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Know that these mala beads are made by a Vet with PTSD in hopes of bringing awareness to and raising money for other Vets...with or without PTSD. Money raised through the Mala for Vets iniative supports Veterans Yoga missions like Mindful Yoga Therapy, VETOGA, Connected Warriors, Warriors Ascent, The Sparta Project and the Give Back Yoga Foundation.

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MalaforVets Blog

Follow the Pursuit of Compassion.

Filtering by Category: "Mindful Yoga Therapy"

I've Got 9/10ths Issues...and Suffering Is One of Them

Chris Eder

I love the saying possession is 9/10ths the law. It basically breaks down to custody equals ownership. In a court of law the phrase is a rebuttable presumption: ownership is recognized unless disproved by someone holding a more valid claim. In other words, if I see you driving a new car, I would believe that it is yours. I mean maybe you’re renting it…but the time I saw you driving in it…it is my perception that it was yours! If my eyes see ‘it’ (perception) and you have ‘it’ which I see…then it’s yours!  Right? Maybe I see you and you look like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. That must be heavy. What about when we see ourselves and we ‘feel?’ I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world…it sure is heavy! I just can’t seem to shake whatever it is that is bothering me…it is really getting the best of me. I am sad!

Chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras is about the ‘process of practice’ and how suffering is related to perception, which is connected to karma, which is connected to cause and effect. Well, physics is also about cause and effect. So I guess if you can’t understand karma, maybe you can understand physics. If you can’t understand physics…then I suppose it’s back to the yoga mat for more reflection.

Going back to possession and how it’s 9/10ths the law. That is wholly based on perception. In other words, someone has to physically see you with something in order to proclaim you in fact have whatever it is they physically see. So if you and I can physically see someone in possession of something, we can easily assume to the degree of 9/10ths or roughly 90% accuracy that the person owns whatever it is. What if we can’t see it? What if it’s not tangible, or as described in the Yoga Sutras, undifferentiated…meaning it is invisible? Then what? How are these variables or perhaps citta-vritti related?

In physics cause and effect relationships are categorized by how the variables (citta-vritti) relate to each other. There are two main relationships: direct and inverse. When you turn the heater on, it gets warm. That is a direct relationship. Magnets are great examples of an inverse relationship because as you increase the distance between two charged magnets, you decrease the force of attraction or repulsion. In physics…you can well physically see these things happen. If you’re really smart you might even be able to come up with a regression formula that mathematically proves the direct and inverse relationships.

In life…we often can’t physically see things. When someone says that you look like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, they don’t physically see the entire world on your shoulders. At least I hope they don’t. When you are sad, depressed, anxious etc…you don’t physically see what is causing you to feel this way. Rather you perceive yourself to be….fill in the blank. These feelings are however related karma, which is related to cause and effect…and we know that physics is also related to cause and effect. Public math…if possession is 9/10ths of the law…that is to say that I physically see you with something (direct relationship) then if I can’t see something (vitta-vritti), but I perceive there must be something causing this current level of discomfort, might it be safe to say that if I can’t see it, then it must be inversely proportional to that what I can see? For the sake of easy math…and not subject to debate, let’s say it’s 1/10th. If we accept this genius mathematical assumption, then I can then break down chapter 2 of the Yoga Sutras by saying that the cause of all suffering is based on 1/10th of reality.

Pantanjali suggests not seeing things as they are as the cause of ALL suffering. Call it false perception, or misperception, on a scientific level, if you can’t see it, then how accurate can your perceptions really be? Sadly, it doesn’t matter. Back to physics again…Newton's first law of motion - sometimes referred to as the law of inertia states, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Suffering seeks to remain in the state of suffering, much like an object in motion stays in motion. In physics it takes an unbalanced force (action) to change the direction of motion. In life, it takes skillful action to change the suffering.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re with a bunch of positive happy people, you’re happy and positive…but when you’re surrounded by sullen and sad people you tend to (eventually unless you leave) to get soar and depressed? Yeah…kind of like Newton’s Law, or Pantanjali’s ‘process of practice.’ The core of Pantanjali’s ‘process of practice,’ is the yogic skill of discrimination, or as he calls it, viveka. Much like Newton’s Law of motion, in order to change the direction of suffering, you will need to put in some continual effort (action/unbalanced force) and practice.

