Wednesday, December 30, 2009
In the spirit of a new year, a new outlook or resolutions you might want to try and check out World Yoga Practice Month .
I joined in last year and it was a lot of fun. It is good to have other yogis in your corner and helping you to commit to a daily practice!
Also on Jan 1 starts the 21 day kick start.
"this program is designed for anyone who wants to explore and experience the health benefits of a vegan diet. The Kickstart will give you an all-access pass to"
I have been a vegetarian for 6 years (I think that is right) and I was vegan for 1 of those 6. Over the last year I was eating dairy and eggs again. Mainly out of laziness. I have no other excuse.
But with that came weight gain, allergies, low energy levels. So for myself I am going to go back Vegan. My husband is Vegetarian and is being supportive (so far)
But this is something I know works for me, my health and my yoga practice as well.
So if you ever wanted to give it a try why not now!
I am looking forward to a great 2010!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
But here are a few key parts I enjoyed and watned to share:
“The practices of yoga, which include poses, breathing, meditation, and self-awareness techniques, are difficult in and of themselves. It is also difficult to practice consistently in the midst of our busy lives. In order to commit ourselves to practice, we must have faith that they will be fruitful and accomplish their intent, which is to help us turn towards ourselves and recognize our essential wholeness.”
Another Piece I really really enjoyed:
The Real beginning of spiritual practice is evident when we accept responsibility for ourselves, that is, when we acknowledge that ultimately there are no answers outside of ourselves, and no gurus, no teachers, and no philosophies that can solve the problems of our lives. It is our dedication to living with open hearts and our commitment to the day-to-day details of our lives that will transform us. When we are open to the present moment, we shine forth. At these times, we are not on a spiritual path: we are the spiritual path.
If there really are no answers outside of ourselves, then we must learn to turn toward ourselves and be comfortable in doing so. Abiding practice can remind us that there is nothing we need to be whole that does not already exist within us.
Contemplation for the day.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Today was really nice. Low Key and fun.
Got up early, opened gifts, made breakfast and relaxed.
My husband got me some sweet gifts. A beautiful buddha for my yoga space, the Dhammapada, A Jivamukti DVD and the Jivamukti book, David Gray's new CD, A flameless candle for my shrine in my yoga space, and some peppermint bark :)
Then showered and started cooking. On the menu:
Homemade garlic mashed potatos
Sweet Potato Casserole
We listened to music while cooking.
JP stopped by for food and presents. I received a book about Gandhi. Denver got Broncos gear and a Dharma book as well.
Right now Denver is snoring next to me on the sofa and chai is curled up by the fire.
Tomorrow I will get back on my mat early, then we are off to catch movies with JP. Sherlock Holmes :)
Enjoy your long weekend.
Looking forward to 2010
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It was a review of the Ashtanga Sun Salutes and Standing Postures. I really enjoyed how each pose was taken a bit slower with a bit more concentration on getting into the pose instead of quickly.
It reminded me of my first taste of Ashtanga. I had signed up for the 6 weeks basics course that Balance offered. Going to the class two times a week for six weeks. That seems ages ago yet my practice feels like I've started over at the beginning. I am almost considering signing up for the basics course again! But the finances are there right now.
Practice was good. I enjoyed it alot.
After practice my teacher and I grabbed a bite at Whole foods and chatted a good bit. She is always very inspiring to me.
I do have sad news though; I am not going to be able to go to the Week yoga workshop with Kino & Tim next year. I just can't justify the money for traveling to Miami and staying a week. I am sad, but know I will have other opportunities. I am hoping I can atleast attend some of Kino's workshop at Balance in February.
Well, Christmas is upon us!
I am off of work Thursday & Friday. I might do a bit of work from home this weekend. But 4 days to be with my husband and pup.
Tofurky, Homemade mashed potots, practice, movies, reading. I am all about enjoying this 4 day weekend.
