amethyst guided meditation|yogi surprise

Utilizing Amethyst in a Guided Meditation for Contentment

Many of us love various crystals for their vast and intensive properties offering us anything from the attraction of money, healing, and protection to enlightenment, love, and creativity. We believe in their power and they've become an integral tool for our yoga and meditation practices.
Amethyst is one of the most interesting and potent stones on earth. I remember being very envious of my sister growing up because she was lucky enough to have amethyst as her birthstone. The deep purple hue is dazzling and as a child, I associated it with royalty and beauty. It's shine and magnetic energy are seductive in a way that makes it difficult to shift your eyes elsewhere.
Beyond its beauty, amethyst holds space for something many of us consider intangible: contentment. 
 
Amethyst shares its shade with our crown chakra, making it a conduit for the obtainment of enlightenment. And isn't this the path to contentment?
When I think of people I would describe as content, few of them are extremely wealthy, not monetarily. None of them are famous or super-models. Only one of them holds the title CEO or President. And when I think of their energy, it's always purple. And I can't get enough of them. They have the kind of wealth I hold so dear: gratitude and genuine appreciation for the present moment.
Amethyst has long been considered a crystal that holds the ability to calm the mind and encourage a meditative state. A calm, focused mind is much more inclined towards the state of contentment than an overactive and distractive one. Contentment means you feel whole, complete and satisfied with what you have. It doesn't mean you don't have goals or pursuits. It just means you can be present with what is without believing you should have more or be more right this moment.
How can you use amethyst to bring you closer to contentment? Simply being near it and thinking of your association with contentment is a beginning. But there's a more connected way to utilize its power.
A Guided Meditation Starring Amethyst
 
This meditation can last anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Best time of day is in the early morning so you can feel the lasting effects throughout the day.
Light a lavender candle and place tea lights in a circle around your meditation space. Lay down. Consider using props to make your body as comfortable and still as it's capable. Place an amethyst stone first at the base of your throat, right at the center of your clavicle. It all begins with communication, and our throat chakra is the center for fostering communication and bringing it into balance.
Begin by creating a visual room in your mind. Picture the lighting, temperature, size, and features. Begin building this space so that it offers you all you need to feel content. Maybe it's you and your dog, a book, a bathroom, and a glass of wine. Or perhaps it's all of the important people in your life, music, food, comfortable furniture, art, and laughter. Only you know everything you need to be content. Fill the room, don't hold back. Keep adding until it feels completely full.
Spend Time Dwelling in this Space
 
Really live and breath in this space. Drink it in.  Now that you've added everything and everyone you feel is necessary to feel content, begin to notice what you can subtract and still feel that same level of peaceful calm and happiness. Subtract until you are down to the only things and living creatures you need to sustain this feeling. Breath deeply into that sensation and move the amethyst stone to the center of your third eye. Keep breathing, visualizing, experiencing, and cultivating this all-encompassing sense of contentment.
You've now created your own mental living space that embodies contentment. You can visit and revisit anytime. It's always with you, waiting to console you any moment you feel out of whack or unsettled. It's yours.

rituals home practice|yogi surprise

Developing Rituals to Enhance Your Home Yoga Practice

Spend a few moments describing your personal yoga practice to yourself. Write it down if you're game for that. Or do this exercise with a friend. What are the non-negotiables? Do you absolutely require a mat and bolster? Inside or outside? Do you bathe first? Is time of day important? Our personal practice gets to be all about us and the rituals we involve are what make it both special and consistent.

A friend of mine practices every day at 6:24 a.m. This is the time she was born, so she practices at that time to remind herself that she is, every day, again reborn and the world of opportunity and exploration lay in adventurous wait for her.

Rituals keep us grounded and connected. They shape our sense of self and honor our singular perspective on the world 

 
Rituals can be actions you take or involve touchstones and symbols. I have a regular student who comes to class twenty minutes early so she can claim her spot and set up crystals at all four corners of her mat. One rose quartz to remind her to be loving. One green jade to help her focus and build mental strength. One citrine for self-confidence and one malachite for courage. She meditates as others filter in, ignoring the noise and bustle to prepare herself for the journey she's about to embark on.

Rituals can bring your yoga practice to the next level 

 
They give everything just a little bit more texture and meaning. Say, for instance, you and your kids walk up to the local bagel shop to buy breakfast every Sunday morning. The owners know your order by heart, and it's a ritual within itself to take this walk together every Sunday for sustenance. Adding in a few rituals on the walk can give this practice even more meaning. Stopping to play with a neighbor's dog, naming the trees and thanking them for existing, or even playing a word game contribute so much to what could be a routine walk to and fro.
When we practice with intention and go the extra steps to cultivate meaning into our every action, we discover uncharted territory each and every time we come to our proverbial mat.

Where to start? 

 
Start by developing a 'Let's Begin' ritual. If you plan to practice in the morning, choose something you do immediately upon waking up. Perhaps you write down your gratitude list. Or maybe you dry brush and lather in sesame oil, and then cleanse. Enjoy and combining that ritual while practicing the niyama of saucha, purity is an incredible way to place yourself in the frame of mind to be the most receptive version of yourself.
You could choose to do a guided meditation or mudra practice. Choosing rituals that speak to your heart will provide you with a consistent way to signal to your brain that it's practice time and it's the priority. Rituals are a form of self-care. Take the time to take care of you.

Maintenance

In combination with your let's begin ritual, choosing a specific place to practice helps too. Setting up a practice space in your home by creating an altar for yourself is a lovely way to encourage your continued practice each and every time you encounter that space. If you have the luxury of an entire room available to you, foster the ambiance with candles, essential oils and incense, props, and perhaps a book from which you can go to any passage for inspiration.
Three books to consider:  The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Fire of Loveby world-renowned yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala, and Pema Chodron's  Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living.  You really can't go wrong with any of Pema's books.
If you love practicing outside when the weather allows, identify an alternate space that feels harmonious and conducive to your practice. You can travel there with your touchstones for continuity. The old saying, 'Wherever you go, there you are' comes to mind. Bring your you-ness no matter where you choose to practice.
Writing this has inspired me to further develop new rituals of my own. Just like us, the practice morphs constantly. But rituals remind us of the pillars and tenants that will always be near and so very dear to our hearts.