LOOK WHO IS “DOING IT” WRITING ABOUT YOGA!
LOOK WHO IS “DOING IT” WRITING ABOUT YOGA.… read more...
Relinquishment is to spirituality as rain is to flowers.
In relinquishing cultural norms, one becomes present to being, grounded in body, as the seat of religiosity. In every moment, yoga reassembles the truth-temple of flesh and bone; its molecular pilotry moves the yogi to become a seeker of breath and conduit of royal consciousness. “We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon.”… read more...
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.
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.
” . . . a story is a grid, an archetypal narrative, a divine scaffolding that organizes experience into a complexity of meanings and forms. The life that may otherwise appear to be unbearably random or intolerably chaotic becomes whole when made known through the revelation of the intrinsic narrative.”
Imagine the stories . . .… read more...
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...
The Christian church used to be central to my life, vocation, and identity but it’s not anymore.
Still, I bring my past theological training to my yoga practice and on occasion I remember a word or idea from my past to interpret how I express and experience yoga.
I think of a scriptural passage where the writer is reminding his community that they are not alone. He tells them that they are, in fact, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
Traditionally, the cloud meant a mass of condensed water vapor, usually white, or tinged in various shades of grey and black. But in our day, a cloud has come to mean a digital storage space. Ok, that’s cool.
But I also see a cloud as a continually morphing group of people that see me on my mat—sweating and putting forth effort—and it’s exactly how I see them. When practicing yoga, I am one member of this cloud, a group of people that witness to each other’s’ effort, practice, time, and presence.
I practice in studios with many members. I try to learn names so that I can address them personally. In one studio, I know over fifty people by name. These names remind me that I am not alone—even when my yoga feels like a solitary pursuit. Still, I work to remember each name in our studio because a name concretizes the amorphous nature of a cloud and it tells people they are not just a number but a person with a name.
Written out, these names would fill only one page, but if they were added to all the yogis and yoginis that have gone before, the pages would fill stacks in the tallest libraries.… read more...
On Sunday, Feb. 11, we’ll hold the second of three YOGA TEMPLE workshops at MOTTO YOGA in Queen Creek (Power and German Rd).
I hope to see you… read more...
The next class for YOGA AND LEATHER: Yoga for Bikers, is Wednesday, Jan. 17, 4:30 at Superstition Harley Davidson. See how these bikers are keeping themselves ready to Ride On!
A BIG THANK YOU to M.J. Britt for taking these photos at Superstition HD.
When motorcycling and yoga come together, good things happen. Practice yoga at Superstition Harley Davidson and feel the roar of motorcycles below the Eagles Nest. It’s different, but bikers and yogis have never been afraid of different.
Yogis come in all shapes and sizes and so do bikers. Yoga and motorcycling require many of the same skills:
ability to be calm in the midst of stress
sequential learning to master corners or poses
movement with awareness and presence of mind
flexibility and balance
This is just a start. Find out how yoga can keep you riding now and into the future.
I’ll meet you in the Eagles Nest !
YOGA BENEFITS FOR BIKERS
Increased strength and muscle tone through weight bearing and power postures / for large bikes and long tours, building strength for long days on the road.
Improved balance by practicing one-leg standing postures / better control in tight U turns and backing.
Increased mental focus and coordination, clarity of thought developed by balance and silence in yoga practice / life and death on the bike is directly related to mental focus and clarity.
Improved sleep after a hard yoga practice / no dozing while driving, deeper sleep leads to increased energy on the road.
Improved posture / improved back and neck comfort on rides.… read more...
TITLE: YOGA TEMPLE: Embodying the Healing Grace of Yoga
WHAT: An integrative workshop series exploring Christian thought / tradition and yogic thought / tradition. Including asana, pranayama, and other movement.
WHY: To address the inherent spiritual dimensions of yoga.
WHO: Anyone with questions about spirituality, faith, belief, and yoga.
WHERE: MOTTO YOGA, 7529 Power Rd. Queen Creek, AZ
Register at MottoYoga.com
January 14, Sunday NOON
Februray 11, Sunday NOON
March 4, Sunday NOON… read more...