Here’s where it gets tricky. This continual effort you’ll be applying is really no effort at all! Let me explain. My yoga teacher Rolf Gates often says, “Going after something usually results in crisis. Things don’t come up when you want fix them…they come up when you’re ready to fix them! When you have enough bandwidth to focus.” Confused? Well, remember nothing worth doing is every easy, however, I might be able to make all of this karma-slash-physics-slash-Newton-random Sanskrit word all make sense.

The art of discrimination, this yogic skill, or viveka needs to start somewhere. Much like a seed you plant, you must water, nurture, refine, and then harvest…repeat. In order to create an environment where your viveka seeds will grow (gain momentum/create an unbalanced force) we will need some tools. Theories and calculators are very popular tools in physics. Together they provide a framework of accepted results and a manner in which to calculate the result. Pantanali offers something very similar. He has 10 theories broken down into five things you should not do and five things you should do. Instead of a calculator, Pantanjali offers compassion.

You may of heard of Pantanjali’s 10 theories, more commonly known as the Yamas (the do not’s) and Niyamas (the do’s.)  They represent the first two arms of a bigger formula for success called the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Here is a quick breakdown of them:

Yamas - the five restraints or the "don'ts"

  1. Ahimsa - Non-violence

  2. Satya - Truthfulness

  3. Brahmacharya - Control of the senses and celibacy

  4. Asteya - Non-stealing

  5. Aparigraha - Non-covetousness and non-acceptance of gifts

Niyamas - the five observances or the "do's"

  1. Saucha - Purity, cleanliness

  2. Santosha - Contentment

  3. Tapas - Austerity

  4. Swadhyaya - Self-study, study of scriptures

  5. Ishwara Pranidhana - Surrender to God's will

These are tools of the trade. When applied on a consistent basis (viveka) they will begin to work in concert with your power of reason. Sort of like some kind of Jedi-mind trick. In short, collectively the Yamas and Niyamas begin to create momentum where as you will begin to move from judging to noticing…from unskillful means of living to skillful means…from reacting from a place of false perception to integrating compassion in a non-reactive gentle way.

Still confused? OK…let me try and bring it all home by using yet another adage. I always chuckle a little when someone brings up either in a direct way or indirect way about how the grass is always greener on the other side. It comes up when people are leaving a job they no longer like (or got fired from) and are headed to a new one…or many different ways…you get my jest. I have found over the years, the grass is rarely greener on the other side. However, in some cases…it has been truly greener. Want to know why? In a word…VIVEKA! In normal words…because that person has tended to his grass…watered it, nurtured it and cultivated it in order to keep it from browning. Sure does sound a lot like Newton’s Law and Pantanjali’s ‘process of practice.’

If we are able to recognize when we are suffering because of false perceptions (know when to water the grass) and instead of judging the sensations, apply yogic skill (recognizing when to cut the grass), we will eventually be able to identify some sort of cause and effect (water makes grass green…weeds kill grass). From here all we have to do is apply the Yamas and Niyams (fertilize and remove any weeds) on a consistent basis. If you plant good seeds…you’ll get good fruit. If you cultivate compassion…you’ll get profound stillness and peace. However, if you still want to cultivate false perceptions…you will forever be seeking green grass elsewhere when the most amazingly lush grass is well within your reach.


Pursuit of Compassion - New Year's Eve

Chris Eder

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Happy New Year's Eve!  I'd like to be the first to welcome you to 2014 albeit a few hours early.  As 2013 draws to a close and 2014 is right on its tail...surely most of us are looking back on 2013...and possibly more importantly (at this moment) looking forward to 2014.  Why do we do this?  What is so significant about this one day? 

Many of you have already created (some months ago even) your New Year's Resolutions. Even the news outlets are jumping in on this tradition.  Don't get me wrong...these resolutions normally are a 'good thing' IE: Lose weight, stop smoking, eat better...these just make sense.  Right?  Nothing wrong with being healthy.  A deeper look into the meaning of the word...or the possible root reason of why we make resolutions and things begin to clear up.

A resolution is about resolving something that is wrong. If we think we are less than perfect...We will fail! An intention is about creating something new, fun and good. In addition to our best qualities.  ❤️ - Suzanne Manafort (Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans with PTS)

So this year...I will not make a resolution, rather I will set an intention.  In my case...a year long intention...hopefully longer...no judgement!  I intend to be more compassionate!  At first glance, you might think that making an intetion like this sounds a whole lot like a resolution.

