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...
THREAD also comes from the Old English braed, meaning pulled through a needle. The modern yogi can take one or several threads from Pantanjali and imagine them as bundles connecting breath to body and soul to that which is not of this world. The chosen thread guides the yogi but also braids the yogi to a light of brilliance into which the flaws of our lives and asanas are absorbed and dissolved.… 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...
Recovered from Arizona Bike Week at Westworld last week where I co-led 25 DEMO tours in five days for Moto Guzzi. Was it hot? Hahahahaha.
Here is the Holy (or not so) Trinity of Harley-Davidson’s owned by yours truly in the forms of creator, motivator, and generator.
Wildfire, Feb. 4, 2000 – April 6, 2016.
Biggie, Jan. 1, 2017 – April 13, 2017.
Cleopatra, April 13, 2017 – ?
Click on each page to enlarge view.
Thank you to Asana International Yoga Journal for publishing this 56th Yoga Inspirational.… read more...
Riders take a pounding on the road, and sometimes driving is stressful. But there are good ways to take on stress and care for ourselves. Yoga is one. Every four years the number of people practicing yoga in the US doubles. Estimates put at 40-million the number of people doing yoga in the US. Yoga helps with injury, it calms the mind, and people do it because it feels good.
Bikers know about good vibrations on the bike, but it’s time for bikers to learn about good vibrations off the bike.
Yoga isn’t just about flexibility, it’s about improving mobility to turn sideways and check our blind spot; its about balance in slow turns, and remaining calm in the midst of stress. And over time, yoga strengthens the skeletal, muscular, and digestive systems. It calms the nervous system and strengthens lymphatic systems.
Gregory Ormson, former MSF rider/coach and 200-hr. registered yoga teacher, is holding YOGA AND LEATHER, Yoga for Bikers classes at Superstition Harley Davidson in Apache Junction. Find out how YOGA helps bikers RIDE ON!
LOCATION: Superstition Harley-Davidson, Eagles Nest Patio, second level west side of building.
October 14 (Saturday) Noon to 1:00 pm
October 18 (Wed). 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
October 28 (Sunday) 10:00 am – 11:00 am
SUPPLIES: Bring a yoga mat if you have one. There will be a few extra. Wear comfortable clothing.
This is not an exercise class, but an introduction to yoga with basic poses as part of the experience.
See you soon!
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...
Published by Yogi Times, April 2017, as “9 Ways To Return Yoga’s Gift”
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.… read more...
I had a house in Marquette, Michigan. Beautiful trees populated the five acre plot, and in time I named some of them. I found shade and solace near Ulysses, Chief, and Christmas. But my favorite was Easter.
Easter was a large maple, exploding with red leaves each fall. In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, that meant late August and September. Easter grew next to my driveway. I remember pounding a shovel through rocky ground when I buried my first dog next to Easter. Each time I passed Easter, I noticed a small mound of dirt that covered Buster’s grave.
In winter, like me, Easter was cold. Every February I thought the trees would die. On bitterly cold days and nights, Easter and the other hardwoods popped and cracked with sounds like gunshots.
In spring, with snow on the ground, I noticed tiny buds at the end of long branches.
Easter lived.… 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 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.
Writing and Yoga
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.
Twenty-three years after starting a Men’s Group in Marquette, Michigan with John MacDevitt and Jeff Gibbs, I found them still meeting. Here’s the story, published Aug. 29, 2016 in The Good Men Project.
Follow link below to story.
Thank you TGMP… read more...
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...
My Purpose? That’s simple.
This fluid journey called yoga – four years in the making – continues its remaking over me.
My practice takes place in the heated mist of a hot yoga room. It’s a practice of eustress and relaxation which morphs into a luminous cloud, salty and damp.
I am connected to you through drops of sweat.
Your asana is my asana, your bending and shaping is my bending and shaping.
To return again and be in that dusty – but it’s not really dust – cloud becomes the road-map for traveling outward as breath moves to sweet release.
My longing is your longing, my travel is your travel.
I’m dragonfly, now rabbit, then camel, now fish – now myself.
Then I evolve once again, going back and yet forward at the same time to child in his innocent repose.
Your evolving is my evolving: we go back to child.
“The way in is the way out,” my guru said
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. Tucked in like a child, she steps back and forth over the soles of my feet and east meets west.
Moved to low places like water, propelled by gravity, heating, bending, and shaping, I’m an ongoing story of learning. My teachers are ancient yoga reformers.
My reformation is your reformation, my learning is your learning.… 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...
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...
From Mourid Baghouti, I Saw Rammalah, p. 132
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/
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...
http://asanajournal.com/yogi-heal-thyself/… read more...
Yoga improves brain and bodily intelligence though its attentive repetition. It’s the discipline of one asana at a time. In the midst of each asana, our brains search to interpret the intelligence of our bodies and picks up the yogi’s growing ability to learn from the soles of their feet, from the twists of their spines, from the mindful placement of their palms and fingers.
Focus on the contact figure opens the mind and allows for it to receive the body’s intelligence, and in doing so, the soles of our feet become like a microchip feeding information to the mother board. It’s stunning to think that this is a two-way communication and that our brains are enriched by feedback from the soles of our feet. Breathe deep the gathering wisdom and learn what your bodily contact is teaching
Think of standing on your mat in class holding tadasana, 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 back ground/landscape of perception and awareness.
Now imagine standing in mountain pose, lifting one foot from your mat. With one foot lifted, only a small patch of earth/foot contact is directing your life and that one patch is the outline of your right foot.… read more...
Published June 5, elephant journal. Link below.
Yoga and the Place of Soul.
Via Gregory Ormson Jun 5, 2015
On a recent trip out of state, I attended yoga class seven days in a row with no duplicate sessions. Some featured music, some included chanting near the end and some used scented oil.
I was surprised that being in an unfamiliar place and experiencing new forms of practice created an opening within me that I hadn’t previously experienced. In one situation, during a slow-moving class, I was connecting in a new way. Afterward, I realized that is what yoga was made for: to tune into a deeper and more authentic self.
I think I briefly touched what I can only describe as my soul. The music, scented oils, meditations, slow movements, breath work, chanting and bell-ringing were new vehicles that helped me find previously untraveled roads. In those few moments, a fresh mantra came to me, which I now use in meditation. It’s a spiritual mantra, helping me focus on being a better person and presence in the world, both to myself and others.
B.K.S. Iyengar also wrote about how yoga goes beyond mere physical practice: “My own body was the laboratory in which I saw the health benefits of yoga, but I could already see that yoga would have as many benefits for my head and heart as it did for my body.”
I’ve had more than my share of spiritual experiences, including spiritually focused sweat lodges, Andean mountainside pyramid building and centering rituals, Indian prayers and meditations at the Gandhi Center in New Delhi, Gestalt doctoral-level group practicums centering on spirituality and psychodrama, spiritual retreats, peace center events, drum circles, church choral gatherings, 14 years working as clergy developing and leading a variety of rituals, and even an encounter with a shapeshifter in India.… read more...