If you believe yoga is a physical discipline, I’ll play mystic from the East and counter, yoga is not matter, its mind. If you were to say, “Yoga is a confusing philosophy,” I’ll rebut, its focus is the empirical (diet and bodily health). If one maintains yoga is found in the experience of asana, I’ll point to the crown chakra and our intimate participation with the cosmic Self. If someone says, “Yoga is spirituality,” I’ll ask, what do you mean? If a yogi tells me, “Yoga is a path to heightened consciousness,” I’ll say, okay, but to what end?… 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...
Breathing into the body leads to calmness of mind and a moment of stillness. When coupled with asana, yoga looks like movement into wider shape shifting in space. But these moves are designed to enable perspective shifting while intentional breath and movement relax the mind and open a pathway for a return to source. This quiet moment of healing and rest will not look the same on every yogi.… read more...
Asana becomes joyful and effortless when it is an expression of gratitude. In movement, our attitude is ingrained into muscle memory and our lives change. This is the premise of japa yoga; cellular shape aligns with thought and intention. Our bodies absorb everything our minds present. When stress is perceived in the mind it is felt in the body. Often it stays there to the detriment of our health and well-being.… read more...
Click on each page to enlarge view.
Thank you to Asana International Yoga Journal for publishing this 56th Yoga Inspirational.… read more...
I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed
I am false.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
Fluid yoga, going to six years, continues remaking and each remaking is connected to another. Born in water, I am dragonfly, now rabbit. I shift to camel, fish, or embody an ever-watchful sphinx. Then I evolve once again, going back and yet forward at the same time to my child in his innocent, trusting repose. My evolving is your evolving: inward, backward, downward.
Your asana is my asana, my bending and shaping is your bending and shaping, your practice of eustress and release morphs into luminous savasana. Your savasana is my savasana, and mine is yours: a cloud, salty and damp.
YOUR LONGINGS ARE MY LONGINGS
This cloud, a safe home for witnesses and their truths, where every joy and sorrow bursts forth in prophetic rain. And as colors bend to make a rainbow, these witnesses bend into their longings. Your longings are my longings.
We breathe into sweet release, and the turning becomes a roadmap for traveling outward. The trail makes little sense; it leads down to the place where gravity rests. Tracking energy for centuries, the Tao notes that water flows to low places. My gravity is your gravity.
My guru said the way out is the way in. Her wisdom comes from a bloodline far to the east, from a practice that bent and molded her matter-mind, from evidence etched into the soles of her feet. Tucked in like a child, she steps over the soles of my feet, and your East meets my West.… read more...
MUSIC from an Internet radio station plays in the background. Tablas and harmonium weave a soft melody. Sometimes a flute or sitar joins the song, and it pours over me like waves from the Pacific. It’s compelling to my ear. I try to concentrate on my pose, but sometimes I wander and follow the music.
I follow the sound, slow my heartbeat and ground my awareness. I’m still in class, but I imagine diving below and swimming deep. I listen closely and believe I hear the octopus changing colors. I open my eyes and breathe sound of the room.
In the tapas of my practice and its link to my muscle and sinew, a moment turns into a hour and my tribute to those who have gone before. An epic prayer from ancestors is on my lips.
Music stills me and I stay in the room until I hear my teacher give her blessing.. Her soft voice heaps a lavish blessing upon the gathered yogis which we accept and hold, “May your practice bring strength to your bodies, clarity to your minds, kindness and compassion to your hearts.”
I take this and know that I have been brought around and past my edges. I will go into the world with slightly less border and boundary, inhabiting a conscience of wider circles and deeper draws of inclusion
I realize this reshaping is the nexus of my identity, the ring of fire connecting my courage and passion. I have been showered in wholeness and connected by the strength, clarity, kindness, and compassion of the words that take me to the heart center.… read more...
I’m starting a yoga teacher training program this Saturday in Pine, Arizona. It’s been five years since I first walked into a yoga room in Hawaii, and during that time, I’ve learned from many teachers practicing at 12 studios in four states.
