Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I think that affected my practice a bit today during mysore practice at Balance. I was present; very sleepy and very heavy.
M and I taked after my practice and it did occur to me that it was probably due to my 9:30pm dinner...that is what I get for working until 8:30pm at the office. No more of that!
My practice was heavy; like I mentioned. Once I got to Surya Namasakar B I knew it was going to be that kind of practice. But of course I received some great tips to work on; like the cycling of my feet. Something I've worked on for a long time. As a child I walked with my toes pointed out (imagine heels together and toes pointing out...kind of like a V) Well apparenlty my mom had to buy special shoes and all... Well that has carried over with the external rotation of my thighs in everything I do...sitting, standing, etc... Which contributes to my sciatia flairups...
And I think it also carries over to my practice. Like trying to pin down my pinkie toes in updog or in triang mukhaikapada paschimottanasana.
I think there is a disconnect between my brain and my tailbone and my brain and my pinkie toes. :)
I've been working from home today. Tonight I am headed to Decatur to work on a yoga project. I will give more info on that later.
Okay more work to be done. Updates this weekend :)
Friday, February 19, 2010
I've begun to offer up my practice daily as merits and to others who need healing, love, compassion, for those that suffer. I am trying to be unattached to the outcome/fruits of the practice. Otherwise ego is invovled. This method is working for me. Making me happier on my mat and not trying to "attain" anything.
With that in mind--this morning I was up and out the door by 5:00am. I made it to Balance for Mysore practice. Alongside a fellow friend/Ashtangi- which is always inspiring. She was acutally doing a full vinyasa between posese; which I don't normally pay attention to what others are doing. I am pretty centered (most of the time) but I noticed she was adding in more vinyasa ala Lino style.
It was inspiring.
My personal practice on my mat felt great. I can't tell you what it looked liked but I felt pretty awesome after! We worked on Marichyasana D more and slowly my upper body is opening and my darn shoulders are very tight! I never really noticed that until I started realizing binding is becoming more and more difficult (which has to be from typing at a computer all day).
Teacher did tell me to do Navasana...so we are moving on bit by bit in Primary.
Today I also did 4 Urdhva Dhanurasana (backbends) and my 5th one being a dropback.
During the backbending she made me pay closer attention to bringing my elbows towards one another while pushing up rather than "splaying" out to the sides as I normally do. This caused for a little more intensity and fired up my shoulders but it felt like the "right" way to get into it.
My dropback was fine...however I think I almost knocked my teacher over when I came back up! Oops!!
All in all a nice practice. My mantra still is and may always be "tuck the tailbone" or lengthen the tailbone to the floor (which ever version you like best) My tailbone has a mind of its own I swear!
But for me how I judge my practice (if there is such a thing) is how I feel internally after. I felt awake, clean, better, happier. So that to me equates to a great practice.
It was hard work...but worth it.
Tonight starts my assisting in the Friday night Intermediate class. I will just observe tonight and the next 6 classes I will be assisting/adjusting as the teacher directs. This is "homework" for my Yoga Teacher Training Certification. I have until May to assist at 6 classes, plus I have to teach at least 2 classes a month on my own. And there is lots of reading to finish up on, studying anatomy, 1 paper on the Endocrine system, 2 more book reviews and my large 5-10 page paper. All of this in the next 3 months.
I have to say I've gone back and forth on styles/practices for the last 2 years. I've questioned every form I've practiced. When I start to think I've made up my mind or I think I've "figured it out" ...well that is when little things have a way of unfolding and showing what you really need.
Something clicked for me yesterday....Sometimes I don't need to question everything. Just like the Zen approach to meditation; I just need to sit. I need to sit and be still and calm my moneky mind.
Well the same thing with yoga practice. The Ashtanga Primary Series is referred to as Yoga Chikitsa, which translates as Yoga Therapy. The therapy is pretty simple to understand yet hard to execute. Asana (including Bandhas), Breath, and Dristi (gaze/focus)
So really just 3 things to remember. That is a stripped down very basic over view.
But really, I just need to show up, I need to sit with it, I need to be still within and let it happen.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I teach 2 classes on Saturday but then we will probably head to the movies and maybe dinner? I'd love to get some friends together for maybe Green Sprout!
In one week and a few days I will be celebrating my 31st!
For my birthday the only thing I would like from my family or friends...is yoga! Of course lol!
Class Card at Balance Yoga and maybe the Matthew Sweeny- Ashtanga as it is book Which you can buy at Balance too! or at Amazon Or class card at Ashtanga Yoga Atlanta (pretty much the only other studio I go to from time to time)
I am not asking for gifts...I don't expect any either. But in case the family is reading and is inspired to get me something...there you go!
So 31....I can't believe it because most days I still don't feel over 25. I do sleep more and do more married-lady stuff. But on the inside I feel 25.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The most important things in our practice are our physical posture and our way of breathing. We are not so concerned about a deep understanding of Buddhism. As a philosophy, Buddhism is a very deep, wide, and firm system of thought, but Zen is not concerned about philosophical understanding. We emphasize practice. We should understand why our physical posture and breathing exercise are so important. Instead of having a deep understanding about teaching, we need a strong confidence in our teaching, which says that originally we have Buddha nature. Our practice is based on this faith.