  • Do I think there is something wrong with me?  No!  However, I know that my body has been beaten up with this nasty thing called P.T.S.
  • Do I think I'm less than perfect?  No!  However, I know how often I sit in my corner doing nothing but avoiding what needs to be done.
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I am compassionate...just not as compassionate as I use to be.  Thus, I intend to be more compassionate...thus...Pursuit of Compassion.

Throughout the year, I will post about my pursuit.  Several of my friends who work in the field of Yoga, Meditation, Physchology, Social Work, and Care Providers will share with us their take on compassion too! I will blog, post pictures, write poems, make t-shirts, make

mala beads

!  Just about anything and everything. I hope you will join me!  BTW...I'm already practicing compassion...as I was planning on having a new logo and graphics pacakge for this....and as of today...I don't have it.  I'll be OK!

Another fresh new year is here . . .

Another year to live!

To banish worry, doubt, and fear,

To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me

To live each day with zest . . .

To daily grow and try to be

My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity

Once more to right some wrongs,

To pray for peace, to plant a tree,

And sing more joyful songs!

- William Arthur Ward

Naughty or Nice Update!

Chris Eder

ONLY FOUR MORE DAYS!

Have you been Naughty or Nice this year?  Tell us what list you're on...and why for your chance to win a Rudraksha Mala bead...plus it is just kind of fun.  ALSO...sign up for our monthly newsletter for coupon codes for discounts, articles about Yoga, Veterans, and mala beads...plus future give-a-ways.

As you can see by my picture...I might just be on the Naughty list...however, I try to make up for it with my SEVA projects.  Fingers crossed.

If you have some time...check out our latest mala beads available now!

MALA of the DAY - Nov 21, 2013 : Buddha Balance Wrist Mala

Chris Eder

BUDDHA BALANCE WRIST MALA

8mm Sandalwood beads and African recycled glass center-bead.  This wrist mala also has two malachite Buddha beads. Sandalwood beads are protective and promote a spiritual awareness when worn.  Malachite clears and activates the chakras and attunes to spiritual guidance.

Sponsor A Warrior NOW!


MALA of the DAY - 20 Nov 2013 : GOAL ACHIEVMENT MALA

Chris Eder

GOAL ACHIeVMENT MALA

8mm Grey Feldspar and Amazonite beads with a recycled African glass guru bead and large Tierracast OM pendant.
Feldspar helps us to find unconventional and exciting ways to reach our goals.  It supports us in issues relating to self-awareness and self-love. Feldspar assists in finding misplaced items; it is a stone of creativity and is good for Astral travel. Any piece of Feldspar is useful if you are consciously developing your psychic or intuitive powers and it seems to be most effective if you work with the stone regularly while following a course of psychic exercises or meditation lessons. Feldspar helps us to find unconventional and exciting ways to reach our goals.  It supports us in issues relating to self-awareness and self-love. 

Don't forget...ALL November long you can sponsor a Warrior Mala and be entered into a drawing to win a Support Precedes Action Mala.


Day 19...I'm THANKFUL FOR YOU!

Chris Eder

10 months ago I started up MalaforVets as a way to help raise awareness for Veterans with PTSD.  I too suffer from this ugly-faced disease.  Making mala beads helps calm and center me.  The focus and attention to detail allow me to escape my thoughts.  Little did I know that I would be creating powerful and meaningful mala beads for people not just in the US...but across the globe. (Australia, UK, Netherlands, Japan)


The Warrior Mala bead has been by far my most popular mala bead thanks to Save A Warrior and Mindful Yoga Therapy. I've made about 80 of these...and counting. (See Veterans Day Fundraiser....ALL NOVEMBER LONG!) I hope to be over 100 by the end of the year...Maybe you will help!  These mala beads protect the user from all negative emotions, and reduces energy over rage, resentment, bad tempers, and anger in self and from others. It helps one banish sorrow or depression. Grounds energy and attention into the present. Increases physical energy, confidence, assertiveness, appetite, awareness of feelings, emotional warmth, sociability, compassion, individuality, and memory. The wood beads are very grounding. Rudraksha balances the ying and yang and to help increase tranquility.  All qualities Warriors with or without PTSD need.




BUT...what I am most thankful for...is...YOU!  Everyone who has purchased a mala bead for themselves...sent one to a loved one as a gift...sponsored a Warrior...or shared a link I have posted.  THANK YOU! 