I’ve also been fortunate to attend three yoga workshops outside of regular classes, and while these were only a few hours or a half-day, I caught a glimpse of what a lifelong practice can look like. I was moved by what I learned and experienced with Kim Tang, Esak Garcia, and Lucas Miles. I’d like to borrow something from them and from all the teachers and yogis I’ve met. I hope to use it in my teaching and practice.
All these teachers are good at communicating and leading classes through basic asana. All of them speak of connection to breath and self and they all say breathe and stay present, everyone invites relaxation, and gives encouragement to do the work, and in this intentional engagement everyone discovers what they need to know.
Some use oils and music, some heated room, some chimes, bells and singing bowls, but not everyone. In some cases, they go beyond, as in the practice of Bhakti (devotional) and Naad Yoga -sound and healing – which opens self to greater Self (Cassandra Bright, Gilbert Yoga, Gilbert, AZ); speaking of how yoga restores hope and saves lives after horrible accidents, healing physical body which leads to spiritual restoration (Sheila Nelson, Motto Yoga, Queen Creek, AZ); energy healing and the way of chakras, sound, and the singing bowl (Suzette Johnston, Motto Yoga, Queen Creek, AZ); yoga after running and the pursuit of kundalini and continual learning to make intellectual connections (Leslie Pelke, Motto Yoga, Queen Creek, AZ); how to take joy and happiness from a disciplined practice (Kirsten Holmson and her team at Community Soul, Wausau, Wis); yoga as gift for all ages and peoples – especially kids – (Robyn Bretyl, Lightbody Yoga, Wausau, Wis); the willingness to take risks and reach beyond the normal (Lori Jokinen, Jennifer Taylor, and her team from Tulivesi Yoga in Marquette, Mi); the courageous heart – Croix Croga – of yoga (Katie Ziemann, Croix Croga, Wausau, Wis); yoga as the moving, transforming connection between heart and soul (Andrea Hutchens Tika Anandisari, Aaron, Melissa Katherine Lotus Heart, Brooke Meyers, Sarah Bloom, Jenna Rae, Dana Strang and Sai Fon Woozley from Yoga Hale in Hawaii); the affirmations and benefits of yoga, asana, and pranayama leading to a heightened breathcentric awarenss (a special shout out to Mark Hough, Shannon Matson, and Yolanda Bottomley from Bikram Yoga on the big island of Hawaii); the willingness to take yoga anywhere (Lorrie Blockhus, OM Sweet OM Yoga in the serene but tick infested northwoods of Wisconsin.… read more...
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...
Yoga gives each of us more than we can repay. It’s the reason we continue our practice and make it a long-term life discipline. Yoga creates new space and provides the impetus for us to search for our true self. It has our backs and has fixed our spines.
Yoga balances our perceptions and teaches us to look to the horizon even when we resist and find it would be easier to look down and fall flat upon the mark of our diminished vision.
Yoga levels our judgments to a place of calm detachment; but also fills us with courage to say and do the right thing (on and off the mat) as often as we can. Yoga moves us to meet, greet, and bow to worlds upon worlds, and that is why those of us practicing yearn to find our limits, breathe deep to fully inherit the spiritual science of health, and release everything into the realm of OHM.
What do you give to yoga?
Every yogi answers in their own way, but here’s one yogis answer:
I give my pain.
Perhaps it’s a surprising answer, and this is open to misinterpretation. But yes, I give yoga pain. I know the pain I need to release, and I know from experience that yoga will keep teaching me how to release it. It’s a pain I hold in my being, in my body, and it’s the pain I hold for the world.
I give my love for family and friends.
I see them aching not just from the slings and arrows of misfortune, and the lance of gossip and backbiting envy.… read more...
By subtracting from life that which is unnecessary or unproductive, the yogi ever more clearly defines for him/herself the positive change. This is yoga’s counter-intuitive mathematic, a discovery by negation.
But for those banking on New Year’s Eve resolutions, here’s the hard truth. Tapas – the burning away – is not an overnight solution or quick path to resolution and accomplishment. It’s a matter of degree and it happens day by day.
