by Nicole Becker
June 21, 2022
The truth is no mystery: all life on earth is utterly dependent on the sun.
Our ancestral cultures around the world were intimately aware of this and had many daily and seasonal rituals of worship and gratitude for the life-giving light of our home star.
As an outsider it may seem naïve or even heretical to “worship" the sun - but the devotional tradition is not about idolatry. The devotees do not mistake the sun for “God”. Rather, they use the form of the sun as the basis for a very deep gratitude practice.
After teaching Sunday's sun salutation (Surya Namaskar) class I sat in meditation and wrote the words of prayer below. I share them with you today in honor of the Solstice.
P.S. If you missed the class and would like to practice with the recording, I've added it to the on-demand video library which you can access either with your unlimited membership or a video library “day pass”. (You'll find the class in the ‘Holistic Yoga’ collection)
Blessed Solstice to All!
May all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
INVOKING THE LIGHT
I stand open in the spirit of universal friendship and loving kindness.
I lift my heart to the principle of Illumination
and bow to the energizing force of Light.
I offer gratitude to the abundant beauty revealed
by the Light of Awareness and dedicate myself to
the lifelong path of sacred remembrance.
I prostrate myself to the earth - source of worldly nourishment.
I honor the ultimate source of spiritual sustenance
deep in the golden center of the everynow.
I humble myself to the unfathomable radiance that shines
through all things known and unknown.
I bend my knee and lift my cup to the birthplace of this sacred Light
invoking its power to dispel all forms of ignorance and untruth.
Every facet of my being is given in complete surrender to the ineffable One.
May all beings remember their Enlightenment
and receive the grace of unconditional Love.
– Nicole Anami
I had a new client who was a busy therapist.
She was in a big grieving process and experiencing a lot of fear and overwhelm. Between seeing clients and trying to keep herself regulated she was desperate for a way to feel grounded and centered. And even though she was working on this with her own therapist, she was sooooo tired of therapy! She was so tired of all the "intellectual stuff".
She sensed that meditation would be beneficial to her but she could never settle down inside for very long. She loved my yoga classes so when she found out about my personalized meditation program she was eager to join.
Within the first session she made contact with a level of calm she had been longing for but it was hard to stay present with it. Over the course of the next few weeks in the program she completely transformed.
Based on the newfound relationship with her inner ground of being she was able to create a natural and easy meditation practice (5 minutes a day) for herself and connect with a deep nourishing peace on a daily basis.
She found her grief and fear transforming into love and acceptance. She happily reported that she was profoundly more present with her clients and that in fact her new relationship with inner self was creating a much more powerful healing container for her clients (with less talking!).
Talk therapy and the intellect has its place but also its limits. Ultimately we cannot intellectualize our way out of emotional pain or think our way into inner peace. The secret to deep healing and wholeness is not found in the head. It is found in the enlightened heart.
In my personalized program I take you into direct connection with your "ground of being" - the deep healing expanse within. This is the ultimate therapeutic container of universal wisdom where the noisy mind dissolves, unconditional love arises, and direct communication with your highest self/source is possible.
What would change in your life if you had access to all the peace, calm, safety, and effortless wisdom you needed on a daily basis? Would you like to find out?
My mother was initiated into a Hindu lineage at age 19 and gave me my middle name, Anami, which in the Radha Soami tradition refers to the "7th Heaven" which is beyond words. We were raised vegetarian, and I understood Yoga as meditation, philosophy, and the Guru/disciple relationship. I attended Catholic School so Bible stories and Yoga scriptures were side by side. Jesus just seemed like a great Yoga master with his disciples! And his teachings of simplicity, kindness, and prayer matched with the Yoga teachings.
When I was 17, my father died suddenly which in retrospect catapulted me onto my spiritual path. At 18 I discovered the body practices of Hatha Yoga (Kundalini) and began my own studies of eastern philosophies (Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism). I was fortunate to have deep immersions in Kundalini and Iyengar style Yoga (Alice Rocky) during my college years with senior teachers who instilled in me great discipline and passion for the practice which I continued. I began my undergraduate studies in pre-med and moved into a degree in Anthropology and Ecology from UC Berkeley. I focused on indigenous cultures and their spiritual relationship to the environment. I pursued post-graduate mentorship in deep ecology, community design, permaculture and horticultural therapy. I had a strong desire to reconnect people to nature in a concrete spiritual way in order to heal our psyches and the planet.
I never thought I would become a Yoga teacher, but once my daughter was born I felt a strong desire to deepen my practice and I was introduced to Anusara Yoga which blended Iyengar Yoga alignment, Hatha Vinyasa flow and Non-dual Kashmir Shaivism (Classical Tantra) philosophy. In 2004 I completed a 300-Hour teacher training (Jim + Ruthie Bernhart) and began my teaching career. Along the way I also became a certified massage therapist, certified holistic aromatherapist, and immersed myself in the study and practice of Ayurveda, Kashmir Shaivism, and Hatha Yoga as taught by the Bihar School, and the Krishnamacharya lineage (viniyoga + heart of yoga).
Concurrent with my own Yoga path, my mother (Ruth Davis) continued her Yogic and healing path. She remarried, and she and my stepfather (Bruce Davis) traveled the world for decades leading meditation retreats across Europe and Bali, eventually creating retreat centers in Italy and back home in California. It is through mentorship and study with them that I was able to access a new stage of awakening and integration and become a meditation teacher. The practice of HeartFullness that they/we teach is a universal practice of heart-centered presence that is found in the revolutionary and mystical branches of all the great wisdom traditions.
In 2009 I opened my own Yoga studio - Ojas Yoga Center - in El Cerrito, California. I wanted to create a place that was less like a gym and more like a temple: clean, quiet, welcoming, non-pretentious, and sacred. For 10 years the studio hosted an incredibly nourishing calendar of healing yoga, workshops, concerts and guest teachers. The beautiful community of students moved online in 2020 and the brick and mortar studio closed in 2021. We continue in a slightly new form, but with the same deep intention through this platform of Centered in the Heart.
Yoga is first and foremost a spiritual philosophy; an inner path with the purpose of revealing your natural, radiant magnificent Self beyond all name and form which is eternal and also embodied.
In my classes we explore this philosophy in a holistic way
through and with the multi-faceted body|breath|being.
We practice unravelling the mental constrictions and patterns
that deprive our nervous systems of our natural compassion and loving-kindness.
We invite joy, wonderment and curiosity.
We cultivate love-in-action.
Yes we move and stretch and strengthen.
But it is without any pressure, agenda or performance.
It is movement that is liberating not punishing.
It is breath that is deep, not labored.
It is concentration that is meditative, not hardened.
It is a laboratory for shedding the layers of harshness
that have piled up on your soul.
And, it is always exactly what you need.
I look forward to meeting You.