.

Their voices turned into the sound of children.

It may sound odd and don’t get me wrong, it took some time and much practice.  Yet slowly and then suddenly, all I could hear was the soft laughter of children playing and giggling.  All I could hear was the sound of blissful joy coming from their words.  All I could hear were their hearts singing out loud in the form of play.  The more I kept inviting the sound in, the more it made my heart smile.  What started out as disruptive, turned into me feeling defensive of them and their way of being.  I wanted to hold space for them so they could be what and how they needed to be.  And there in meditation, with a soft smile on my face, I had learned a massive lesson.

Meditation in silence is luxury;  Meditation in the presence of noise, is the lesson.

As many of you know, I have been guiding meditation classes for over 6 years. I use the word ‘guiding,’ as I don’t really believe anyone can teach someone to meditate. It’s something all of your own personal experience.  I tell my students all the time that the sounds of the city around us, the fire truck going by, the car honking down the street, the fan in the room clicking in, someone possibly snoring in class or breathing heavily, someone fidgeting next to you… try not to push the sound away from you. Instead, invite it in.  Experiment with anticipating the sound and the next sound coming in after it.  Welcome it into your quiet meditative space.  Because at the end of all this and the purpose behind all of this, is to remain calm while the storm circles around you.  The goal is to develop a grounded place that you can tap into, anytime the tornado of life is around.  The whole point is to nurture a place of calm where you are centered and better able to try identify the triggers that are in disguise (as something like noise).   Create space between you and your trigger before you respond, so you are able to think clearly and decide how you are going to react.  Because that reaction, whatever you allow it or don’t allow it to be, is your karma.  And yours alone. 

Now, I am obviously a huge fan of meditation and hence, this is what I am writing about.  But regardless if you are experimenting with this practice or looking for alternate ways to manage your stress and how to deal with the constant noise around us, be open to this suggestion.  Namaste.

OM,

Jacqualine (Jaya!)

Listen to my AUDIO BLOG by clicking HERE!

www.jayameditation.com

www.jayayoga.ca

www.krishnadas.com

www.kripalu.org

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