It remakes hearts and spines by grounding the yogi deeper in self-work as they ask themselves a question sharpened wisdom in counter cultural movement and the tapas of practice, is this necessary?
In the economy of adding, subtracting and multiplying to effect change, yoga’s mathematic is Gandhian in its disciplined core, negativa in its spiritual logic and hotly shamanistic in its strategy.… read more...
Thank you to Asana Journal for publishing my 50th Yoga Inspirational, “Enter the Master, Enter the Child.”
Comment if you’d like. I always appreciate hearing feedback from you.
Greg, author at gregoryormson.com, @GAOrmson
Profiles: Tumblr StumblOn, Pinterest, Reddit, Discuss, Diigo, Xing, Asana Journal, DoYouYoga.com, elephant journal, Yogi Times, Yoga International, HelloYoga.com, The Health Orange, Tribegrow.com (April 2016),TheYogaBlog, Medium.com… read more...
The Honorable Yogi, Part I from Asana Journal, Dec. 13, 2016 at: www.asanajournal.com/the-honorable-yogi/
A Snail Teaches Yoga
This summer of nostalgia and reunions has left me dizzy with memories. The two roads of which Frost wrote have never been relevant to me. I’ve always seen only one road, the one in which I was all in. I don’t care if the glass is half full or half empty; speculating on this is a waste of time. What are ya gonna show me today? What are ya gonna be now? What am I going to be? This is all that’s important; all the other stuff is exterior stuff and it’s not really stuff; to describe it, I often use another S word minus one letter
Recently, I walked a path dark and green; the pony trail in Michigan. When they were young, I held the reins and led my daughters on their ponies Billy and Midnight. It’s a trail that always led to the not trending and to the deep blue sea of Lake Superior. Sometimes on this trail, I’d see the passing of a shadow and remember the words of Chief Seattle, delivered 100 years before I was born:
“And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone.”
At that place, on the shores of gitche gumee, today I prayed on the wall where for many years I sought the counsel of silence.… read more...
THE STORY OF HOW YOGA BROUGHT MY SOUL BACK
After a day moving to Hawaii and into a new apartment, I was on a hard wooden floor in pain. This led me to yoga in an attempt to fix my back. It was out of desperation, yet a few weeks later I found myself in a hot yogaroom. With no formal background — and very little knowledge of yoga — I went to a class searching for something to make me strong in my broken places. I hoped I wouldn’t collapse, but was also confident about the challenge before me. With no preparation or personal experience, I jumped in.
My plan was to try yoga for thirty days. Then, I would evaluate how my back felt and decide if I should continue. I made it through twenty-four classes that month and found my will galvanized. My conclusion was clear: Yoga is the way to go for healing back pain. “It’s so simple,” I wrote, “why don’t more people do it?” Yoga worked, but the transformation goes deeper.
I decided to keep attending and keep writing about it because I thought my practice in a heated room would benefit me in other ways too, and I was eager to discover them. But notes about yoga were not my only subject. I started writing on everything that came to me during that beautiful hour: I numbered the sessions, made notes about the teachers, chronicled my thoughts about the class and penned other insights.
42 By a Thread
The indigenous people of the American Southwest – the Dinhe’ – known to the English speaking world as Navajo, are famous for their high-quality and beautiful hand crafted wool rugs. People spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to own one.
But wisdom from this tradition has taught the Navajo to sew one small thread out of place into each rug’s pattern; thereby, working into the design a deliberate mistake. By including a flaw, Navajo acknowledge through the honesty of their art that even the most beautiful work is imperfect.
Life is an art, and the best artists know that every journey requires movement and motion. In yoga terms, our life could be viewed as an asana in which movement into time is beset with flaws and missteps. If yogis take this notion to heart, they will acknowledge, accept, and include their flaws as a necessary part of the beautiful mosaic their lives create.