To show my thanks, I want to give you a code for 20% off your next purchase.  Send me a picture of you and your mala beads and a short explanation of what your mala beads mean to you.  If you don't have any of my mala beads...check out the site.  I try to make five or so new mala beads each week.






MALA of the DAY - Nov 19th: Balanced Harmony Mala

Chris Eder


BALANCED HARMONY MALA

8mm Italian Onyx with 10mm Riverstone spacers. This mala is finished off with a beautiful brass pendant with a spiral inlay.
Onyx is protective stone.  It promotes vigor, steadfastness and stamina. Its good for general happiness and prosperity. It is a strength - giving stone, aiding confidence and useful for people under stress. Its energy is a mental tonic and can help you cope with fears, stress and worries, making you feeling in harmony with your surroundings.  Riverstone balances the yin and yang energies.
The Spiral, which is the oldest symbol known to be used in spiritual practices, reflects the universal pattern of growth and evolution. Using this symbol assures all beings are reminded of their inward and outward evolution, a balanced and centered state of mind.
BUY NOW!
Don't forget about the November Fundraiser

MALA of the DAY - Steadfast 108 Mala

Chris Eder

STEADFAST MALA

8x10mm oval faceted Carnelian beads with recycled African glass and tassel.  Carnelian gives courage, promotes positive life choices, dispels apathy and motivates for success.  Carnelian is useful for overcoming abuse of any kind.  It overcomes negative conditioning and encourages steadfastness.  It sharpens concentration, protects against envy, rage and resentment.  Carnelian boosts fertility and stimulates sexuality.

Veterans Day Fundraiser....ALL NOVEMBER LONG!

Chris Eder

I am a VETERAN OWNED BUSINESS!  I'm small...just one of me!  But my intentions are HUGE!  I make handcrafted mala beads with one goal in mind.  To RAISE AWARENESS about the horrible side-effect of war called PTS.  I have several seva projects, but my most popular is the Warrior Mala Bead.  That is why I have combined it with my two favorite non-profit organizations.  One of which is Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans (MYT).  MYT currently has a nation-wide call to action to help them raise money to pay for their "tool-kit."  So far MYT has sent out more than 10,000 of these books to Veterans around the globe. They have a goal of sending 30.000 by 2014.  That is where you come in!

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO GIVE AND RECEIVE ALL AT THE SAME TIME?

Well...now you can! Through out the entire month of November I will donate $5 for every Warrior Mala you sponsor ($15) to MYT.  Additionally, I will send these Warrior Malas to Veterans currently in one of the MYT affiliate Yoga for Vets programs, or in-resident programs.  My goal is to find 50 sponsors.  FYI...you too can hold a fundraiser for MYT this Veterans Day.




But that is just the half of it!  IF you GIVE...then you will also...RECIEVE!  For every Warrior Mala you sponsor, I will put your name into a drawing to win the MYT Exclusive mala, the Support Precedes Action Mala.  This is an amazing mala that I think really captures the essence of what both MalaforVets and MYT is all about.  8mm Obsidian beads make up the majority of this powerful mala. It has six 8mm Grey Ice Flake Quartz beads and three 8mm Orange Ice Flake Quartz beads as spacers. This mala is finished off with a 10mm Unakite guru bead, 6mm Sandalwood bead and an antiqued silver-finished pewter Ganesha pendant.

SUPPORT: Obsidian is a very supportive and protective stone, it forms a shield against negativity. It absorbs negative energies from the environment. It stimulates growth on all levels, urging exploration of the unknown and opening new horizons. Brings clarity to the mind and clears confusion. Unakite adds to the “supportive” nature of this mala by providing grounding when needed. 
ACTION: Unakite is also excellent at removing obstacles to your personal growth. Meditations with this gemstone will aid in releasing pain and anger that you are having trouble letting go of. Quartz can amplify both positive thoughts and energy and can stimulate positive action when it is needed. They can strengthen your ability to be a loving person, and can enhance your abilities to enjoy life and accomplish the things you want in life. Ganesha will help you take positive action as he is widely known as the “Remover of Obstacles,” and “Lord of Success.” Additionally, Ganesh is also the “Giver of Success” and is associated with general abundance in life. 
I hope you will consider sponsoring a Warrior in support of this Veterans Day fundraiser.  I would also be very honored and humbled if you shared the above infographic in hopes to draw more awareness to this Seva Project....Namaste - Chris.