Music Monday: Tyrone

The past few Mondays I have explored the Yamas and how I am integrating them into my life, both on and off the mat. I hosted an extremely, soulful Intro to the Chakras workshop over the weekend and made some amazing connections with other yogis on a journey through the rainbow bridge. I visited a new yoga studio over the weekend. I moved, meditated and sat in stillness through a dharma talk.

I love exploring my spiritual side and sometimes, that includes some soul. Sometimes, that means drawing boundaries and telling some fools to move on, but with soul.

No one knows how to do that better than my girl Badu. Enjoy one of my favorite karaoke jams.

Free Book Give Away!! Signed Copy of Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It

Hi everyone!! Spiritual Bahana is giving away a free autographed copy of Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It signed by yours truly, Eduardo Martinez.

For those of you who don’t know, last summer I entered an essay writing contest by the acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert. Liz Gilbert is a New York Times best selling author who’s inspired millions of women and men to look at their lives and change them for the better. Since its release in 2006, over 10 million copies have been sold and it established her as a world famous writer. Eat Pray Love sold over 10 million copies ever since its first release in 2006. Her story of self discovery was also made into a movie directed by Ryan Murphy, the creator of American Horror Story and most recently The People Vs. Oj Simpson.

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It is a collection of essays written by fans from around the world who were inspired to go on their own spiritual quest after reading the book. Although I didn’t travel around the world to find myself, I believe you’ll find my simple story of hard work and determination just as inspiring.

The book and author were also featured on Good Morning America:

You have mutliple chances to win! You can enter by:

  1. Leaving a blog comment lettings us know what you thought of Eat Pray Love.
  2. Following Spiritual Bahana on WordPress (click “follow” on the sidebar—>).
  3. Follow @spiritualbahana on Instagram.

You can chose one or all options for multiple entries. The contest begins today and will run through midnight on Sunday, 5/15. The winner will be announced on Monday, 5/16.

Please click on the link below to log your entries. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Creating Your Own Religion Through Music

I have always found a spiritual experience through music. I think many people can relate to being taken to another realm through a certain rift, beat or lyric.

If music has been a part of my religion, then Michael Jackson and Prince were my deities.

I cannot remember a time when I did not love them both. I danced to their songs while “cruising” around with my cousin in her Honda when she would baby-sit me. I tried to learn the Thriller dance and was entranced by Purple Rain. You know all of this. I don’t have to tell you how amazing they both are. Were. Ouch.

I was inconsolable when Michael passed. I don’t remember ever crying so hard over a celebrity. I watched his funeral live on TV and sobbed. My sisters and I did a photo shoot because we needed to work through our pain. I wore my Michael Jackson button for days. There are still moments that I have to stop and remind myself that he is gone and I realize how terribly unfair it is.

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My life’s dream of seeing MJ live was dashed and I vowed I would see Prince. I would not let that opportunity slip by like I had with MJ.

I saw Prince multiple times after MJ’s passing. I had purple stars in my eyes the whole time. I was wrapped up in his amazing energy. He lit up the entire stage with his many hits and would play encore after encore, sometimes hours apart. He was worth the wait and I could not believe how good he still moved.

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And now, well….it’s hard to say. It’s hard to process. You know this.

How does a religion exist when the founders are gone? Who can run the church of funk without it’s heart and soul? I don’t see much up and coming hope, but maybe I am wrong?

For now, I will hold on to the memories and hits. Thankfully, we were blessed with many.

Hot Butterfly and the Solar Plexus

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always had stomach issues.  The area that starts from the end of my rib cage to the beginning of the pelvic area, has always been a sensitive part of my body. When I was a baby, mom said she had to help me move things along during my bowl movements. When I was in elementary school, I use to obsess over belly pains which were more made up than factual.

As an adult, I continue to have stomach issues which now manifests itself as painful bloating.  Sometimes when I’m at work, I find myself trying to escape so that I can run to the restroom and message away the gas.  A weak stomach has always been part of my dad’s side of the family.  It was something that was accepted and maintained by my relatives who suffered from the same thing.

Spiritually, I believe there are deeper generational issues which are the root cause for the discomfort.  In referencing the book, Chakras For Beginners I’m finding that a lot of the issues come from a lack of self control and self esteem.  I can relate to this because discipline has always been something I’ve struggled with.  Like most people, there are certain things I love to over indulge in without limits.  I allow myself to plunge deep into the pool of self gratification until I get so tired of something I have to leave it.  It’s something I need to work on in my personal life.

One of the ways I’ve been approaching the healing of solar plexus is by asking Spirit to lead me to places or events that will force me to focus on it.  I’ve found that at work I struggle with this area the most.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to feel confident and assertive over decisions I’ve made.  When I find myself in those situations, I remember to pause for a moment, and remember that now is an opportunity to heal this area.

I’ve also been asking Angelina to give me some ideas on Yoga moves that would help stretch out my stomach.  I don’t expect the problem will disappear any time soon, but at least I’m gaining insight into a part of my body that needs some attention.

In the mean time, Chakras continue to remind me of Chaka Khan.  I dedicate this next post to all the butterfly’s who suffer from a soft solar plexus.

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Music Monday: Theme Song of 2016

I like to start off my year by picking a theme song. Along with setting my intentions for the year, I like to choose a song as a personal ballad to play through my head as I move towards my intentions.

