Manta Magic

Yesterday I had an experience many people dream of. I swam with 17 giant Manta Rays.

Blessed by the Manta Magic
Blessed by the Manta Magic

One of my closest friends on this island is a dive master from the mainland of Portugal. She knew it was a dream of mine to see the Manta Rays, so she invited me to join their dive group and go explore under the sea.

I had no idea what to expect, or where we were going. I knew it was possible we wouldn’t see any Manta Rays at all. But if we didn’t see any, it would be fine. I was along for the ride. Which was beyond beautiful. 

We left the harbor at about 9:30am and headed out to our first dive spot, a place called ‘Joao Lopes’. There were 3 of us snorkeling (I took a dive certification course years ago, but because of ear problems, I cannot dive), the rest of the group was diving. This spot, about a mile offshore, was deep but we could still see the bottom. I swam around, looking at fish and trying to stay close to the boat, when I spotted my first Manta Ray. It was really incredible. She was huge! She swam near me, then past me. I swam as fast as I could, trying to follow as the graceful giant flew through the water.

We passed a fishing boat on our way to Ambrosio
We passed a fishing boat on our way to Ambrosio

I was smiling, feeling happy and peaceful when we headed to the next spot. A famous dive spot called ‘Ambrosio’. This spot is three miles offshore and in very deep water. Very deep, very blue.  At 45 meters deep (about 150 feet) even the divers did not go to the bottom.

The Beautiful Island of Santa Maria at a Distance
The Beautiful Island of Santa Maria at a Distance

The captain of the boat spotted them first, he stopped the boat and said quietly “Tiffany, get in the water right now, nice and slow” and as soon as I did, I was surrounded  by Manta Rays. They were swimming in a beautiful spiral formation. I was literally inside their magical circle.

Manta Rays in The Azores
Manta Rays in The Azores
A friendship blessed by the Mantas
A friendship blessed by the Mantas
Snorkeling with Mantas Azores
Snorkeling with Mantas Azores

I was quiet on the boat ride back to the harbor. I felt a little seasick, but mostly I was just in awe, speechless. Nature.  So much magnificence.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ” – Albert Einstein

Adventure ~Tiff

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Therapy For The Crown Chakra

The Crown Chakra- The Sahasrara

Half Lotus with Gyan Mudra, Helps Stimulate  The Crown Chakra
Half Lotus with Gyan Mudra, Helps Stimulate The Crown Chakra

Crown Chakra Energy: This Chakra is associated with Spiritualism and enlightenment. The link between individual consciousness and Universal consciousness.

Color:White or Violet

Element: Inner Light,Divine Energy, Spirit

Location: The Crown Chakra is located right above the top of the head.

Bija Seed Sound: Om

Yoga Asanas For Crown Chakra: Meditative poses, such as; Ardha Padmasana or Padmasana-Lotus or Half Lotus, Easy Pose-Sukhasana.  Also Crown to Earth poses,such as; Headstand-Sirsasana and Prasarita Padottanasana-Wide Legged Forward Fold, and more…

Gyan Mudra:  In this mudra, the index finger, which represents the individual soul, connects with the thumb, which represents the Supreme or the Collective Soul. The individual dissolves or merges into the collective.

Prasarita Padottanasana-Crown Touching Earth-Honor Our Connection
Prasarita Padottanasana-Crown Touching Earth-Honor Our Connection

 

 

Foods That support Crown Chakra: Sattvic foods. Fruits, Vegetables, and seeds. Foods in their pure, natural state. This Chakra does not get “fed” the way the other chakras do. However, health and balance in the entire energetic system is essential for an open and balanced Crown Chakra.

Crown Chakra Affirmation: “I am open and divinely guided to enlightenment.”

Visualization:Begin in a seated position, close your eyes, and visualize white light at the Crown Chakra. Visualize and feel that energy entering the body and purifying every cell. Breathe deeply. And when you feel properly purified, visualize golden light at the crown. This light is recharging you with positive energy. The light is blessing the body, speech, and consciousness. My spiritual guide and teacher, Lama Geshela Tenzing Tamding,  taught me this simple but powerful exercise many years ago. 

 

My first experience with the crown chakra, that I remember, was nearly 13 years ago. I was living in Hawaii, getting my Reiki I attunements from a powerful Hawaiian Reiki Master. I was seated, and she was giving me the attunements, and I felt and heard cracking at the top of my head. It was strange and intense. That sensation gave way to a sweet, heavy, honey like energy, and I suddenly was in a state of pure bliss.

Wishing us all healing, guidance, and balance from Root to Crown.

