Graceful Warrior: The Potential in a Seed Can Harvest a Bountiful Life

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I spent the afternoon yesterday at Big Heart Ranch volunteering in the garden. I hadn’t been out there since last summer, and it was so wonderful to have my hands in the earth again. While planting some seeds (gotta love California, where seeds will grow and bear fruit even when planted in late July!), I learned that the cantaloupe running along the back of the garden was planted from seeds from last year’s cantaloupe crop. We got to talking about the power and potential in just one seed. It’s amazing that a single cantaloupe produces hundreds of seeds and those hundreds of seeds can produce several hundred to a thousand cantaloupes the next season. All that is required is some good dirt, some water and the sun. I’m so glad that even in this fast moving, gadget focused society, we are getting back to our “roots.” Programs like Elsa Inc.’s Unplugged Youth Adventure at Big Heart Ranch that introduces kids to nature and animals, and the Teaching Garden where school kids (and parents and teachers) learn about gardening and nutrition are sprouting all across the nation. I was just visiting family in Texas and got to peak into friend’s neighbor’s garden that included tomatoes, peppers, okra, strawberries, chickens and a hive of bees. I was so excited about what all he was doing in his (relatively) small semi-urban backyard. Everything we think, say and do has the potential to create more good, healing, love and hope in this world; on the flip side, it also has the potential to do more harm. If we start to think about our actions and intentions as seeds that bear fruit and flourish (one way or the other), everything we do becomes more important, more worthy of our awareness. Sadly, most new products and entertainment is created so that we can be less connected, less aware of our own feelings, thoughts and habits. So my challenge to you this week is to slow down and consider what seeds you are planting and what is being created from them, then think about one or several ways you can plant seeds that change this world for the better. Just a tip, those seeds always involve connecting with others or the earth and the good news is they tend to produce the most positive change inside you! Here is a quick mudra (hand gesture) and visualization you can do every morning for 5 – 15 minutes to remove waste and toxins from your body, balance your mind and tackle shaping your visions of the future: Apan Mudra – with each hand, place the thumb, middle and ring fingers together while extending the index and pinky fingers. Visualization – imagine you are sitting in a beautiful, richly blossoming garden, observing the mystery of nature: how a seed germinates, the plant grows and blooms. Now, in an empty bed, plant something that should bear rich fruits in your life (a conversation, a relationship, a project, etc). Imagine how it sprouts, continues to develop, blossoms and bears rich fruit and who will benefit from its fruits. End the visualization with a big thank you. Affirmation – I plant my seeds, care for them, and receive a rich harvest – with God’s help – that I thankfully accept.

About Gina Shelton

We live in a dualistic world, or really a multi-istic one. As a woman, you are expected to be smart, caring, creative, and dedicated at your job, with your significant other and your family, plus you are supposed to make time for yourself in order to stay healthy and sane. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start thinking of all the aspects of your life that you are constantly juggling.

For me, this is where yoga comes in. In the West, we mostly view yoga as a physical practice and that is definitely how I got into it. But what I’ve realized in my 10+ years of practicing yoga, is that it has become more than just something I do to stay in shape, it has changed the way I view myself and the world and consequently how I interact with others.

Over the years, yoga has helped me meal my crumbling marriage, my low back and hip pain deemed chronic by my insurance company, and is now supporting me through my next ventures: trying to start a business and a family.

My love of yoga (I knew it was for me in my very first class), led me to begin training to teach after a year. I took my time learning all I could and finally became a YOGA ALLIANCE registered teacher in 2005. Since then, I have become a certified yoga therapist through Loyola Marymount University’s Yoga Therapy program and will soon have my Yoga Alliance 500-hour teacher certification.

This blog will cover topics related to yoga poses and breath awareness that will help you to find the graceful warrior hidden inside you: Strength to manage the everyday stresses in your life as you gracefully create new habits and patterns that allow you to find comfort, health and hope in all areas of your life.

Gina Shelton is a Yoga Alliance registered teacher and Loyola Marymount University certified yoga therapist. She lives in Venice, CA with her husband and weimeraner puppy Fleur. You can read more about creating a healthy lifestyle on her blog