Many come to yoga with their lives hanging on by a thread and their coping skills stretched to the max. Perhaps it’s the businessman or businesswoman burned out by economic demands and stresses. Maybe another person arrives in yoga with a broken heart, or someone else is tired of the fast pace of urban living, or fatigued with the demands of social media. In all these cases, yoga’s healing patterns in silence, in movement, or in stillness welcomes the flawed life into its creation.
This is why Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras (threads) have become must reading and study for the modern yogi.… read more...
I looked around the yoga room and saw heroes. Heroes were bent and folded into all shapes and sizes and represented all nations. Each of them took on a unique shape just as yoga does in its expressions around the world. And while yoga has been around for a long time, it’s still new to many.
Both the formation of heroes and answers to questions about yoga are in the early stages, and this ongoing face-lift is confusing to many. The bookstore I visit, with approximately 50-thousand books, demonstrated this by recently moving their yoga collection. Yoga books had been shelved in the section on metaphysics and spirituality; now they lean against books about anatomy, exercise, and weightlifting.
For everyone – even librarians – it’s convenient to have a system of categorization. Librarians excel at categorizing, but I think yoga’s place on the shelves might be unclear to them. I have a vision of librarians questioning where to put the yoga books. I imagine them debating its classification: is yoga an esoteric and aesthetic spiritual discipline, an exercise science, a blended religion, or something else?
To continue reading follow link to Asana Journal. http://www.asanajournal.com/making-heroes/… read more...
Thanks Asana Journal 5/31/16
I’m sympathetic to the plight of immigrants. They’ve been in the news a lot lately, and many of us have watched their difficult journeys on television. Like others, I’ve noticed their sunken eyes, their thin frames, the wrinkles on their brow. They’re tired and don’t have energy to smile for the camera. Many of them are suffering post traumatic stress and face an immediate future without a home or homeland.
None of the immigrants had asked to be displaced, and I doubt if anyone looks forward to dangerous journeys over stormy seas or hostile lands. Yet in the midst of their shock and loss, I’ve observed the immigrants express thanks for the basics of food and water. Their dreams for more freedom and better social standing are beyond their immediate concerns, and some only hope to simply survive another day.
READ MORE: www.asanajournal.com/the-immigrant-asana/… read more...
When I was training to be an alcohol addiction (5th step) counselor, I learned the phrase conscious contact. The trainer said that if an alcoholic truly made contact with themselves and with God, they would probe the deeper meanings of why they drank alcohol to excess. He emphasized that the honest scrutiny behind conscious contact wasn’t about morality or self-control, but the existential task of grappling with existence and its meaning as reflected in one’s choices.
Lessons in yoga, and training to be a rehabilitation counselor, both start with contact. They begin with personal inventory; in spiritual language, a yogi’s grounding down could be called finding the immanent presence of self. For a person in treatment, its an honest confrontation with personal history.
Second is the yogi’s deeper grasp of choices which puts them in touch with something beyond themselves. In spiritual language, this could be called opening to transcendent presence. For recovery, this is learning of the higher power.
And third, the yogi’s improved off-mat awareness creates a change of life and a possible shuffling of priorities. In recovery, it’s making conscious contact with choices every day.… read more...
STORAGE WARS AND YOGA’S EMOTIONAL RESCUE
A reality TV show on the Arts and Entertainment channel is called, “Storage Wars.” In it, a group of bidders look for five minutes at the contents of abandoned and locked storage units, but they can’t go into them. After competitive bidding, the winner is declared the owner of everything in that locker. They rush in with great hope and begin looking through boxes, drawers, and accumulated piles of mishmash.
Sometimes they find valuable coins or artwork, antique toys, or newspapers; however, their newly-bought pile could be old tee-shirts, magazines, or dirty linens and parking tickets, vestiges of life in transit. More often than finding gold, the winning bidder digs up a clutter of left over’s from a human pack-rat.
Storage Wars is popular because it’s a modern day version of the mother-lode gold strike. And in rare cases, the winning bidders of Storage Wars make hundreds of thousands in profit. One discovered Spanish gold coins dating back to the 16th Century valued at half a million dollars, another winner found a model grand piano, and a third uncovered classic toys worth nearly $13 thousand.