According to the traditional Buddhist understanding, our human nature is without ego. When we have no idea of ego, we have Buddha’s view of life. Our egoistic ideas are delusion, covering our Buddha nature. We are always creating and following them, and in repeating this process over and over again, our life becomes completely occupied by ego-centered ideas. This is called karmic life, or karma. The Buddhist life should not be karmic life. The purpose of our practice is to cut off the karmic spinning mind. If you are trying to attain enlightenment, that is a part of karma, you are creating and being driven by karma, and you are wasting your time on your black cushion. …
Before Bodhidharma, the study of Buddha’s teaching resulted in a deep and lofty philosophy of Buddhism, and people tried to attain its high ideal. This is a mistake. Bodhidharma discovered that it was a mistake to create some lofty or deep idea and then try to attain it by the practice of zazen. If that is our zazen, it is nothing different from our usual activity, or monkey mind. It looks like a very good, a very lofty and holy activity, but actually there is no difference between it and our monkey mind. …
When we have the traditional spirit to follow the truth as it goes, and practice our way without any egoistic idea, then we will attain enlightenment in its true sense. And when we understand this point we will make our best effort in each moment. That is true understanding of Buddhism. So our understanding of Buddhism is not just an intellectual understanding. Our understanding at the same time is its own expression, is the practice itself. Not by reading or contemplation of philosophy, but only through practice, actual practice, can we understanding what Buddhism is. Constantly, we should practice zazen, with strong confidence in our true nature, breaking the chain of karmic activity and finding our place in the world of actual practice.
Excerpts are from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki, Weatherhill, 1973, p.99-102.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Friday evening I had plans to attend Kino MacGregors Demo, meditation and discussion. But 4 inches of snow in my driveway and the roads surrounding my home decided I had a different set of plans :(
I was able to make it to Kino's Mysore class today at balance
It was a packed studio and I was lucky enough to practice next to my teacher M.
My actual practice was okay. I did realize at one point I had forgetten 2 postures.
Oh well, I reminded myself...non-attahment and keep going.
I was the first one completed in the room. My practice runs about an hour since I stop at Marichyasana D. I asked M before class if I should only practice up to Marich D and she said yes.
So I went onto closing and then I was done. It was great to practice among friends and with my teacher and with Kino whom just fills a room with light.
I was sad that I didn't attend the entire weekend like I had hoped. But lack of funds kept me from signing up and it sold out pretty quick.
I am blessed enough to have been there today.
After practice I went to Whole Foods and grabbed a quick bite and headed home. I did come home to some sad news. But "this too shall pass" and I will deal with the sadness.
I am looking forward to a good week. We are looking at getting MORE snow in the morning too!
Be Safe & stay warm!!!
Monday, February 8, 2010
Friday I drove up to the beautiful Mountains for Yoga teacher training part 5. We only have 2 visits in March, 1 in April and one is May. Then We graduate!! It is flying by.
Friday & Saturday we spent with Shala. She is truly wonderful.
Friday we did our typicaly check in then we did some restorative/yin poses and then discussions on the Gita.
Saturday was yin/yang class, more Gita/Vedas discussions, The sutras discussions, working with forearm balance, before lunch we did a 20 min Yoga Nidra. After lunch was a video of Sharon Gannon & David Life. Then later that evening was an introduction to Chakras and a yoga sequence and meditation for the Chakras.
The visual meditation was wonderful.
Saturday most of the ladies headed out for Thai food. I went back to our house. Ate some food and took a lovely hot shower and read. It was nice getting a few quiet solitude moments in the hectic weekend.
Sunday we worked with another teacher in the Iyengar Tradition working on shoulderstand and headstand.
Then we got to spend some time with Stephanie; whom I adore more and more each time we work with her. She cranked up some fun music and we did a master inversion class working with forearm balance (pincha), Handstand and headstand. Lots of flow and hips in there too!
Then we ended with the Gayatri mantra (which we always do when Stephanie ends the weekend)
I am sure I am missing something...but it was a great weekend.
I only got one photo!
Stephanie is truly amazing, to me anyway. She is a jewel in my yogic path. I am lucky to have found so many wonderful people. She will always have an impact on my practice.
So, I said good-bye to Asheville for a few weeks and headed home. I listened to my saints play on the radio and made it home just in time for that insane on sides kick. My husband, Chai and I hung out and enjoyed the victory. Received calls and texts from family memebers. History was made :)
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I know he is part of the 500hr training AYC holds. So I searched for him on youtube.
I like this interview and the best little jewel I got out of it is at the very end:
"Discipline is remembering what you want"
Not a lot of changes in my practice. Still working up to Marchi. D. Can't bind yet!
But I was given lots of wonderful tips to work on in my practice from my teacher.
Things that you always notice you are doing; but becoming habits and not good ones.
Like my tailbone (that thing has a mind of its own!) and some good suggestions for improving my chattarunga.
Today, My hamstrings are reminding me what Mysore practice feels like.
Speaking of Ashtanga Balance has some new people on their workshop list this year!!!
