Yoga Inspirationals number 52, first published in DOYOUYOGA.COM, July 5, 2016.
Coaching may seem a little controlling and something unnecessary when we’re talking about the behavior of independent adults, but in yoga space, coaching is not about independence; rather, it’s about cooperation.
Because cooperation is not a universal trait, many yoga studios resort to posting their rules and regulations in an obvious, public place. It’s not that people are trying to be nasty, but some simply are less aware of their behavior.
These rules are posted to help everyone sharing space cooperate with one another when there are a variety of simultaneous needs and norms. Rules and regulations help form a standard behavior that may not appeal to everyone, but aim to limit chaos and unbalanced inconvenience.
Listening to the way coaches talk, I’ve learned about the concept of “behavioral targets and performance targets.” I’m not interested in performance targets in relationship to yoga (because that seems a metric designed for competitive sports), but my curiosity about behavioral targets has led me to think about how I would coach newcomers to yoga.
Cooperation requires a different set of group skills than individualism, and the guidelines for studios will only work with cooperation.
Yoga and “Behavioral Targets”
In yoga, you might hear that nobody is there to judge you…and I think that’s true. But, people do evaluate you.
Your teachers evaluate you because they want to know where you are in your practice and figure out how best to help you. They evaluate me too, it’s just the way humans are.
Today, spiritual notions of integrated unitary consciousness are popular but suspect. Some people require facts, and without verifiable facts proving esoteric dimensions, will dismiss such notions and think of consciousness and chakra activation as nothing but wild speculation.
But quantum studies in the subatomic realm more than suggest that everything is composed of vibrational energy even if we cannot prove it. Yogic philosophy treated this idea by suggesting that anything in matter has previously existed in the unmanifest cosmic womb. Indian philosophy even had a name for this place of pure potentiality, calling it hiranyagarbha, or the Golden Womb, the origin of all creation. Technically, ‘hiranya’ means ‘golden’ and ‘garbha’ means womb, and its symbol is a golden egg.
The science of physics has opened up big ideas like the notion of energy as vibration, or a not-yet manifest form of matter. It has helped Westerners accept that matter is not as concrete as we thought. Quantum thought maintains that the unmanifest is as real as each of us here and now, but is unrecognizable until energy and matter manifest or bring it into material form.
This is how healing consciousness moves too, for consciousness of a thing also changes the mode of being in that thing which is beheld. The Heisenberg Indeterminacy Principle, from the field of physics, affirms this insight and points out that it’s not possible to observe matter without influencing its actions. And while it’s true that the principle was developed while observing the velocity and speed of quantum particles, it applies to all matter.
The paralytic man’s friends (story from the Gospel of Mark), were determined to place him in close proximity to the pure consciousness of healing in Jesus.… read more...
With the inhale, exhale, and hold, I’m moved to completeness. I learn that my place, my contentment, is anchored in the link that is welded into me by yoga. These simple moves are a stunning antidote for worry. They have become my spiritual DNA, lodging in my soul and energizing my spine.
I fasten to this deep core with breath and meditation pioneered by music and time. I embody asana and rejoice in a glimpse of the periphery turned central, a new identity refined by fusion of the particular and the universal. Moment by single moment, I inhabit a contentment and know we are all a beautiful crush of salt and pepper.… read more...
A beautiful house is nothing if the furniture inside is draped in a gunnysack of negativity. If our inner house is awash in pride, jealousy, anger, and deep-seated prejudice, yoga offers and enables relinquishment of this toxic brew.
Where resentment is held in the body, yoga brings it to the surface and by asana pulls it out of the body. Then we observe, and decide if compassion will replace condemnation.
Yoga will not be televised, its moves are not dictated by chart, table, or graph; yoga will not whiten your teeth, but you will be astonished in moments of fluid inspiration, and the deep breaths you take will sustain apprehension of a true presence at once ecstatic and sublime.… read more...
Port Yonder Press / Eastern Iowa University will be publishing its third volume of lyric essays this summer. Work by two writers is now online, including my essay, “Midwest Intimations.” The other essay online, link included is, “You Will Have a Son,” by Cindy Lamothe, an expat living in Antigua. Thank you Port Yonder Press.
|Eastern Iowa Review|
Let me pry loose old walls.
Let me lift and loosen old foundations.
Beat me and hammer me into a steel spike.
Drive me into the girders that hold a skyscraper together.
Take red-hot rivets and fasten me into the central girders.
Let me be the great nail holding a skyscraper through the blue nights
into white stars.
–Carl Sandburg, 1918
The American Midwest is a great nail in my body. Its rusty gestalt formed me, and my heart pumps iron history through my arteries and veins. The Midwest broke me and made me strong. It formed my hard-edged will and chastised me with ice.