CONTINUED IN ASANA JOURNAL. http://www.asanajournal.com/storage-wars-and-yogas-emotional-rescue/
Five days ago, I went to a drum circle attended by about 50 people. It brought me back to my essay in progress.
Drumming takes place through the night until a last tired thumper wanders away in the fog of exhaustion. Their fully-charged reptilian brain shifts to the goal of finding their tent. Some can’t walk away, so they fall asleep on the ground near the fire as the sun rises, lighting up the dawn as shadows drop down from the tree tops.
Taking a path through the woods and away from the drum fire is not new, but our caves are. Tents of orange, green and blue cover the grounds. In the dark, glowing candles from within make them look like Japanese prayer lanterns lit in remembrance of ancestors.
These drummers demonstrate what the new physics teaches: We are all connected. In the drum circle, there is something mystical and unintelligible to senses, but the drummers understand and speak the language of time. They know this language. They’ve learned it by listening.
Listening, according to some experts, is the “most often used but least often practiced communication skill.” But something happens when listening to drums that is more than the sum total of communication. In his fine novel of India, Return to the Source, Lanza Del Vasto once wrote:
“The finest and most complete instrument they have is the drum. It is the voice of all speech, the Aum of all hymns, the foundation of all music. The drum is the bond between the musician’s voice and his body, between his body and the music to which it gives the earthly consistency of the steps it raises.”… read more...
Asana Back to the Innocent Age
On an overcast February day, my move toward balasana (child’s pose) began easily enough; “breathe into your truth, breathe into your center,” my teacher said.
The words moved me like someone taking my hands and gently walking me backward into a calm refreshing lake. I would have welcomed this after a slow and voggy day; I mean a day full of vog – volcanic gas cloud residue – suffocating everyone within miles of my writing desk. Things just weren’t happening. I blamed the vog.
Like anyone, I’m involved in making a living and positioning myself for security. I hope for happiness and peace for myself and my extended family. And like others, I want to register my mark in the world and hope my contributions help move the human family in a compassionate direction. I’ve had a good education and learned my civics lessons, so I also embrace my role in helping to alleviate suffering of those less fortunate than myself.
In my best efforts to make a mark in the short time I have to walk the Earth, I’m required to sift through ever-increasing complex data and stimuli that comes to me through my senses. Like all yogi’s living in a material world, I’m obliged to select what I’ll take-in or reject based on my priorities and values.
HARD CHOICES IN AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD
A yogi’s awareness of the world’s interconnectedness leaves him/her with sometimes agonizing choices over what course of action is least-harmful. One approach to this post-modern dilemma is to adopt the ethical creed of non-malificence, or do no harm, a part of the Hippocratic Oath.… read more...
On Feb. 3, 2014 my first yoga article was published in TheYogaBlog. Now, nearly two years to the day, the 30th is published in Asana Journal. Thanks for reading folks, and please pass these on.
You may not do yoga, but perhaps someone you know does or maybe someone you know is thinking about it. Right now my literary agent, Elizabeth Kracht, has my full yoga book and will be shopping it soon to publishers.
New Years’ Resolutions shot to hell? Pfffuf… so what.
Yoga time means a reductive mathematic, a Gandhian core and a shamanistic strategy.
That may mean taking a moment to swing through the trees.
In my twenties, I was the leader of an eight-member music group that toured through India for four months. Landing in Bombay, we took the rail south to Trivandrum, where the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, and Arabian Sea merge. Going north through Andhra, Madhya, and Uttar states, we passed through Agra and ended the tour in New Delhi. It was my first international trip and I felt challenged by new customs, food, language, and climate. To a student fresh out of college, India was a new and vibrant world I did not understand.
Walking out of church one Easter Sunday, I saw an elderly man sitting on the church lawn near a busy sidewalk. He was practicing garurasana, eagle pose. Most people filed right past him as if he were invisible. I stared, and I thought he looked uncomfortable. That experience was 35 years before I began practicing yoga. I had no idea what he was doing.