Check it out; Kino next week, Tim Feldman this Summer and Paul Dallaghan in May!
If only money grew on trees I could spend my time going to so many amazing workshops.
Also AYC has a HUGE list of people this year. Some of which include: Chandra Om, Bryan Kest, and Doug Keller.
And what I wouldn't give to go to Maya Talum for a week with Stephanie during Thanksgiving!!
But we will see where the cards fall.
Work is picking up and if things continue it might might might (slightest of slight chance) actually work out where I can go?? I am staying open to the idea.
Plus I have to travel to the great midwest this year (Chicago) to see dear friends and my little niece and nephews too! So I will roll with the punches and see what turns up!
So, remaining present--back to the now- I woke up with a major headache (sinuses) and decided to work from home today. Right not I am enjoying coffee and catching up on emails. About to do a short yoga practice and then get to work.
Lots to do before I head to Asheville tomorrow for week 5 of Teacher training. Officially we are over the 1/2 way mark. Can't believe it.
Lots of changes in these last few months (more internal than external)
Monday, February 1, 2010
So read on and enjoy the MANY jewels in this piece.
Operation Lotus by Kino MacGregor
The experience of your first yoga class feels like embarking on a mysterious adventure into a whole new terrain. As your curiosity peers into the incense-filled hallways lined with Ganesh and Shiva the open-hearted calm beckons you to travel into your own sacred inner realm. The seductive power of yoga is an addictive calling to go deeper into yourself. Once you experience first hand how magical yoga is, all resistance becomes futile.
Regardless of your intention when you plants the first seeds of your lotus flower the transformative power of this ancient spiritual science works on a deep level of your being. Many people start yoga for fitness reasons only to find that yoga changes their lives in ways far beyond the physical. Even if you are not a true believer and only wish to receive the physical health benefits of yoga, merely attending a yoga class regularly will have a lasting impact on your life. The beauty of the physical yoga postures is that you do not actually need to believe in them in order for the healing power of yoga to work. Hatha yoga approaches the transformation of the human spirit from the body first and then works its way subtly through to the mind and soul. The body itself is an avenue to the spiritual that works from the inside out. As you water the seeds of padmasana the full blooming lotus opens in your mind and soul.
Entering the new world of yoga is the first conscious step to live a more peaceful life. The initiatory phase of yoga is your chance to powerful create your life moment to moment and live your highest potential every day. As a neophyte it is important to remember that it is natural to feel overwhelmed when you realize just how demanding spiritual discipline really is. Rather than a recreational activity that you can keep separate from your life, yoga asks you to transform your whole life to abide by yogic principles. If at first you find yourself drawn to the physical display of power in advanced asana you quickly see that the heart of yoga reaches far deeper than the postures themselves. Indeed the asanas are only used to purify the body, practice meditative states of unified consciousness and prepare the physical form to be a home for divinity in the world of mind and matter. The more advanced asanas are not ends in and of themselves. Instead the real work of yoga happens on the inner body and is actually the seed of your own enlightenment beginning to flower.
Like a open invitation to the spiritual path yoga never places commandments on practitioners from above. When you start practicing yoga the body itself becomes more sensitive and then asks you to live a more pure lifestyle. While the moral and ethic codes of a yogic lifestyle ask practitioners to be an instrument of kindness, compassion and healing in the world, the choice to live a peaceful is meant to be a sincere feeling that each practitioners feels for themselves before acting upon it. Practicing asana makes the body more sensitive so that you feel more clearly the impact that unhealthy behavior, negative thoughts and destructive emotions have on you. Yoga never tells you what you can and cannot do. It is a path of liberation not bondage. It is a path of direct knowingness rather than rules and edicts. The practice of yoga itself opens your body and mind to desire wholly a new way of being, living and interacting with yourself and others. It is the heightening of your own awareness that facilitates the transformation. You change not because your teacher tells you to but because yoga opens the door to a new way of being that you choose to walk through with joy, ease and grace. The journey into the lotus heart of yoga is a lifelong spiritual practice that bears flowers in this life and beyond.
Faced with the seemingly insurmountable goal of ultimate enlightenment many new students doubt their ability to ever progress along the arduous path of yoga. They look at their teachers or other accomplished practitioners and wonder how they will ever get from their relative feeling of confusion to the clarity, grace and precision they see in the masterful art form of yoga. Yet small seeds do not doubt whether they will become trees. They trust the natural process of evolution and growth that takes them from seeds to sprouting seedlings to flowering, fruitful trees. With proper nutrients, care and love the flower of your inner lotus is sure to grow to maturity in the fertile soil of your own consciousness. Every accomplished yogi today has benefitted from the guidance of their teachers and been nurtured by the yoga community. Every yoga teacher today has also nourished their own journey with their own dedication and devotion. If you are a new students of yoga remember that you hold the key to the power of yoga. It is in your own heart that the seed of spiritual investigation must take root, watered by the flow of your own consciousness. When you embark on your own operation lotus know that this journey is timeless one that never ends, only deepens. Small treasures abound when you attempt challenging postures that seem impossible that with time, dedication and guidance evolve into possibility.