Tapping into Cosmic Consciousness-Tiff

 

 

When Your Son Asks For a Dog…

If you know my teenage son, you know he is not a “normal” kid. Just looking into his huge eyes, it is clear to see a wisdom few of us possess. Marlin definitely has a strange sort of magic. He is an old soul. He seems to be good at everything he does, (well except soccer haha). Anyways, in addition to his singing, acting, and visual art, My son has a strange and strong connection to animals. In fact he used to want to change his last name to “Animal.” His email address also reflects his animal love. He honestly has a sixth sense when it comes to animals in distress.

Last summer, he just happened to find and rescue two very confused Cory shearwaters, endangered birds, who frequent the Azores.

Lately he has been asking to get a dog. He misses our dog that died last year, but he feels ready to get a new one. He really wants a dog.

Our recent conversations have been like this, Marlin asks, “Mom, can we get a dog?” I respond, “Not right now.” He continues, “But please mom, it is all I want. I just want a dog!! I will take care of it.” I respond, “Yes, I know, but we have to wait. We are not getting a dog right now.” With exaggerated desperation, He begs, “PLEASE!!!!!!!!!” I respond calmly,”You know how our lives work… If the universe wants you to have an animal, you will. It will just show up.”

Last night as the sun was setting, Marlin went out to a field behind our house to collect some herbs. He came running back empty-handed, breathing heavy, and said “Mom, quick help!!! There is a hedgehog in the field trapped!It is wrapped in tons of string and fishing line, it can’t move!”

I grabbed a pair of scissors and we were in animal rescue mode. When I saw the hedgehog, my heart broke. It literally was wrapped so tightly in fishing line and string, that it could not move. Carefully, we started cutting. I wasn’t sure we could untangle that poor little cutie. But we did it. It took about an hour.

Our Hedgehog Friend Resting, Recovering..
Our Hedgehog Friend Resting, Recovering..

 

Now our little hedgehog friend is sleeping in the bedroom, recovering. Wrapped in blankets, safe and sound. Hopefully our friend will be fully recovered soon, and back in the wild. But we are happy to have a new friend, a cute little friend with quills.

If your kid wants a dog, you might end up with a hedgehog. Haha.

Peace~Tiff

 

 

The Other Side of Paradise

When I was 24, I was a single mother living  in ‘Section 8 project housing in Honolulu Hawaii. I was in college,  lucky to have a cheap place to live, and luckier still to have a huge Samoan neighbor known as ‘The Enforcer’, who looked out for us.

The first day my son and I moved into our little apartment, I called to order a pizza. When I gave our address, the man on the phone apologized and said that they didn’t deliver to my neighborhood. He said too many of their delivery drivers had been robbed.

I remember when my mother first came to visit. She was scared. She was shocked. She said, “Tiff, how do people live like this? When people think of Hawaii they think of Paradise. They think of Palm trees and sandy beaches, not this!!!!”

I tried to prepare my father when he came to visit. But he wasn’t prepared for the police blockade blocking off access to my entire street.

I always joked that I was going to make a calendar with images of the Hawaii I lived in. I was going to name my calendar “The Other Side Of Paradise.” There would be photos of swat teams with guns drawn, children playing in a nasty brown puddle with garbage floating in it, a freaky ice cream truck that only came around late at night and did not cater to children, rats larger than cats, and of course there would be photos of my next door neighbors, a giant Samoan family of 12, who shared a tiny apartment, the same size as mine,  and everyone slept on the floor.

We lived in these “projects” for over two years.. There was crime and poverty in my neighborhood. But there was also laughter, birthday parties, kids playing, dance parties, dinner parties, and neighbors singing opera-style in the shower. There was struggle. There was joy. There were lessons learned. I look back on that time with more fond memories than bad ones. I have so much gratitude.

Here I am several years and many lessons later. Living on a tiny beautiful island in the Azores.  Different ocean, different island chain, different set of problems. But, surprise, surprise, there is ‘another side of paradise here’ too.  I recently saw someone throwing bags of garbage in the river. Financial difficulties are very real for many people here.  Honestly, I am not sure how I will make money here. My dream of making money as a writer, is slowly fading.  There is not a large yoga culture here. Classes are small. My portuguese vocabulary is also small. It is difficult. There is struggle. There are times when I miss my old life so completely that I feel angry with my partner. I glare and think “You are the reason we are here!!” (I love my sweetheart very much, he is the most amazing person).. BUT, there are times when every cell in my body longs desperately for yoga studios, raw and vegetarian cafes, health food stores, theater, my old friends, my old life..which 5 months ago was in Florida. 

Well, in life “the only constant is change.”