Okay much to do at the office. Must be productive.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Hope you are enjoying your weekend!
by Stephanie Keach
I am frequently asked "What is flow yoga?" "How is it different from hatha yoga?" I have been teaching flow yoga for 18 years, so my answer will vary from someone else’s answer. Yoga is a path of transformation, to be learned systematically, through meditation techniques, concentration techniques, breathing techniques, selfless service, devotional practices like chanting and praying, or through Yoga poses (hatha yoga). Most of us here in America learn it through this Hatha Yoga path. (Hatha yoga is a general term used to describe all the styles of yoga we do here in America: ashtanga, iyengar, anusara, kundalini, flow, power, etc). Flow yoga is a style of hatha yoga that I was drawn to immediately because of its fluid nature of linking movement with breath. Whether moving the body in and out of a pose, or just lifting the arm on the inhale and lowering the arm on the exhale, it made perfect sense to me to use the breath as the impetus for movement, rather than my thoughts. Yoga is, after all, a system designed to help us overcome the "monkey-mind": that very popular state of mind where rambling thoughts of the future and/or past just go on and on and on. This chain of rambling thoughts is said to lead to suffering, in many eastern traditions, including yoga. Yoga helps us to develop awareness of our thought patterns: even while doing some twisty yoga pose, we can still observe our thought patterns. Say you are sitting on the ground, stretching out the hips, and you notice the girl next to you has her face to the floor, and your face is far away from the floor. Here is where habitual thought patterns might creep in, like, "Oh my god, look at how flexible she is! I shouldn’t be doing yoga, I suck, I am too fat, too stiff, too neurotic, etc." What we don't realize at first is that these voices have been ricocheting around our heads for years, sometimes 20, 30 or 50! These kinds of negative thought patterns only stop us from growing spiritually, and especially stop us from becoming loving and kind humans, which is the ultimate goal of all spiritual traditions. However, once we realize we have these negative thought patterns, we can begin to recognize them, at first in yoga class, but later in life, at the store, or wherever. Once we start to see these patterns more clearly, then we can make the conscious choice to let them go and not continue to feed our thought energy into them. Eventually, the voices lessen and lessen, allowing more room in our thoughts for kind thoughts, generous thoughts, loving thoughts. With this understanding, yoga is really for everyone, regardless of body shape, size, flexibility, etc. It all really comes down to deep self-reflection and changing those parts of us that no longer are pure and true. I love to teach this philosophy while helping people out of pain through the yoga poses. Over the years, I have seen just about every ailment and injury, and have seen how yoga significantly or 100% fixes the problems! It is truly amazing what right effort can produce.
Friday, December 18, 2009
My new job started this week. Training went well. Now I am in my actual office starting on Monday.
Granted it is a short week and I am looking forward to that!
Yoga training is going well; lots of changes within my personal practice. But all wonderful thus far.
Tyring to get a handle on my eating habits. Seems to be my number one obstacles: Making the ample time for asana, meditation and pranayma as well as healthy eating habits.
I am hoping by the end of my 9 month training these 2 things will have sorted themselves out.
Other things are sorting themselves out like my style of practie and meditation.
Meditation has been my most "progression"
I am enjoying meditation at home and also with Bhante at the Sangha. So all in all that is a plus.
So the holidays. Just me, Denver & Chai. Our tiny family.
Lots of food and hanging out. It will be nice.
And you? Any great holiday plans?
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The gentle spring rain permeates the soil of my soul.
A seed that has lain deeply in th heart for many years just smiles.
Allow the rain of the Dharma to come in and penetrate the seeds that are buried deep in your consciousness. A teacher can not give you the truth. The truth is already in you.
You only need to open yourself--body, mind and heart--so that his or her teachings will penetrate your own seeds of understanding and enlightenment. If you let the words enter you, the soil and the seeds will do the rest of the work.
From The Heart of Buddha's Teaching- Thich Nhat Hanh
Shrine at the Georgia Buddhist Vihara I attend. It is very large and so beautiful.
Friday, December 11, 2009
I am beginning to notice that I am truly enjoying those practices more and more.
It is always amazing how sometimes our practice guides us...we do not guide it.
I love Ashtanga; but lately the Flow has just felt right.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I've been in denial for a few days thinking it was just allergies. But, it is not.
So today I am making lots of hot tea with Ginger, drinking emergenC and going to use my netipot (which I should have been doing since the beginning of the season)
I can tell my body is now officially worn down; but my brain has a huge to do list and so many things I want to accomplish. Oh well, the body wins in this one.
Last night my husband & I did go to meditation with Bhante. There was a larger group last night which was wonderful. But the room was very cold (or it could be that I was getting worse)
We had a very long seated meditation (about 2 hours with one break) and Bhante was very talkative last night. He actually answered some questions I have had in my mind lately; which is always suprising when he does this.
Also, for my training we are required to read another Yoga book that isn't in our required reading & do a book report on it. I have read many yoga books; mostly on Asana.
I recently picked up Living your Yoga; Finding the Spirtual in Everyday Life by Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.