After leaving Delhi, my transition back to the U.S. was rapid, and I felt strangely affected by my travels. I seemed to be seeing things differently. When I went into stores, I found myself looking for things to which I’d grown accustomed in India, such as the blue-faced representation of Krishna adorning wall calendars.
The quiet streets, typical of small town country living, was odd after I’d grown used to the shrieking sound of bus horns. In my music room, I replicated that dissonant and jarring pitch by simultaneously plucking my guitar’s E string on the eighth fret and the G string on the eleventh fret.… read more...
New article today in Yoga International
http://asanajournal.com/yogi-heal-thyself/… read more...
In preparation for a piece I’m working on for the AARP Bulletin, and other magazines that focus on aging and health, I attended a senior yoga class today taught by Andrea Hutchens. Afterwards, I asked the students for a few comments about yoga and aging. In just a few minutes, I heard enough to affirm, once again, that this ancient discipline and practice can change lives.
It doesn’t happen in an instant, and the change isn’t easy or predictable. One student told me “I was 58 when I started, but I really wish I would have known about it and started when I was a kid. I think Kaiser should have a program. I think it should be in schools”
She went on to tell me why she started yoga and what it’s done for her. I’m saving that for my article. It’s never to late to start a practice that treats mind, body and soul sans medications and expectations. And when it comes to finding new ways to cope in a world that’s increasingly distressed and dangerous, yoga is a good place to start.
Photos from class at the West Hawaii Civic Center.
Think of standing on your mat in class holding Mountain Pose, and that your mat is the entire focus of your attention. In your mind, shift your awareness to the place where the soles of your feet make contact with your mat and pretend as if that place is all that exists. Your entire world is made up of the space that forms two outlines on the bottom of your feet. This is what Gestalt calls the “figure,” and everything else – except that one patch where your two feet make contact – is the background/landscape of perception and awareness.
My yoga class sometimes reminds me of lectures in Gestalt psychology when my professor spoke about making contact; and with that heightened contact, the impact of fully digesting food and digesting experience. His inference was that one can digest both life and food when one takes time for focus on the figure of awareness.
Recently, while absent-mindedly walking barefoot on a wood floor, I reached for something and felt a little off balance. Immediately, I was aware of a strong corrective to my imbalance, but it wasn’t coming from my brain, it was coming from the soles of my feet.
I was surprised, for I had never before felt a corrective to in my balance coming from my feet. I asked myself, Are my feet becoming smarter, or am I just becoming more aware of their contact and catching up to that reality? This small example is the wider truth of yoga practice. It increases bodily intelligence and directly related mental intelligence.… read more...
THEY were fueled by energy drinks, but gross with anxiety and unexamined ambition. The land was drunk on money and the illusion of freedom fired the people’s imaginations. The ‘eight limbs’ twisted in the wind of post-modernism and creative chaos. And in that land, people learned diversity was a source for creativity and road to enlightenment.
In time, the practice prospered and many realized the travelers brought good medicine. It seemed to help prisoners, alcoholics, those suffering pain and even angry youth. But some feared its power – especially its counsel to sit alone in silence.
There, in the counsel of the quiet, the student found reasons for the false prophecy of money, misdirected ambition, the severance of limbs, the medicine of movement. He heard surrender and its yield: balm for the captive and great music composed by stones.… read more...
My teacher speaks in clusters of daring “The way in is the way out.” It’s her graceful word rising from years looking at the blank slate over the Pacific, her lungs breathing deeply of this rolling mist. Her wisdom “the way in is the way out,” comes to me from her bloodline far to the east, from a practice that bent and molded her matter-mind, from evidence etched into the soles of her feet.… read more...
It’s easy to imagine how yoga works when living near a boiling volcano. It flows like lava: heating, bending, and shaping. It reforms everyone, twisting them into their unique physiography. They collapse and then rise. Their gaze, a pyramid of discovery, moves from ground to horizon to sky. An ascent takes place. Energy is exchanged. The yogi rests and is transformed.… read more...
“Because breath is life, the art of judicious, thoughtful
ungreedy breathing is a prayer of gratitude we offer to life itself.” B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life.