I’ve lived in Hawaii, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington. I’ve traveled to 43 of the Continental United States and motored through Spain, Korea, India, Argentina, Haiti, Germany, England, and Mexico. I’ve rubbed elbows with people in the sovereign nations. Their names drip from my tongue: Navajo, Potawatomi, Lakota, Menominee, and Ojibwa.
I’ve embraced Midwest geography; most of it is not beautiful, however, some sites rival the rugged, purple Andes of Northwest Argentina, the coast of Barcelona, and the tumbling waterfalls hidden deep in Molokai’s rainforests.
The friendliest people don’t live in the Midwest, except once in a while we are the friendliest.… read more...
New article today in Yoga International
Perhaps you’ve watched the A&E Network’s show, Storage Wars. In it, a group of people look for five minutes at the contents of a storage unit from its periphery, but cannot enter the unit. Then they bid to own the unexamined contents inside. The winner is the highest bidder, and his/her reward is ownership of everything in that unit.
The highest bidder might find valuable coins or artwork, antique toys or newspapers. In rare cases, they find instruments. However their newly-bought storage unit could be filled with dirty tee-shirts accompanied by soiled linens and parking tickets, vestiges of life in transit. More often than finding gold, the winning bidder finds the clutter of unresolved issues and remnant droppings of a human pack-rat.
The show is popular because it’s a modern day version of a mother-lode gold strike. In a few cases, bidders have made hundreds of thousands in profit. One bidder discovered Spanish gold coins, some dating back to the 16th Century, valued at half a million dollars. Another winner found a model grand piano and a third stumbled into classic toys worth nearly $13 thousand.
In our yoga bodywork, it’s not long before we are like most of those treasure seekers who run smack dab into unwanted leftovers and are faced with cleanup. It’s widely understood in our yoga communities that our bodies are storage units of past traumas. This includes mental and psychological trauma along with physical injuries.
Dr. David Berceli describes his work treating “deep chronic tension created in the body during a traumatic experience or that has accumulated from prolonged stress.” His therapy to clean up the human body’s storage unit is called TRE, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. … read more...
I tune to WOJB for an in-breaking from another world. The indigenous
people speak in even tones, softly on the microphone, nearly a chant. Their
idiom camouflages a humor I sometimes get.
Dead air, then a night-time jock speaks with refreshing lack of pretense, clear and simple. She says, “Good evening everyone. It’s Tuesday and I hope you’re having a good night. It’s Tuesday isn’t it? Wait a minute, let me check…. Oh, it’s Thursday. Ok then, I hope you’re having a good Thursday.”
I’m here to listen and to put my hands on all the stubborn things: the old Evinrude motor, the long-handled red pump, the Dixie stove, the Gibson refrigerator, the cast iron frying pans and then fish filet knives. “
I lift the pan and feel its weight, I
swing the knife from side to side
and feel its balance. I smell
leather casing for the J. Marttini
Rapala filet knife; I will test the
blade against a hair on my
forearm. Is it sharp enough to
slice arm hair? If not, I will whet the sharpening stone and slide that knife in one direction, over and over, making an arc like a roller coaster. The Rapala will resist at first, but metal will yield and raise its edge.
WOJB turns its broadcast menu to music with Mountain Stage, and I love the songs. I wait for the next program and the dry unmistakable voice of
Garrison Keillor as he spins tales of life on The Prairie Home Companion. I listen for his opening line, “It’s been a quiet week in Lake Woebegon.”
Up here, a bear comes and goes as it will, so even a faint resemblance near the woodpile can trick one into thinking its real. My parent’s scare tactics worked, and the wooden carving of a black bear head tricked my brothers too because the chance of actually seeing a bear was lodged in the back of our minds. This is how illusion works: You believe through suggestion that you see what you don’t see but believe you have seen.
That bear was here. It walked past the pump next to the front door, and a photo proves it. Its tacked on the old Gibson
refrigerator with a sales magnet that says, “Patty Berkes, Edina Realty.” The Realtor’s photo on the card expresses dreams people have for lake front property
in the north woods: foreground birch trees and a winding trail with tall grass
leading to a log cabin, its dark wood corners joined in dovetail notches. This isn’t Edina, but the brokers are
here and they’re busy selling a dream.
Empty Mirror @EmptyMirror · March 6, 2015
New today! Gregory Ormson’s “With Crooked Legs of Hackberry” http://www.emptymirrorbooks.com/features/with-crooked-legs-of-hackberry.html …
Yea! thanks Empty Mirror… read more...