Posts Tagged asana

Yoga this week!!

This week, I will be teaching on Wednesday, November 30 at 10:00am. It’s the last day of November, and we will be focusing on creating an oasis within as we launch into the busy holiday season. I would love to see you there!

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THIS is the movement

3…2…1. Try to fight the urge to move. No, don’t, actually. Shiva Rea is a teacher and personal hero of mine. She’s a Shakti warrior and an originator of what I call Shakti dancing.

Today’s gratitude list: Shiva Rea and free expression.

Women throughout history were burned at the stake for self-expression like this, both literally and metaphorically. Many thanks to Shiva for leading the way. Now… Get up. Release your fear. Embrace Shakti. Embody the shift.

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Gotta love the ‘fuzz’ guy

While I was teaching a class this morning, my beautiful students reminded me that it’s kinda incredible how the back of my head can touch my knee without much strain. I responded, “Oh yeah, thanks. I take responsibility for my fuzz.”

I first watched this video during my yoga teacher training. This man (Gil Hedley) is priceless and unforgettable. See what he has to say about the value of doing your stretches and paying attention to your body on a daily basis.

Today, I’m grateful for: wonderful students and teachers.

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Practicing gratitude

When I began considering the class I’m teaching this week, I knew right away that I wanted to structure it around the theme of gratitude. Giving thanks.

As I said before, I have recently had a growing awareness of the fundamental importance of maintaining emotional and spiritual health. Since I wrote the post stating my intention to tend to my emotional health and its energetic consequences, I’ve either discovered or re-discovered a multitude of ways to align and balance. One signpost after another pointed to the chakras and the rest of the energetic body as the classroom where I could learn about better health on every level.

Seriously. Every time I asked for guidance since writing that, it was like, ‘Chakras!’… I know but… ‘Chakras!’… but what if… ‘Chakras!’… Ok, ok, chakras!

So, I wasn’t even a little surprised when I asked for help in building my class and the answer was ‘chakras!’ Specifically, the solar plexus chakra (manipura). This is our power center. The center of self and personality. It is also the center of ego-based fear and resistance.

As I began exploring for inspiration and insight, I came across these words of wisdom from Kundalini-Teacher.com:

“The power chakra is fed by the energy of gratitude, which is a powerful kind of surrender. Gratitude is the opposite of fear and resistance. The heart opens to love, the power chakra responds to gratitude. Most karmic stuff will transmute as soon as you can manage to be genuinely grateful for it. Count your blessings, feed your power chakra.”

Not only was I able to build my gratitude class around that powerful idea, I’ve also been working to open and balance my solar plexus chakra each day by practicing gratitude. So, guess how I feel about teaching my class now? Grateful! Funny how that works…

Check out this article by Erica Rodefer for other ideas for expressing gratitude through yoga.

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Yoga this week!

I will be teaching this week on Wednesday, November 23rd before Thanksgiving. Practice gratitude!

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Note to self: Keep it movin’

The coming and going from point A to point B and back again is observed from the atomic level to the galactic level and beyond. It’s universal. In the face of constant movement between polarities, yoga and ayurveda point the way to achieving balance while also embracing the flow. The flow is the way of earthly life, after all. Change can be beautiful and it can be scary, but above all, it is inevitable.

When we lose touch with natural rhythms for whatever reason, imbalance occurs. Stagnation. Ayurveda notes that in this place where the flow is excluded, disease can take hold. In the time that I’ve studied ayurveda, I’ve maintained an awareness of this principle with regard to my diet and the care of my body. It was only recently, however, that I began to comprehend its role in my emotional health.

It is important to experience emotions. They are a gift that makes the colors of my human experience more vivid and gives me insight that would not be available otherwise. But, like everything else, it is essential to let them keep moving or stagnation will occur. Stagnation creates the foothold for what, my dears? Dis-ease. The old must be released to make space for the new to enter.

So, I began paying particular attention to my emotions- observing them, acknowledging them, and letting them go on their merry way. Great lessons, all in all. Yet, I couldn’t shake this feeling. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until… I allowed that it was time to face the monster- FEAR.

I couldn’t wrap my arms around it, or my mind. I just felt blank and numb. But this is FEAR we’re talking about! I should feel terrified, right? Then… BAM!! It hit me square in the face: Could it be that I’ve held on to so much fear and stuffed it in every fiber of my being for so long that it had become my new normal? Had I allowed myself to become so filled with fear that it pops up everywhere, all the time until it seems like the way it is?