This year, I intend to move towards more intensity in various areas of my life. I have treated myself with a lot of care, softness and healing in the past year, because I needed it. I still reserve my right to use these methods when I need to, but I feel ready to move on and turn up the heat in my life.

In 2016, I want to sing more in my car.

I want to push myself more in my workouts.

I want to go to more hot yoga classes.

I want to say yes more, but still assert my right to say no.

I want to make the most out of my time alone in the mornings.

I want to read both for fun and for knowledge.

I want to become a better yoga teacher.

I want to infuse passion into my career.

I want to strengthen my personal relationships and move them past the point of shallow conversations. I want less pleasantries and more honesty. I want to decrease any conversations based on toxicity or negativity.

I want to stop relying on negative coping mechanisms and be brave enough to cope honestly with my issues and stress.

As I reflected back on my favorite books of 2015, I realized I was gravitating towards women who garnered their strength from vulnerability and honesty. I spent the past few years opening up, finding peace with my own vulnerability and decreasing my shame in my own perceived “weaknesses.” I feel ready to now emerge into the strength and embody the lessons I have learned from the hurtful moments of my life.

The song that will rally me along is Fleetwood Mac’s “Golddust Woman.” Partly because I want to picture myself as Stevie Nicks wearing this super fun hat:

super fun hat But mostly, because I interpret this song about a woman who is not to be messed with, a woman who will not be stopped or driven off her path. A woman who rocks on and does not fall in line to anyone’s limitations of her.

Rock on, gold dust woman will be pumping through my veins when I do not want to go to the gym, when I would rather sleep in or when I want to hide from myself. I am ready to embrace my strength and be brave.

What is your song for 2016?

Ain’t Nobody Gonna Tell Me I’m Not An Animal

As I continue my exploration of the seven chakras, I’d like to reflect on the hazards of religion and the Sacral chakra; also known as the second chakra.

First of all, I believe having a religion or a belief system is important in the formative years of life.  One thing religion has always done is given me a structure and a sense of security when life becomes too much.  But there’s one aspect of religion I’m a little skeptical of and that’s heaven.  I use to believe in it; but when I realized how it played into my ego by cataloging and charting all my good deeds, I started to question the concept.

One of the tenants of religion is to deny the body.  The body and its desires are not to be trusted and can only lead to sin and ultimately eternal damnation.  Where is the natural human tendency of making mistakes, learning from them and doing better next time?  Many of the great saints purged their bodies by inflicting pain on themselves in order to purify their mental as well as physical state of natural sin.  I see this action as a way of getting rid of the problem all together rather than embracing the process of being a flawed human.

Girl World and Embracing Animal Instincts

As I release the old religious thought that has held me in bondage for such a long time, I’m replacing those old thought patterns with new ideas from the pagan world.  One of the best worldly examples I can relate to is a clip from Mean Girls:

Human beings are animals.  The Sacral chakra is all about tending to the natural animal instinct that is embedded in human DNA.  I don’t care what argument I hear to the contrary, if you hang out in a zoo long enough – especially during feeding time – there are a lot of similarities between the trough and the food court at any local mall.  I’ve been learning to embrace the animal side rather than subdue it and act like it isn’t there.

I’m learning about personal responsibility and the regular habit of checking in with myself if I ever feel out of balance; if I’m feeling too power hungry or manipulative I know it’s time to step back.  On the flip side, if I’m wallowing in guilt, overly concerned about what people think or feeling lost, than I know my sacral is under active.

It all goes back to what I wrote about earlier: reality starts from inside and what ever is going on inside of me will get projected onto the outside world.  As of right now, I feel like Chaka Khan and I’m singing to the world – ain’t nobody gonna tell me how to feel.

Music Monday: The Holiday Edition

The only thing I dislike more than Christmas is Christmas music.

I hold a special, dark place in my heart for the disdain that I hold towards everything Christmas has come to represent; guilt, obligation, consumption, greed, shopping, waste and gluttony.

And the music….well, I can see the appeal to some of traditional songs, but I detest more than anything when the latest pop star has released their holiday album with ruined versions of previous favorites.

I worked my way through college in a retail setting and was subjected to long shifts filled with certain CDs of torture set to repeat. It only increased my distaste.

But, there is one, and only one song, that I love.

The small, dark place in my heart that hates Christmas is eclipsed by a day glow bright place saved just for George Michael.

I have always loved Georgics Panayiotou. His music is simultaneously silly and brilliant. I have tried to sing “Careless Whisper” at karaoke and it only increased my respect for his talent. I completely ruined the song, in case you were wondering.

I worried about him through all the falling asleep behind the wheel and ensuing arrest madness. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when he entered rehab. I hope he emerges healthy and refreshed and will tour again. I must see him live one day.

Wham!’s “Last Christmas” depicts a holiday I could stand behind. If the holiday was truly about feathered hair mullets, laughing sweatered friends, snowball fights, sparklers on cakes and sparkling flower broaches, then maybe I would like it.

I love all the drama packed into this song. The stolen awkward glances and forlorn longing make it even better. The best part is probably seeing a man who is clearly not interested in women, pretend to be upset about losing one.

There is nothing not to love about this song, except the shameful covers by pop princess Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande. When I heard those versions, I wanted to pat them on the forehead and say, that was cute, but STOP!

Please enjoy the one true version of this song and do yourself a favor by watching the whole video!