I can either embrace my new life, or focus my energy on longing for days of the past.  I can choose to live with gratitude this life I have now, or I can choose to focus on what I don’t have, what I used to have.  (Perhaps this is the curse of the gypsy, moving around all the time and missing old friends)

Our thoughts and our behavior have a tremendous impact on our quality of life.  Knowing this, I have painted and posted affirmations and positive words all over my house. Joy, love, magic, peace, gratitude, believe, faith, trust… These words are powerful  reminders. Seeing these words help lift my spirits when I start to feel down.

Sometimes I really love being here. And my life seems very much like a magical fairy tale. I look around in awe that an island this beautiful exists.  Honestly, my feelings about my new life bounce all over the place. I know part of this is postpartum hormones,  part of this is transition, and part of this is simply that feelings change all the time..

myanchor, favorite healing quote

When I close my eyes and take deep breaths, my breath helps anchor me  to a deep inner wisdom and I feel peace.  I recharge.

Refreshed, I open my eyes and I feel opportunity. I feel love. I feel gratitude. Gratitude for my past, present, and future.

“May I be given the appropriate difficulties so that my heart can truly open with compassion.” –Buddhist Prayer

Whatever side of paradise~ Yogini Tiff

Barreiro da Faneca -Weekend Adventures with Yogini Tiff

There is a place on the island of Santa Maria called Barreiro da Faneca.  It is a protected area (a geopark) with trails and stunning raw beauty.  Much of the pottery and the ceramic tiles you find on the island was made with clay from Barreiro da Faneca.   There are stories and legends about this place.  The surrounding woods feel haunted.

We spent the day there on Saturday. Hiking, yoga, and some serious monkeying around.

Connecting with the Earth and Sky
Connecting with the Earth and Sky

 

Bird of Paradise in the Azores
Bird of Paradise in the Azores
Reverse Warrior-Viparita Virabhadrasana
Reverse Warrior-Viparita Virabhadrasana
Joao being a peacock.. Mayurasana
Joao being a peacock.. Mayurasana
Ardha Padmasana Vrksasana/Half Lotus Tree Pose
Ardha Padmasana Vrksasana/Half Lotus Tree Pose

We found the ruins of a very old house deep in the woods and made up crazy stories about the people who once lived there.

Enjoying the Haunted Woods with my cousin
Enjoying the Haunted Woods with my cousin and my baby 😉
Monkeys in the Azores, mother and son bonding
Monkeys in the Azores, Mother and Son bonding

Breathe. Smile. And every once in awhile, swing from a tree. ~Yogini Tiff

 

Amazing photography by the talented Diana Melo (our niece).. Encourage our children to pursue the arts, spend time in nature, climb trees, and follow their dreams! 

 

The Rippling Effect,Love-Water

Yesterday, March 22nd, was World Water Day, and there were meditation and healing events throughout the world.

Mandy Brinkley (a yoga teacher from England) and I, decided to Unify and hold an event on our little island paradise.

We really weren’t sure what to expect, who would come, or what the weather would be like when we initially decided to take part in this ‘synchronized water ceremony’. But both of us are really striving to help cultivate change, so we decided that even if it was just the two of us, we would meet, send healing, and honor and love the water that sustains us.

We held the event at the beautiful Praia Formosa on the island of Santa Maria, in the Azores. It ended up being the warmest day of the year. And we had a lovely group of women come.

Mandy and I took turns leading a gentle fluid yoga practice. We chanted, called upon Green Tara to help us become more compassionate. We held hands and created a healing circle. We got our feet wet. At 3pm, guided by the sounds of the ocean, our breath, and our collective energy, we all tuned inward for a 20 minute healing meditation.

Tree Pose, World Water Day Azores

CIMG7013 CIMG7008 (2) CIMG7000

We need to love, respect, and heal the Earth. When I think of what greed has done to our world, I cry. My tears taste like the ocean. My body is 80 percent water. What will happen if there is no clean water?

“Filthy Water Cannot Be Washed”-West African Proverb

We have to change the way we live. We have to change the way we think. It has to be now! And the Shift is happening. One by one, we are changing. And when one person begins to change, it has a rippling effect on everything. Slowly, we are awakening, and reconnecting with a long forgotten primal knowledge that all things connect. We are all one. Uni-verse, literally means ‘one song’.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” -Chief Seattle

Here is the link for more information about Unify, World Water Day, and ways we can all help.  http://unify.org/love-water

“Together, we are a Global Synchronized Force of Nature.Together, the World’s Waters will become Holy again.Together, Love prevails on this Blue Planet.”-The UNIFY Global Family

Mandy Brinkley and Yogini Tiff, (plus sweet baby Luna), Unify
Mandy Brinkley and Yogini Tiff, (plus sweet baby Luna), Unify!

With love for the Great Mother ~Yogini Tiff

Special thanks to Joao for the photos.. 😉 xx