I realized that YES! that was most likely true, and in so doing, I began to let go of it. I can’t say that I’m feeling all light and free these days, but I am aware. And awareness is the wormhole back to the present moment- the moment in which I can choose to go with the flow. I can observe the rhythm and the motion and be a part of it.

In my years of asana practice, I’ve heard over and over that hip-opening poses aid in the release of emotions (the hips are one place in the body where we hold our emotions). So, I’ve been following the yoga doctor’s orders and taking regular doses of hip openers. While I haven’t experienced a powerful emotional release like Julia Cohn describes in her recent article, the practice reaffirms my faith that yoga is a gateway back to balance.

Learn more about hip-opening poses here. What’s your favorite?

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Wanna see the coolest thing??

Retire your televisions, people! 😉

Soul TV is here! You can now have a continuously updated selection of yoga and meditation classes, inspirational spiritual talks, and general goodness from the amazing folks at the Soul Center.

This is such an unbelievable blessing that they have put this together. But yet… coming from them, I can totally believe it. Check it out and see what all the fuss is about.

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Yoga this week!

I’ll be teaching twice this week- on Wednesday 11/16 at noon and Saturday 11/19 at 2:30pm. Please click on either date for additional details. I would love to see you there!

Peaceॐ

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Hanging in Patanjali’s yoga tree

“Just as each limb is essential for the optimal functioning of your body, every limb of yoga practice is important.”
~Donna Farhi, from Yoga: Mind Body and Spirit

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes eight aspects of yoga that mark the path to enlightenment. He call them the Eight-fold Path of yoga: Yamas (restraints), Niyamas (qualities), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (control of breath), Pratyahara (drawing attention inward/away from the senses), Dharana (focused attention), Dhyana (meditation/concentration), and Samadhi (bliss).

Although Asana is the most familiar branch to most Westerners, I share Donna Farhi‘s sentiment that all of the limbs are necessary to achieve balance. The first steps, yama and niyama, are a lot like the yoga ten commandments.

During my Yoga Teacher Training, I devoted one week to each of the yamas and niyamas. It built a foundation that brought new depth and understanding to my asana practice. So much so that I’m going to have another go at it. I’m not giving myself any time parameters this time, though. If it takes six months to be ready to move on from Ahimsa, then so be it. Also, I’ll be sharing my original experiences with each yama from this Summer.

Get ready for Ahimsa in 3…2…1…

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The time is… NOW.

“There came a time when the effort to remain tight in the bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom.”

~Anaïs Nin

2011 has been a phenomenal year thus far. Through the ups and downs, I’ve had a budding awareness that the time for change has arrived. Whatever it is that comes next… it’s fast approaching. I can either be ripped limb from limb trying to cling to what was or I can let go and welcome what is with open arms. Those are my options.

Of course, I have the marvelous good fortune to be a human being in these times. And what distinguishes the humans from the rest of Creation? We can choose. We have free will and the ability to make choices. So, I affirm that I choose to let go, to welcome change, to dive into the flow, to be One with what is. That’s my right. Isn’t it miraculous?

In fact, it has been nearly a year and a half since this awareness first began to dawn in me. I had the distinct feeling that the world was going crazy and I was going with it. It was a critical point in my growth- I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that I could no longer do what I had been doing. I had already been practicing yoga for a decade at that point, but I was drawn to its spiritual aspects more than ever before. I began meditating daily. In short, I began to align with the Divine.  If there is a resonating message that accompanied this shift, it is this: Whatever it is I wish to be, I am already that. Each day, I must make time to sit in that awareness and let it bring me understanding.

You see, ‘change’ has so many associations in my busy, busy brain. Transition- like breakups, passings, leaps into the terrifying and bewildering unknown.  Yet, the more I stay with the I am that awareness, I realize that this ‘change’ isn’t so much about the rupture as it is about the healing- like waking up from a dream and realizing that I was completely safe the entire time. This is the  emerging oneness consciousness. Where there was once a split, oneness consciousness is rising to swallow both sides and reunify them. Unifying perception with reality. I am that. All is that. All is love.

So that’s a lot, huh? It’s been a great distance to cover, but it has also been a single leap of faith taken over and over. One of the greatest blessings along the way has been connecting with kindred souls whose experiences resonate with mine. I have certainly had moments  when I’ve felt that I must be an alien or a hopeless weirdo or something. And then I’ll find myself in the midst of a whole garden of strange flowers just like me. As we exchange words with one another, I hear I am that, I am that. I feel so blessed to be sharing this evolution with you. I have so much to share. I hope, to you, it sounds a whole lot like I am that. ((((((( ♥ )))))))

 

 

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