We have read many articles by Judith as part of our Training. I've liked them very much so decided to look her up. I was lucky to find this book at a local store; I've only seen this book online.
So I decided to do my book report on a yoga related book that is not asana. Since there are so many and really; writing a book report on an asana demonstration book would be boring to write & read!
There was a paragraph I really liked:
In verse twenty, book one, of the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali states the importance of faith to spirtual practice: shraddha-virya-smriti smadhi-prajna-purvaka itaresham, or "Wholeness is preceded by faith, energy, mindfulness, union and awareness." The practices of yoga, which include poses, breathing, meditation, and self-awareness techniques, are difficult in and of themselves. It is also difficult to practice consistently in the midst of our busy lives. In order to commit ourselves to practice, we must have faith that they will be fruitful and accomplish their intent, which is to help us turn toward ourselves and recognize our essential wholeness.
I am enjoying this book. It is different "yoga" book. I had several to choose from but for some reason this one seemed to fit for this training.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
"The teachers are around us. When we find a Yoga teacher, a higher teacher- there is a chemistry, a chemistry of the heart. When you see them your heart opens and you trust them for reasons you don't understand. You are a better person in their presence and your practice is better. It isn't about them (the teacher) but about the space and experience they represent."
Another bit I liked:
"If you get too caught up in the technical details of the experience. It is like we are focusing on the problem instead of directing the mind to the solution. In terms of your yoga practice; sometimes we can over think the technical application of the how and sometimes we just need the feeling of it in order to move into a whole new way of moving the body.
Same thing with our life; sometimes if we focus on the practical details we literally spend time on the problem and if we just focus on the solution or the feeling of everything working out then the practical details will sort themselves out. Not that we are not going to do them, it is just that the solutions will fall into place more naturally"
Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah: Yoga is the restraint (control, mastery) of the modifications (changes, movement, thought-forms) of the mind field
The weekend in Asheville was wonderful.
Friday and Saturday we did a lot of Anusara with Barbara Hall.
I had fun playing around with handstand and alot of the principles of Anusara .
Sunday we started with a master class by Stephanie and that was really fun (as always)
We did adjustments and partner stuff throughout the weekend.
Sunday evening we did Iyengar. 1.5 hours on shoulder stand. We did this in groups of 3.
This did remind me that Iyengar is not for me. While I know there are amazing aspects of this practice I like to bring into my practice and his books are wonderful.
The actual practice just doesn't inspire me to get on my mat for some reason.
This was my 3rd time dabbling in Iyengar.
So every weekend I go to Asheville we play around with different styles, the history, anatomy and always going over the sutras and 8 limbs of yoga.
However, I return home confused, conflicted and unsure.
My personal practice is steeped in Ashtanga as taught by SKP Jois (although my direct teachers are Marsha from Balance here in my town and also Kino MacGregor - I've only practiced with her twice but consider her a huge influence on my practice)
Regardless, I find that Ashtanga is what challenges me... and sometimes it challenges me to the point of pure frustration.
So, in this training we are required to journal our daily asana, meditation and pranayama practice.
This was what I wrote today:
"Started with Primary series. I got through the sun salutations and all the way to Paschimottanasana. Then I just stopped. I couldn't go any further. I grabbed my eyebag and went into savasana. I realized i was not in my practice. I was thinking of my teachers and if I would ever impress them. This bothered me and therefore I stepped out of my practice and into rest. Then went into my meditation to clear some of this fog.
The fact that this thought had been my focus during the practice upset me. Why after so long am I still striving to impress anyone?
I am disappointed my head got in the way of my practice. It seems as if I can't figure it out. I try to fit myself into a box or lable. Why do I feel compelled to have to label myself as an "ashtangi" or why do I feel that I need a label at all.
How come other people just know. They've found their practice and never deviate from it. They never question it...they just know. Am I just letting the "head stuff" get in my way.
It is really starting to bother me. I am getting on my own nerves with this and not sure how to get out of this mindset"
Not sure what I got from this, I know I did get frustration. I know by my 7th sun salute I was already fatigued. And that frustrated me.
Some days I overthink things way too much. And today might be one of those days :)
Sometimes our practice is more than just the physical element. It challenges us on different levels.
Why do I stress myself out over such small things like my practice..
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
So today is a full moon. In Ashtangi land there is no practice on Full or New Moons.
You can read about that here
So do you Ashtangi's abide by this rule? Do you fully enjoy your moon days off?
I am thinking of a simple flow practice this evening and meditation.
Then tomorrow back to Primary Series.